Last week I made a vlog about taking photos of a floating object. Unfortunately it took way longer than I anticipated, so I had no time to finish this blog. That is why it is a bit later.
I won’t do explain how to take a photo of a floating object in just one way, but three different ways each for a different type of object and each requiring a different skill level. So let’s dive right in and start learning. If you are the type of person who is more stimulated to learn from visual aides, you can find a vlog about the process of taking these photos. So scroll all the way down if you want to see that 🙂
Floating object technique 1: Throwing the object
Well, the title explains the technique quite well. You throw up the object and try to take a photo of it while it is in the air. If you want to take a photo like this one on your own, you will need the following things:
- Camera with a self timer
- Something that you can throw up and take a photo of (preferably not too fragile)
Now for the settings to take this photo. The main things are the focus, lighting and self timer. Let us start with the focus settings. As you do not want the camera to keep searching for focus, you are going to want to switch your focus mode to manual. Then, focus on your hand or something else at the exact point where you are going to throw the object.
Next the lighting settings are important. I would recommend setting your camera to shutterspeed priority mode. That way you control the shutterspeed and the camera will calculate the others for a correct exposure. The shutterspeed will need to be pretty fast, as you are going to try and freeze time. I would recommend at least 1/250s, but faster is better. So if your camera can handle the lower light conditions, I would recommend setting it to 1/500s.
And last but not least, the self timer setting. For this you’ll need to dive into your own camera settings. My Sony a7rii has a setting in which it is on a self timer and takes a bunch of photos after that timer has run out. Now just try it a couple of times and you will be able to take these photos all by yourself! If your camera can only take one photo after the selftimer, you will have to time your throw better, but it’ll still be possible.
If you have someone there to help you out, you will just need a camera (can be your mobile phone) and an object to throw. The shutterspeed should be quite fast (at least 1/250s) and it takes some trial and error to get this right.
In this edit, I focused on creating a color contrast between blue light around the edges and warmer light around the light bulb and the red light in the background. You can see the before and after of my favorite photo of the shoot below.
Floating object technique 2: Holding it two ways
For this second technique a program like photoshop is needed. And it would be useful to have some experience with the program. In this blog I will explain the steps to take, but in the video I show it in a bit more detail. So if you have no experience with photoshop, I would recommend watching the video. Okay, now let us dive into this next technique.
For this technique you will need the following things:
- Camera with self timer
- Object to ‘float’
Okay so for this technique you will have to take two photos which you will later overlay and combine in photoshop. How that last part works exactly is explained in my vlog. But first we will have to take the two photos.
The photos you will need for this technique are fairly simple. You’ll need to take two photos in which you willl hold the object on both sides of it. Like in the two photos below. The important part of taking these photos, is that you keep the object in exactly the same location.
For this photo, the settings are pretty simple. You can set everything as you want it, but before taking the photos, you have to switch everything to manual. Because if anything changes, it becomes harder to make it look realistic in the editing process. So after you have set everything exactly how you want it, you switch the focus, the white balance and all lighting settings to manual settings.
After you have taken the photos, you will have to open them in photoshop. Make sure both photos are in a separate layer. Then apply a layer mask on the top layer with a photo. Select the brush tool with black as your foreground color and brush away your hand.
If none of that made any sense to you, this video will explain it more clearly.
After the photoshopping, I edited the photo in both photoshop and lightroom to get the following result.
Floating object technique 3: Tweezers
Okay, my titles for these techniques are not very original, but they are quite easy to link to the techniques. This last one is the most tedious one in photoshop and in camera. In return, you can let a whole lot of items float in just one photo. So what will you need for this type of photo?
- Camera with selftimer
- Items to ‘float’
That is not too much right?
The idea behind this technique is the same as the second one. Except we only need one photo for each object we want to have floating. That is because we will be working with tweezers. The tweezers are very small and if they are in the photo, the spot healing tool will be able to take them out.
For settings, the same goes as for the second technique, make sure that you set everything to manual before taking all of the photos. Then just hold up the objects in front of the camera. Below you can see all of the photos I took to make the final image.
The editing process works almost the same as explained in the previous one. The major difference is that you don’t have to line the photos up. If you want to get some more details on the editing process in photoshop, do check out the video I made.
After the edit in photoshop, I took the photo back to Lightroom and edited the photo to my style there.
After taking all those photos using the different techniques, I can conclude that each type of floating object shot asks for its own method. I had a lot of fun creating all of the photos you can see here and I hope that you will too when you try it out yourself. Furthermore, I also hope that you learned something from this blog!
I also want to give you a bit of advice: just create! I believe that everyone is a creative in their own way and creativity needs an outlet, so just create!
Also, do not forget to watcht the video, with behind the scenes footage and more explanation on the subject of floating object photos. If you want to follow me on Instagram or YouTube, just click the word and it will take you to my account.