Levitation Photography Tutorial

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Today we have a video tutorial on how to do levitation photography. Many photographers have mastered and refined this technique producing very compelling images that leave viewers wondering how they were created.

As described in the video, these photos are often most amazing when the subject has a delicate and elegant jumping style. The photos often look more convincing when the subject is captured on the upward journey of the leap. The goal is to make it look like you are not jumping but actually floating from the perspective of the camera. The website they mention in the video is yowayowacamera.com; she has truly mastered this art and built a popular photo blog around the concept.

levitation photo

"float down" captured by Shawn Moreton (Click Image to See More From Shawn Moreton)

Clothing can move in a way that reveals the fact you are jumping so that is something to keep in mind. Think about tucking in your shirt if it appears too loose. Keeping your hair in place with lots of gel and hairspray can help or simply wear a hat.

What you will need:

  • Camera (preferably that has a self-timer)
  • Tripod or something similar

How to capture a levitation photo:

  1. Setup your camera on a tripod, or have an assistant get in position to take the photo.
  2. Set your camera to use a fast shutter speed – fast enough to freeze motion (such as 1/500 or faster).
  3. Set your self-timer to take the photo (if you do not have an assistant).
  4. Jump off the ground or step off an object at the exact moment the camera is about to take a photo

Think about integrating accessories into your technique that will make it even more realistic such as a broom, vacuum, purse, or an umbrella as shown here… there are infinite possibilities. Objects in the surrounding environment can also be visual aids such a phone booth, railings, or entry ways. The more creative you are, the better your results will likely be.

For further training on techniques like this, check out Trick Photography and Special Effects; a best-selling instructional eBook that explains how to do most of the trick photos that often capture attention and amazement from viewers. It also teaches the basics that are essential before moving onto advanced techniques. With 270+ pages of information, it is very detailed and includes extensive explanations of many complicated methods that are very fun to learn.

It is currently available here: Trick Photography eBook

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4 Comments

  1. This is a handheld photo. I had two SB-600 speedlights on lightstands camera right, as well as a third SB-600 held by an assistant (also camera right). They were fired via Nikon’s CLS system. I had the model jump from the top of the planter seen in the photo behind him. It took a few tries to get the shot just right, so that his tie wasn’t floating up, and his posture was correct.

  2. Dylan says:

    Do you have to be in a well lit area or am i doing it wrong? Because i tried it in my room which is not very well lit and you couldnt see me LOL

  3. Robert says:

    Like levitation tricks? We built an iPhone app to let anyone be able to create awesome levitation photography with just an iPhone, no Photoshop or professional DSLR required! It’s in appstore now. https://itunes.apple.com/app/id639426500

  4. Photography says:

    HI
    I really loved the video. I guess there are 2 ways to do levitation photography. The way you showed in your video which looks like a lot of fun or in post editing using a program such as photoshop elements. Usually when doing it in post editing you would require 2 photo’s. One with out yourself in it the second with yourself standing on something. In post editing you remove what you are standing on. Hence your are levitation.
    Thanks for the video.

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