I have some fantastic, attractive friends who would do just about anything for me.

You might not think that this braggadocious statement has much to do with photography, but that’s where you are dead wrong, my friend. Finding good models for you to shoot is difficult, unless your friends happen to love you and need a new Facebook profile picture.

Three of my good friends at SCU volunteered to help me out with a photography assignment. I had to take pictures of people appearing to levitate, which is hard. Some bloggers, like this one, use mirrors, photoshop, scaffolding, and acrobatics to achieve an impression of levitation. My photography professor wanted us to follow the style of Natsumi Hayashi, a Japanese photographer who takes self-portraits using a tripod and a ten second timer. Selfies outside of Snapchat are tricky, so that’s where John, Briar, and Tristan came in.


Briar and I went to the Egyptian Museum in San Jose to shoot and tour. We took a ton of pictures of her jumping in random places, but the idea for a simple backdrop and concept came to me when I noticed the color harmony of her outfit and the wall of the museum. I like that you don’t notice her feet until you look closer.


This image of Tristan was one of dozens that I took. He’s an absolute goon, so about one in every fifteen shots was usable. The rest are hilarious (see below). I love this image because of the strong shadows and framing. The Rule of Thirds seldom fails.

He got in quite a workout trying to give me interesting poses and shots, and I definitely snapped a few keepers!


I shot this image of my friend John at a bus stop in Santa Clara. It looks pretty simple, but he had to jump from a seated position a few times since his hands kept flying up. The landing wasn’t particularly enjoyable for him either, but I’m obsessed with this image and so grateful I didn’t have to struggle through Photoshop to make it look more realistic! The only thing I would fix if I had the energy or time would be the strings of his hoodie, but whatever.

Here are a few tricks I learned during this shoot:

  1. Shoot with a fast shutter speed, but not on sport mode. It’s too easy to rely on your camera’s settings to do the hard timing for you, and the images almost always are taken at the wrong time. I captured all of these by having a careful trigger finger.
  2. Get low. Taking the image at a low angle does half the work for you! It makes the subject look like they are higher up, which makes the picture more believable.
  3. Have athletic, attractive friends who care about you. These hotties made my photo project a breeze. It’s hard to take a bad picture of good-looking people!

Thanks for reading! Does anyone have more tips on shooting levitation images and action shots?

-Gingham Queen


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