Flying Kids: Fun with photoshop

How to photograph kids so they look like they can fly Hit the jump to see how you can get this effect to!

One of my favorite things to do when I'm shooting family photos, is to shoot unconventional shots. Breaking the "rules" (they're more like guidelines...) of portraiture like shooting into the sun or using a telephoto lens (don't get me started on how awesome the bokah is on a long lens)... but sometimes, when I don't have a ton of freelance to do, I like to stage a shot like this.

This is a heavily photoshopped shot. Let me tell you how to do it:

What you need:

  • Camera (or you could just try really hard to remember what the image looked like, but then you can't show anyone)
  • Tripod and Head (don't bother using a cheap $20 tripod, you'll need a VERY steady series of shots)
  • A Dad
  • Three Kids

What you shoot:

  • Do not move the camera or the tripod during the whole process.
  • Take at least one shot of your scene without anyone in it.
  • Focus your lens where your subjects will be and lock the focus (turn off AF on your lens)
  • Flying Kids: have dad hold each kid in the air while the kid "flys" and does creative poses. Shoot lots of pictures. Do not
    • NOTE: Pay attention to where each kid is and make sure to place each kid in a different part of the scene so that their not overlapping
  • Get one or two more shots with no one in it just for assurance that you got it (its that important)
  • Zoom out and get a larger shot of the scene.

What you photoshop:

  • Now, you should have a handful of each kid being held off the ground by their dad (or your assistant)
  • Choose one or two good shots of each kid and one background shot without anyone and put all of these into the same photoshop file
  • Here's why you took so many shots of the scene sans-people: put the background image behind all of the other layers.
  • Hide all the "kid" layers except one.
  • Erase dad from that layer (use a mask)
    • NOTE: because you have the same angle without people behind the layer you're erasing dad from, he will disappear and your background won't... like he was never there...
  • Use your stamp tool to get rid of Dad's fingers if you need to
  • Repeat the "Erasing of The Dad" on each kid layer and you know have flying kids.


Let me know what you think and what you'd do differently in the comments.

Creative gifboom ideas

If you're not sure what gifboom is... skip this post. Kamehamehaaaaaaaaaa!!!

So, here's a couple of tips to make creative, unique and cool gifs for gifboom.


Cory Kerr can fly

Websters defines flying as "not touching the ground for a while" (that's a lie, I don't own a dictionary)

So making a flying gif is the same. Video yourself jumping a lot and then screenshot yourself at the peak of each jump. Hey look, now you've cut out the parts were you touched the ground and you're flying.

cocked eyebrow

Take a minute and check out my comic... like right now... ready? Go!

Rotoscoping is your friend

Have you ever wondered how George Lucas got lightsabers to work on screen? In today's era of CG effects, it's not that big of a deal, but back then, they literally hand painted each frame of the movie when a Jedi whips out a lightsaber. It's called rotoscoping, and you should google it because you can make awesome gifs with this technique. Just video yourself doing something, then take photoshop or some image editing software, and go paint something in there frame by frame... like I did with my Dragon Ball Z gif up there.

Warning: This will take for-fraking-ever, so make sure you have a cool concept before you start.

Stop Motion

You may know this as claymation. Stop Motion is a technique where you take a still photo, move something a little bit, then take another one, then move something a little bit, then take another shot...

This is how the old Christmas movies with Rudolf and Frosty were made. Tim Burton is a master of this. Grab some toys, paper, whatever and go at it.

Flip it and Reverse it

I haven't done a gifboom example of this, but doing normal things, then playing them in reverse, is rad. For example, video yourself walking backwards and then throw a knife off screen. When you reverse this gif, it looks like you're walking forwards and catch a knife out of mid-air.

Do me a Favor...

If you take a moment to wander around my site and leave a comment here and there, you'd make my day. I put a lot of work into this site and if I see that gifboomers are looking for tips here, I'll come up with more rad ways to be awesome on gifboom.

Be nice to each other!

Check Out: My Portfolio | Stuff I Wish I Made More Often