Seven ways to shoot levitation photography without Photoshop

Oct 7, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Seven ways to shoot levitation photography without Photoshop

Oct 7, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Levitation photography is a relatively new topic, only really taking off in the last 20 years or so since digital cameras ousted film. But it’s become a very popular one. Often it’s done by balancing on top of objects or suspending from a string that will be photoshopped out later, but there are ways to do it without Photoshop.

Many of the ways to do it without Photoshop just involve good timing (or a little luck). You need to capture somebody mid-jump or an object as it hurtles through the air, but there are other tricks you can do to make it look a little more like levitation. In this 5-minute video, COOPH looks at a number of ways you can help to sell the effect without Photoshop.

YouTube video

As you can see from the video, simply jumping and throwing are both viable options, but they’re not the only options, depending on what you’re going for. You can stick things to other things, shoot upside down, and even rotate entire rooms on their side to make it look like somebody’s up a wall. Just remember to keep an eye on gravity so that everything falls the way it’s supposed to.

You can also just completely hide what you don’t want to be seen behind a black cloth. This is an old technique that’s been around for years and was regularly used to film the character of Holly in Red Dwarf.

While your mileage will vary with these techniques, and you’ll need to practice, not all of them will apply to every situation. But some of them may prove to be quite useful at some point as you try to defy gravity and physics with your photography.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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