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.