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How to Take Cool Christmas Photos of Levitating Cookies

Cool Christmas photos still life of cookies levitating over a still life set up

Christmas is probably the most magical time of the yr. It’s good for taking surreal, artistic Christmas photographs.

Once you end your experiments with fairy lights, sparklers, and snowflakes, check out conventional Christmas baking and add a contact of wizardry!

Let’s take a shot of flying Christmas cookies with a cloud of sugar powder!

How to Photograph Levitating Objects

Levitation is a good way to make your scene extra dynamic. It’s like one of these circus tips: flying objects look fascinating even when you understand how it was carried out.

It’s the uncommon meals photographer who didn’t have enjoyable capturing flying layers of a burger as they assemble. Or capturing chocolate crumbs above scorching cocoa with marshmallow.

At present we’re going to do this trick with star-shaped cookies and a few powdered sugar.

However first, let’s check out the preferred methods to photograph flying objects.

Cool Christmas photos still life of cookies levitating over a still life set up

1. Sprinkle and Scatter

This works completely for powder-like substances and really light-weight objects. You’ll be able to scatter any spices above your dish. Pepper, gritted cheese, nuts, sprinkles – something you need.

You are able to do it with extra substantial, however nonetheless light-weight objects like popcorn, espresso beans or tiny marshmallows. Simply scatter them over your scene and take a sequence of photographs!

Cool Christmas photos still life of chocolate crumbs levitating over a cup of hot chocolate in a still life set up

Chocolate crumbs are good for scattering

The issue begins once you attempt the identical strategy with heavier and extra fragile gadgets. Please, don’t take a handful of cookies (nevertheless small) and easily drop them hoping to seize a wonderful second. Levitation doesn’t work like that.

You’d have to be unbelievably fortunate to get a handsome image with a tactic like this. Not to point out, you possibly can injury most of your cookies.

I’ve seen individuals making an attempt to make a well-made macaroon fly by dropping it as excessive as half a meter and watching the place it lands.

So far as I’m involved, that’s simply losing an ideal dessert. 

A cup of tea falling from a shelf

This falling cup, for instance, causes lots of questions. A majority of individuals have a tendency to assume that I actually tried to drop this cup and seize it in free flight. Iteration by iteration. Damaged cup by damaged cup. Who has time for that? And who has that many cups?

Reserve sprinkling and scattering for one thing very small, that gained’t be broken by falling.

Cool Christmas photos still life of sugar and sieve levitating over a slice of cake

Powdered sugar appears good for winter and Christmassy photographs

2. Maintain and Shoot Every Object Individually

The simplest and hottest means to create levitation is to maintain and photograph each object individually and mix them collectively throughout post-processing.

This can be a good way for newbies since you don’t have to organize a development with holders and helps. It’s straightforward to put collectively, however the method finally ends up wanting intricate and superior. 

Triptych showing the setup for photographing levitating Christmas cookies photo
The easiest way to use this technique is the place your objects are far away from one another. The space doesn’t have to be giant, however enough on your objects not to forged shadows on one another.

In any other case, you’d have to draw all of the shadows and reflexes by your self. And should you’re something like me (not in a position to draw a straight line to save your life, that’s), you’ll need to keep away from that.

Triptych showing the setup for photographing levitating Christmas cookies photo

I shot all of the cookies individually for this picture. I held every cookie with tweezers in a zone of focus.

They don’t seem to be supposed to be shut sufficient to one another that they might forged seen shadows. As a result of of that, I might merge them throughout post-processing with none hassle.

three. Maintain Every thing in Place With Wires or Fishing Line 

That is my favorite means! It’s low cost, straightforward to pull off and provides you numerous of management over every thing that’s shifting in your scene.

This strategy says that it is best to repair each object within the air by an improvised help or holder, take a shot and take away the help in post-processing.

Each object that seems as flying is definitely immobile. And deleting helps is simpler than drawing shadows appropriately from scratch.

Diptych showing the setup for photographing levitating Christmas cookies photo

It really works for cookies

Levitating lemon slices and tea leaves triptych

And it really works for lemon slices and tea leaves

One of the methods you possibly can droop your objects within the air is with wire and fishing line. Watch out with that, since objects can rotate within the air. The setup doesn’t actually offer you a way of management.

I might advocate utilizing one thing strong like skinny metallic or picket sticks. I have a tendency to use knitting needles and picket skewers since they’re low cost and straightforward to discover.

Diptych showing the setup for photographing levitating potato chips

Wire could be tough, however you need to use it for scenes the place you don’t want good management

This helps you mix levitation with the motion of many tiny objects like flour particles, spices, herbs and even flower petals.

All these objects will overlap with one another, casting actual shadows and making the picture look pure and plausible.

In our case we’ll mix Christmas cookies fastened steadily on immobile helps and sugar powder falling on them.

Levitating Christmas cookies photo

four. Use Specialised Machines

When you’ve got entry to a machine that may throw cookies or espresso cups within the air on the proper time and the proper angle, don’t ever hesitate to use it! Or in case you’re not solely a photographer but in addition a gifted engineer, perhaps you’re in a position to construct such a machine by your self.

I don’t have the talents to construct such a machine (or cash to purchase one), so proper now we’ll skip this feature. However how superior and handy wouldn’t it be!

Now that you recognize your choices, let’s undergo the step-by-step course of of taking a Flying Christmas Cookie Photograph!

What Props Will You Want

1. Cookies and Decorations

So, let’s acquire every part you want for a Christmas photograph with flying cookies. First of all, we’d like some cookies.

Decide one thing that matches with the Christmas theme. Gingerbread reindeer, snow-white icing, arduous sweet inserts, polar bears or snowflakes!

I’m not excellent at cooking and adorning, so I settled for easy star-shaped cookies.

Triptych of creative christmas food photos

You’ll be able to go for easy star-shaped cookies, or you will get fancy with icing and ornaments. You’ll be able to even bake a tiny gingerbread home!

Add some conventional Christmas nonetheless life gadgets for the environment. For instance, a comfortable knitted scarf or a sweater, a pair of garlands or toys, a wrapped current, some cinnamon or anise stars would look good.

2. What to Use to Maintain Your Cookies in Place

One other important factor is holders and helps to maintain your cookies within the air. For that, I used a pair of knitting needles and a easy stand. 

Nothing fancy, only a stand that I unscrewed from a picket man from Ikea. You would even use knitting needles caught in Plasticine as an alternative. 

As holders, I used easy clamps for embroidery and scrap-booking.

The setup for photographing levitating Christmas cookies photo

Final, however not least, get a glue gun. It’s going to provide help to connect cookies to helps.

The setup for photographing levitating Christmas cookies photo

And, of course, we’ll want a light-weight supply, a digital camera, and a tripod.

How to Organize a Composition

Begin with a plate of cookies and make it your level of curiosity. I positioned Ikea stand first, as a result of I would like to glue most of my cookies there. It is going to be one thing like an axis of falling. Then I hid the bottom in a picket bowl and coated it with cookies.

After that, I added a body with Merry Christmas lettering to the background, in addition to a teacup and fir tree branches.

Christmas photos tutorial of shooting levitating christmas cookies

After that I glued three star-shaped cookies to a pole. So as to make the road of falling not too clearly vertical, I glued two extra cookies to knitting needles and glued than in place with clamps.

I do know, some elements of the clamps are seen in my body. However I plan to merge the ultimate shot with the clear one, so there’s nothing to fear about.

Christmas photos tutorial of shooting levitating christmas cookies

Don’t overlook to take a ‘clean’ shot. That is the photograph with none clamps seen. It is going to permit you to retouch them simply in post-processing.

What Lighting Setup Do You Want

You’ll be able to shoot a scene like this with any lights you might have. Should you’re working with pure mild (or any steady mild, for that matter), you want to hold your shutter velocity as brief as potential. This can make the shifting particles of sugar powder sharp.

You may also set your shutter velocity lengthy and seize the lengthy paths of falling particles. It might seem like steam and is usually a nice artistic photograph.

I often work with speedlights. Each of my speedlights have a really brief impulse period. However for that, I’ve to set them on a low energy (from 1/16 up to 1/128 energy).

It really works identical to with splashes: low energy offers a brief impulse, so it’s attainable to seize motion. Utilizing non-continuous lighting helps me seize the falling sugar powder within the air.

Christmas photos tutorial of shooting levitating christmas cookies

For this picture, I used two speedlights. The primary one (key mild) is about behind a big diffuser on the suitable aspect. There’s one other (fill mild) in a small stripbox on the left aspect. This one is lighting the shadows and supplies a pleasant shiny reflection on the strainer.

I additionally used a black flag between the important thing mild and my background to make all of the objects on the background stand out much less. This manner they gained’t appeal to a lot of a viewer’s consideration.

Taking the Photograph

Set your digital camera in a Steady mode, so it is possible for you to to take a number of photographs in a row. Examine for those who like every thing about your composition. Examine in case you didn’t overlook to take a ‘clean’ shot.

Prepared? Good! Scatter some powdered sugar above the scene and take a sequence of photographs. 

Christmas photos tutorial of shooting levitating christmas cookies

Publish-Processing Christmas Cookies Photos

Select the shot with probably the most lovely iteration of falling powder. All you might have left to do is to retouch the helps holding your cookies within the air.

Christmas photos tutorial of shooting levitating christmas cookies

That is the shot I like probably the most from my sequence.

Now, place your ‘clean shot’ on the layer above and make helps invisible utilizing Layer Masks. That is fairly easy: put layers one above one other like a sandwich and create Layer Masks on the primary one.

After that, you need to use a small comparatively mushy brush to paint within the areas that ought to be hidden. In areas the place the helps overlap with falling powder, use the Clone Stamp device.

In case your helps are darkish (and your background is darkish too), that ought to current no drawback.

Modify the colour and distinction, and voila! You possibly can take pleasure in your magical Christmas cookies!

Christmas photos tutorial of shooting levitating christmas cookies

Right here I eliminated the helps with the Clone Stamp device and a Layer Masks

Final image of levitating christmas cookies

And that is my ultimate picture! I added some distinction, darkened the sides and made the teacup within the background somewhat lighter.

This trick could be very easy however versatile. Attempt it with marshmallows and scorching cocoa. Or cinnamon and a scorching steaming cup of tea. It’s so simple as Wingardium Leviosa, solely with images.

Greatest of luck together with your experiments!

Cool Christmas photos still life of cookies levitating over a still life set up

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Dina Belenko

There’s one phrase I all the time use to introduce myself, it describes me exactly: “My name is Dina and I tell animate stories about inanimate objects”. I am an individual with little paper cities, sugar cubes, moon from polymer clay, doll’s miniatures, damaged cups, handmade Rube Goldberg machine, repainted puzzles, wire timber, cardboard dragons and spilled espresso. And with a photograph digital camera. That is fairly primarily me.

You possibly can see extra of my work right here: