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Guest Salena Stinchcombe

Flying baby

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Guest Salena Stinchcombe

Hi there, I'm going to photograph my neighbour's baby and their last name is Steel so we're going for a man of steel/superman theme.  I'd really like to do one where it looks like the baby is flying with his cape etc.  So to make it safe, I'm guessing the best way to do it is to have mum holding him and then I would like to remove her in photoshop with minimal fuss.  Do you have any tips on how to shoot the picture so I can minimise fuss in PS?

My thoughts on how to do this most easily would be to have a black backdrop and get mum to wear black too, but I'm really not sure so thought I'd ask for help.  There's this famous flying baby but there's not much detail on the hows:  http://www.sightunseen.com/2013/06/rachel-hulins-flying-baby-series/

Thanks in advance,

Cheers,

Salena

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How old is the baby?  If he's old enough to do tummy time or to crawl, or otherwise hold his own body straight, it will be a lot easier.  If we're talking about a newborn, though, it'll be harder to get him in the right position, and you'll need to take lots of photos with him being held at different places on his body so you have all the pieces to composite together.

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This is a really crappy example (I threw this together in PS in about 3 minutes when a friend shared that Rachel Hulin series with me), but it was easily done because my son was 6 months in the original photo and was into throwing his arms out like that when we did tummy time.  :)  No need to remove anything or recreate his clothes or anything.

flying-jbear.jpg

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Guest Salena Stinchcombe

thank you for replying.  he is a couple of weeks old but very strong and big.  Although not that strong. Perhaps I should wait a couple of months for that one.  How can it be done though?

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If you want a flying Superman pose, you'd need him on his belly with his head held up, yes?  Otherwise, you'd have a lying down baby with his head down, which might not be the look you're going for in a Superman composite.

However you want the composite to look, you'd need to plan that out in advance well before ever picking up your camera.  Think about how you want the baby to look when he's "flying midair" in the final composite, and figure out how to get him to be in that pose.  (Again, you may want to wait until tummy time and strong neck control are established.)

Then you'd need to plan out what you want to composite him *into* -- you'll need your photo of a cityscape or sky at sunset or whatever for the new background.  Take special note of the lighting in your new background photo and plan the lighting in your baby shots to match.

Then you'd layer your baby photo (or photos, if you take a whole bunch in order to have all the pieces of the baby you need without mom's hands blocking any part of him) onto your new background photo and mask away.

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It's a fairly simple matter of layers and masks.  Honestly, the editing side of things isn't challenging - it's the conception and photography you need to get right.  Angles and lighting and so on.  You need to give them a fair bit of thought.

Edited:  What Christina said.

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Guest Salena Stinchcombe

Thank you both sooooo much.  This is a challenge for me but I'm really keen to give it a go.  Thank you both again :)

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