There’s a short list of photographers that I religiously follow. I’ve chosen these photographers mainly because their work has inspired me in different ways, and I felt a connection every time I see their pictures. I see these people as mentors. I’ve even challenged myself to imitate their styles just to see if I could pull it off, while still adding my own touch to it, of course.
So here’s my list of favorites, in the order of how impactful their work is for me:
I’ve always wanted to experiment with trick photography, but specifically levitation. A concept I’ve always wanted to do involved balloons lifting a girl up. It seemed really cool in my head, but I was always reluctant to actually try it out because I was afraid it wouldn’t translate properly in an actual shoot. Luckily enough, I had the pleasure of meeting Michele Williams (@michelewlv), who seemed like a great model to collaborate on this concept. She is a seasoned model who knew exactly how to pose, had a positive attitude, and I felt like she looked the part. Anyways, I want to share with you guys how I pieced everything together. I hope this inspires other photographers to try some experimental shit once in a while.
Step 1: Hold the camera in spot and take photos of the subject in the correct pose, worry about the other elements (like the balloons) later.
Step 2: Keeping the camera and focus in the same exact spot, shoot the background without the subject.
Step 3: Clean up the background. The wagons in the background were a bit annoying to look at. I also wanted something more fantasy-like, but had a dark emotion. So I cloned the weird looking trees and blurred them.
Step 4: I removed Michele from the first shot and left behind the chair she was lying on. I placed her on top of the creepy forest background.
Step 5: To imitate the effect of floating, I cloned her dress to make it look more flow-y and look more natural dangling from her body.
Step 6: I thought the balloons looked pretty weak, so I took one of the other rejected photos where the balloons looked easier to manipulate.
Step 7: I extracted the balloons, changed the hue, resized, and copied it a few times to make it look like I had a bunch of balloons. I originally had 4 balloons. Now I have a lot. Ta-daa. Magic.
Step 8: Composite everything together. Clean up anything that makes that throws off the photo. This includes shadows, power lines, the dress, the trees, and all that other crap.
Step 9: I thought I might have been done with it, but I felt that the dress was off. I also didn’t feel like the photo conveyed the right “mood” I was going for. So I made everything more sad and emo. This is what the final product ended up looking like:
Closing thoughts: I always felt that fine art or trick photography was too complicated to even try since I had no clue on how to even start. My wish is that this tutorial inspires at least someone to take that first attempt.