I’m bummed to admit I don’t have a tutorial ready for today, which seems kind of silly since I have the supplies for two tutorials just sitting around! I’ve been really busy this week, though, and I’ve had a cold that’s left me feeling very tired, mostly because I get congested as soon as I lie down and then I can’t sleep! I really wanted to share a tutorial today, but I took a lengthy nap instead of photographing it. Oops.
It’s okay, though, because I’ve also been wanting to share a bit of how I edit my creative self portraits. Folks keep asking how it’s done, so it’s time to share! Yesterday I posted this one, “Really good book.”
The first step to creating a levitation photo is planning. So are the second and third steps. Without a plan and a concept, it just won’t work out or will be incredibly difficult to composite. I like to start with the concept/feel and then go from there, so I ask myself questions like:
- “Why am I levitating?”
- “What am I wearing?”
- “What feel do I want the photo to have?” etc.
For this photo, I wanted to express the magic of reading a good book and the power it has to make you feel transported somewhere impossible. If you can’t tell, I really love reading! I’ve finished off four books in the last week (?! Maybe that’s why I always feel busy… Two of them were really short, though! And two I listed to in audio form). I wanted to use this white chiffon dress I recently found on super sale because it has a sort of childlike, innocent feel to me. It has little lace details around the neck and arms that sort of remind me of a nightgown, plus it’s very floaty and etherial. I like how it lends an air of childlike trust and confidence in the situation – the belief that a book really could make you float and accepting that this is going to happen by going ahead and tethering yourself to the ground so you don’t drift too far. The float/weight was another important element for me. I really enjoy juxtapositions, so I liked using something that is typically used to float as a weight, instead. Once I had the concept and dress figured out, I knew I wanted the picture to be in the forest, not at the beach where I usually like to shoot, to give that added sense of contrast. A fishing float at the beach doesn’t make you stop and think nearly as much as seeing one in the forest!
After figuring out these details, you have to pick a prop to “levitate” on. The right prop is key to a successful levitation photo. If you want it to look realistic, and not just like someone jumping in the air, you need a stool, ladder, or something else to stand/lie/sit on. In this case, it’s one of our “dining room” stools (we just have a little dining area that’s somewhere in the kitchen/living room area of our apartment). You also have to plan how you’ll be perched on the prop, or props, so that the overall feel will be realistic. You can just plop down and have your dress clearly hanging over a chair and expect to look like you’re floating! There’s a levitation photo I’ve been wanting to take for over a year, but I haven’t figured out how to hit the pose and make it cooperate with a dress, so I still haven’t been able to take it. In the picture below I did an elbow and one leg plank between two stools. It was difficult, but it’s how I kept the skirt from being squished under me!