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chloegrayson.com

chloegrayson.com
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1 Comment |
gloriamanna
 
gloriamanna October 17, 2017
Beautiful!
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Behind The Lens

Location

The photographs that made up this image were all taken in an old back garden of mine. It was quite a spontaneous idea and if I remember correctly I was actually feeling a bit poorly at the time so I didn't want to venture too far from home.

Time

It was late afternoon and I realised I didn't really have that long before the sun would set so I had to act quickly if I wanted to bring my idea to life. I grabbed my camera, tripod and remote and ran out to the garden with them. I wasted no time in getting the shots of the main subject and each individual floating object.

Lighting

I tend to expose for any highlights and sometimes even underexpose a stop or two so that no detail is lost. Shooting in overcast conditions makes it quite easy to bring out details in post, especially if you are shooting in RAW. I like dry, cloudy days the most as they provide the most even and flattering natural lighting. I know how obviously photoshopped levitation manipulations can look, especially when it comes to the lighting. I wanted to try and make it look as 'realistic' as possible. I know, I know. It's a girl floating amongst chocolates, teapots and teddies—how realistic can you possibly make that look? Well, I wanted to give it my best shot. Each and every object that you see was shot in the very place it appears in the image, all within minutes of each other. Because the objects were really 'there' the lighting was true, consistent and thus made for a more believable image.

Equipment

It was quite a simple set up to achieve this image. I used my Canon 5D MK II, 50mm f/1.4, tripod, remote and wire to suspend the props. Oh, and a willing helper to hold me up! Thanks Olive.

Inspiration

As part of my Communication Design degree, I was working on a concept rebrand for a well known chocolate company. The advertising campaign revolved around evoking memories with hints to old tales and of course had to incorporate chocolate somehow. This was one of the results.

Editing

As you have probably guessed, quite a lot of post-processing was required to achieve this image. I did pretty much everything during the shoot (including the modelling); therefore each individual chocolate and object had to be held up and photographed one at a time and then merged together in Photoshop. Layer masking and the cloning were the main techniques used, then I ran the image through Lightroom and applied my own custom preset.

In my camera bag

I never leave the house without my Fuji XPro-1. I feel unbalanced if I don't feel the weight of it strapped around me and knocking against my hip bones. I have even acquired the nickname 'camera girl' from various people because I am never seen without it. I usually have the 18mm f/2 and 35mm f/1.4 with me. It's a really lightweight and versatile kit for day to day meandering. If I am actively going out with the intention of taking photographs, as well as the above I also always pack my Canon 5D MK II. I love the different characters of both this and the Fuji! I also pack my nifty 50mm f/1.4. This is one of my most used lenses simply because I can achieve the look I want with it. I also usually pack my vintage 58mm f/1.9. This lens provides a very distinctive, ethereal style of image which helps to define my style and brand. Depending on the project, I may also take along my 45mm TS-E f/2.8. Another stunning lens that I should use more!

Feedback

When it comes to shooting levitation photographs, I would suggest considering the lighting of your floating subject. If possible, try to shoot said subject in the place it would actually be levitating. Use something small and unobtrusive like a stool to sit or stand the subject on. Ropes, string or wire could be used if you are wanting to hang an object up. These things are easier to edit out than a whole person holding up the subject (trust me—I know!). Tripods and remotes are really, really helpful when it comes to getting identical images to layer over one another as neatly as possible and reveal the levitating objects through. Just don't forget to take a shot of the levitation scene sans-object/s. It may seem obvious, but it has slipped my mind before and it's made the post-processing part much more difficult than it needed to be. Sometimes to the point where it's more efficient to reshoot entirely. Whether it's pre-shoot, during the shoot or whilst post-processing, patience is essential. To get things going and make things move along quickly, the best thing that I can advise is to have a plan. Compared to 'normal' photographs, manipulations can easily develop into larger projects, potentially taking a significant amount of time. Before you start, it's handy to know what you want and what you need to do to achieve that. Being prepared will make things go more smoothly and hopefully save you time in the long run. Draw up your concept, consider what will be involved and plan what to do. The post-processing part is probably the most tedious for some people. Personally, this is my favourite part. I sort of zone out when in editing mode—it's almost like a form of meditation. If you aren't finding it fun anymore, then stop and maybe revisit it in the future. If things don't exactly as you'd hoped or expected, don't be hard on yourself. Be patient and try again.

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