How To Create a Levitation Image Like Brooke Shaden

brooke shaden how to make a model levitate
Photographer Brooke Shaden knows all the tricks for creating high art composite photos — and often, those tricks are a lot simpler than you might think. In this quick tutorial, Brooke walks you through the three simple steps for creating the illusion of a floating model.

First, pose your model on a chair or stool — really, anything that allows her to lie back. The backdrop and floor should be empty — this is going to be important later — and clean, with very little distraction. The chair or stool that you use doesn’t matter much, though something that will be easy to Photoshop out later is probably preferred.

One the model is posed, Brooke uses her 10-second timer to create movement in the image by rustling the model’s dress. This detail is optional, depending on what sort of image you’d like, but it’s pretty easy to crop yourself out of the shot if you do end up in it, as Brooke does.

Join Brooke for Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide, October 23 – November 17th. Learn more here.

Then, you take your shot, with the model in the image.

After you’ve got the shot, remove the stool and the model and take what Brooke calls “a plate,” or a blank shot of the backdrop. This will make it much easier to crop out the unnecessarily elements, like the photographer or the model. Simple take a photo of the backdrop with nothing present.

Upload both of the photos and import them into Photoshop. Using the “Move” tool, just drop the photo with the model over the top of the plate. Then, you can easily crop out everything that doesn’t need to be there, with the image of the backdrop right behind it. Just use the eraser tool or a layer mask.

Now, you can use that image of the model in any way you like — and she’ll look like she was suspended in a way much more complicated than it really was.

Join Brooke for Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide, October 23 – November 17th. Learn more here.

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Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.