Make your models float using camera tricks!
Behind the scenes

Make your models float using camera tricks!

On location photo shoots can add a new level of perspective and story to your photography, as well as breaking the repetitiveness of studio work.

Recently Revestida magazine approached me with a very interesting concept … they wanted to make conceptual portraits with different social media influencers. Each image should reflect what they do, their personality and they wanted the elements of the photos to be floating in the air!

Since we had very little time before the release of the edition, I suggested something similar to levitation but that we could do in less time, in this case, to simulate that they were floating by deceiving the perspective.

What to do before you start?

Much of the shoot starts way ahead, even before you get to the location where you’ll be working. While preparation work may look like time wasted, in the end it can save you from a lot of complications, it can help you get prepared, with the right equipment and the awareness you need to take astounding shots.

The first thing I did was to be clear about the general client idea, for that we talked a lot by phone and by mail, the next step was to make a mood board.

A mood board is a small document where the idea is presented and visual references of the concept are shown so that the whole team is on the same page. This is extremely important because it speeds up your work and ensures that the result is as you imagined it.

Equipment and set up

In this session I knew that I would need to maintain a very fast rhythm, create a set up with my equipment that would work for all the images equally and not obstruct the scenarios that had to be armed and disarmed in a matter of minutes.

The general idea was to place the camera in a overhead position, point it towards the ground and place the props reclining on the floor to give the impression that it was a frontal shot and the elements were floating.

I used a seamless paper background stand as support for my camera, at a height of about 10 feet up. The camera was connected by a tethering cable to my laptop to be able to shoot and view the photos remotely.

My equipment consisted of the following:

Lighting set up

The lighting scheme of this session was quite simple, but of equal importance as everything else. You could light similar pictures with almost anything, but in my case use a monolight with an umbrella, what really matters in this case is the direction of the light, it should be illuminated as if the talents were standing and photographed frontally, remember that the whole set was being photographed from above and upside down.

This position of light would be the one that would help us sell the illusion that everything was floating.

After obtaining the desired light it was only a matter of art direction and positioning the elements in the perfect place!

Post production

As I mentioned before, pre-production will dictate how complex the work will be once you get to the computer to retouch.

In this case, it was a matter of eliminating unwanted details such as imperfections on the skin, parts of clothing and cleaning the background.

You can learn how to do all this in my Digital Retouching and Photoshop for photographers workshops!


This was a great job that I loved doing, I hope you liked it as much as I did!

Here I leave you all the final images!


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