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.