Timing is key
- Lens with a focal length between 50-200mm
- Bag – if you plan on heading outside for your shoot you'll need a bag for your camera gear. Rucksacks are the easiest to carry if you're walking and Vanguard have several award-winning bags you should take a look at.
To get the best results it's all about timing. If you're working outdoors having a camera that's fast at focusing and has a high burst right will help. Just remember to hit the shutter button before your model jumps to give yourself more chance of getting the shot right. If you're working indoors with flash you can't use the camera's drive mode to fire off rapid shots so you'll have to just trust your reflexes and shoot until you get your timing right. Counting down from 3 to 1 so your model knows when to jump can help you perfect the technique.
The more light you have the better so if you're working indoors with your flash kit and have a hair light move it directly above your subject to cast more light on them. This will cast a darker shadow under their feet which adds to the illusion just make sure the head isn't over-exposed.
This technique works perfectly well outside though. Just pick a location that doesn't have a background that's too busy. In fact if you place your model on a hill and you shoot up towards them it can exaggerate the sense of weightlessness.
Clothing and props
Fitted clothing works better than loose tops and dresses as it can look a little odd if a dress is bellowing out when the subject is meant to be still in the air. If your model has long hair ask them to fasten it up as it can cause a similar problem if it's left down.
As for props, you can use almost anything but items such as umbrellas or as it's Christmas time a toy reindeer can be held up in the air to make it look like they're helping your model float.
It's important that your model relaxes their entire upper torso as if they brace themselves their head can look like it's sinking into their neck and their arms will be too rigid. Their feet also need to be positioned as you would stand on the ground as having them pointed down as they would be after you jump up doesn't work with the effect you're trying to create.
Find the tripod and camera bag to suit your needs at www.vanguardworld.com