Marianne Levitation Shoot

One of the things that I am very mindful of when working with models on my personal projects is that the images produced from them may not be what the models would necessarily put in their portfolios. For this reason I always offer them a second shoot where we will photograph their concepts. This was the case with Marianne who was my model for Pisces in the Zodiac series.

Marianne requested that we do a levitation shoot, as well as one involving a water look. Close to us is a disused scientific complex that I could get access to so I decided this would be a perfect location for the shoot.

Levitating a person is a relatively simply process and much easier than the food mentioned in my previous post. In its simplest form you take an image of the empty area and then have your model lie across a chair or stool. You them blend the two images together in Photoshop and mask out the support.

We used the dress from the Aquarius and Cancer shoot as it was quite flowy. This makes hiding the stool a lot easier and also makes the shot more believable if fabric is falling down.

The issue that we ran into was that Marianne could not balance herself far enough out. The solution was then to set the camera on a timer and I would support her. Her hair did present a problem so we ended up shooting with me in two locations and bringing those together in post.

I generally shoot my blank image at the end of the shoot so that I can be sure that the light falling on it is the same as for the other images. As can be seen in the images we were using two lights, in addition to the small amount of light coming in from the windows. The large light was in a 1.5m octabox to provide fill and the main light was a bare flash at a low power aimed at Marianne’s hair.

To make the job easier I also took a second blank with the light stands pulled back as you see they are not present in the final image.

We then turned around to produce another shot. Unlike the first this area was getting a lot of light from outside and I wanted to incorporate that in the finished result. So I set my camera at 1/100s f8 so that it would not completely overpower the light. I then positioned the Octabox camera left but had it on a very low power to only lift the shadows and not remove them completely.

The concept behind this shot was to be a lot darker and spooky so I had Marianne stand on the stool with her arms stretched out and head down.

To get her feet dangling we then moved the stool out and had her sit on the top of a ladder. While this was not in exactly the same height as the stool, it was reasonable close.

Back at the computer the three images were merged together. As she was in a long dress this make blending the feet and the rest of her much easier. I decided to exclude the lace at the back of the dress.

I used Nik Software to really darken down the image and in the process made it look like it was shot at night with the light of the moon.

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