How to Create the Levitating Effect

November 8, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | 36 Comments | |
How to Create the Levitating Effect Image

This is a guide for how to create the very striking effect of falling down / levitating in photography.

It looks complicated but it is actually quite easy. With a little bit of Photoshop knowhow you will be able to achieve the desired result.

The List

You will need the following:

  • Tripod
  • Camera
  • Off camera flash (optional)
  • Chair (to lean from or hang off)
  • Model (you can use yourself if you don’t have one)

Step One

The background. The first thing you need to do is set your camera up on a tripod and get your flash lights into position (don't worry if you don’t have any).  Then take a few test shots until you are happy with the light levels. 

Step Two

Once you are happy with the light levels it is time to take the first photograph (‘photo 1’) - the background without the chair. Make sure you don’t adjust any of your camera or flash settings as the next shot has to have the same light levels and camera angles.  This is why it is so important to use a tripod.

Step Three

Now it is time to use your chair (‘photo 2’).  Lay the model (or yourself) on the chair in a position that suggests you are falling or levitating. I find the most interesting results are achieved when the subject's facial expression is relaxed as it adds a dream-like quality to the composition.

Step Four

Once you are happy with photo 1 and photo 2 you need to open up both images in Photoshop.  Remember if you are going to do any post processing make sure you use the same settings for both photos as the light levels have to be identical.

Step Five

Place photo 2 on top of photo 1. The easiest way to do this is to click and drag photo 2 over photo 1 until they fit perfectly together.

Step 6

Now you need to select both the Pen tool and the Add Vector Mask tool.  If necessary, you can delete the mask if you make a mistake.

Click on the Add Vector Mask icon in the layers panel and with the Pen tool highlight every piece of chair that you want to remove.  Select the black colour from the palette and go over the highlighted area to remove the hair completely.

You might find you need to use the Clone tool in some areas to modify some of the shadows. A top tip is to adjust the Clone tool opacity to 30% to make the shadows softer and ensure there are no hard lines.

With a little patience and creativity you will end up with a photograph that defies gravity.


Founder of the Official London Photography Tours with a love of everything to do with photography. On our London photography tours we use London as our playground and are proud to offer the best London photo walks in the capital.

Entry Tags

technique, effect, levitate, levitation, levitating, falling, How to Create the Levitating Effect, fall-down, fall down

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Your Comments

36 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Daf

Beyond Cliche!

1:50 pm - Thursday, November 8, 2012

#2 Mark Davis

Why would you want to “remove the hair completely” ?

(Last sentence of paragraph 2 in Step 6)

I assume this is a typo and the author meant “chair”.

3:10 pm - Thursday, November 8, 2012

#3 george

This “effect” is not remotely convincing.  Please get some competent professionals in to give you free copy.

2:54 am - Friday, November 9, 2012

#4 Alex


I love that trick. Even though it’s so simple actually, you have to know how it works…

I am sure this might come in handy at some point.

5:23 pm - Friday, November 9, 2012

#5 khalid

I was looking for an impressive iPhone/iPad app for editing my photographs and one of my friend had recommended me very cool app named “Photo Splash Fx”. Although I have tried many others but this one is simply wonderful, as it enables me to

· Make my shots awesome, no matter if they are old vintage, black and white or new high resolution colorful photos, by applying a plethora of special effects.

· Use selective colors, variety of brush sizes (adjust manually or automatically), gestures like Pan/Zoom/Splash, unlimited Undos, Colorize, Tintalize, Recolor, blend brush to create custom effects and text blending on your photo.

· It supports both landscape or portrait mode and options like loading/importing photo from Cloud, instead of just from the camera or photo library.

· Choice of 135+ built-in effects on different parts of the same photo and still have the option of creating your own custom effects.

· Option to make favorite list of built-in effects to choose them easily for future.

· Sharing my edited photographs with friends through Email, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Picassa, Dropbox or post it in form of the post card, to anywhere in the world.

11:08 am - Tuesday, November 20, 2012

#6 Valerie

The most difficult part is to make a natural “falling” pose. It’d be great to have some examples to show ‘before’ and ‘after’.

3:27 am - Friday, November 30, 2012

#7 Sila Mahmud

Thanks for share, Great tips.

2:37 pm - Saturday, December 15, 2012

#8 Elizabeth Emma

Outstanding information on photography.Please update more often.Thank You


12:31 pm - Monday, December 24, 2012

#9 Matt

Great article! Thanks!

3:26 am - Friday, December 28, 2012

#10 Dave

Excellent, great walktrhough

7:52 pm - Tuesday, January 1, 2013

#11 satyam

Thats just photoshop skill.
if you want to see the real levitation skill .
Please visit this following page
( No photoshop used.
Just Lightroom minor editing on color and lights !)

  ————————————————————————————————-Satyam Joshi(

5:02 am - Friday, January 4, 2013

#12 satyam

I really liked this photograph.the expression,tone,posture..just great…!!and ofcourse the concept !

5:05 am - Friday, January 4, 2013

#13 grafik bildbearbeitung

Love how you used a totally different approach with the stamps

8:06 am - Tuesday, January 22, 2013

#14 billy.dpfoc

this is a helpful blog.

10:25 am - Friday, March 15, 2013

#15 Alexander

I love levitating photos!  Gosh this will help me a ton.  I was taking a levitating photo of myself the other day and I got hurt.

Anything for a good picture!


5:50 pm - Friday, March 22, 2013

#16 Max

I think I will try it, I think the light is most important here in setup.

2:52 pm - Monday, April 15, 2013

#17 Gopal Iyer

Thanks for sharing. I love it!

12:06 am - Wednesday, April 24, 2013

#18 Martha

Great post:) I think photography means knowledge and creativity. You can take excellent photo if you have knowledge about the technique and if you are creative. Professional photographer never tell their all secrets to you. If you want to take breathtaking photographs and amaze people with your skills, you need to learn and practice a lot. I learned almost everything to skip the amateur photographer stage with this website. You should take a look at the great information.;/photography-tricks-and-techniques-learn-advanced-photography.html

11:00 pm - Tuesday, April 30, 2013

#19 Chroma Coat Green Screen

Wow!!!!! that was an amazing trick thanks for sharing with us.

7:39 am - Friday, May 3, 2013

#20 Nate Hart

Thanks for the tip, it’s always nice to gather new photography hints and tips from people will to share. Thanks

8:06 pm - Monday, June 24, 2013

#21 Avantika Agarwal

Excellent and great article…..!!

8:05 am - Saturday, July 13, 2013

#22 Tatiana@photographer London

I really like photography that’s why I want to be a photographer.It’s not only help us to earn money but also help us to increase our knowledge about art. So the above tips are truly help us to gain our knowledge about photograph.

6:47 am - Monday, October 14, 2013

#23 Amanda Aoaophoto

It’s a good and easy to achieve levitating effect. Thanks for sharing. But it really requires us do more editing with Photoshop.

1:36 am - Wednesday, November 6, 2013

#24 Angel P

Pretty cool, definitely have to try this out.
thanks so much for sharing. 

5:46 pm - Wednesday, December 4, 2013

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I visited your site & after visiting i found that it is very informational for everyone you have done really a great job, thank you.

5:31 pm - Sunday, May 4, 2014

#26 Witsel Carry

Very good photography technic to shot effect base picture.

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your photography hand so cute.

5:21 pm - Sunday, August 16, 2015

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3:31 pm - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

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