Portrait Photography, Photography Tutorial

In the previous strategy, we discussed the use of shadow photography in helping your creativity to flow. Photoshop can also help you explore shadow photography! Maricon Williams, in the article titled ‘Use of Shadow and Lighting,’ writes: With the help of Photoshop, the object has vested an illusion that it has a third dimension. Photoshop’s files are put across the width and down the height of an image. The third dimension’s illusion is created through the use of accurate shading and perspective.

Shadows can help one identify the tie of day in your photographs. Williams, in the same article on shadows and lighting, informs us that With Photoshop, you can lower your subject’s opacity and blur the layer with the Gaussian Blur filter. This Photoshop filter allows you to manipulate and play with the time factor created by the shadows in your photographs.

Photoshop also allows you to play around with drop shadows; that is, those shadows which have the same shape as the objects casting them. Williams writes about the Photoshop feature that helps you to do this: Layer Styles allows you to add a drop shadow to layers.

Photoshop and Levitation Photography

Photoshop will enable you to explore levitation photography without having to resort to using wires and cranes and other levitation devices. Take one photo of your subject on an object such as a stool, box, couch, table, or bed. If the subject is human, he or she could be standing. Next, take another photo with neither the subject nor the object but in the same location.

Armed with your two photos, now open Photoshop and put both pictures into the same document. The image with the stool/box/couch etc. should be on the top layer while the model with neither object nor subject should be on the bottom layer. Select the top layer then erase the object that the subject is on by using Photoshop’s eraser tool or by using a layer mask. Result? The object will be gone, and the subject will look like it, he or she is floating in the air!

If you would like to add even more creativity to your levitation photograph, you can change the angle of the subject. Use Photoshops Rectangle Marquee Tool to do this. Right-click and select Free Transform, then you can rotate the subject and even move it around.

Photoshop and Creative Cropping

Yet another way in which Photoshop allows you to make your photos more creative is through creative cropping. There are two types of cropping: in-camera (which will be discussed in the next strategy on using photography techniques to encourage creativity to flow freely) and after-the-fact cropping. Photoshop can help you to do some highly creative after-the-fact cropping by using its marquee tool.

Photoshop and Panorama photos

Using Photoshop, you can turn any of your landscape photographs into a 360-degree panorama. You can make tunnels, planets, and even tunnels that have planets inside them! You can even turn these panoramas into spirals.

What exactly is a panoramic photo? It is one that has a full spherical field of view, similar to that of a 0mm lens. You can use the Hugin software to stitch the images and the Flexify software (which is a Photoshop plug-in) to manipulate the images.

Portrait Photography, Photography Tutorial

So how can you explore panoramic photography? You will first have to take several photographs of the environment around you, anywhere between 50 and 100 photographs. This is so that you can capture a complete immersive view. Next, stitch the photos you have taken with the software mentioned above.

Evan Sharboneau gives an outline of how you can stitch using Hugin. He writes: Load all of your images into the program. Go to the top and click Preview. If you want [your image] to look like a planet, select stereographic from the drop-down box. Then, when you are looking at the preview, left-click on the spot where you were standing to take a photograph.

This will morph the image into a sphere at that specific point. Close the preview window, and then click on the Stitcher tab. Click the optimize image size button (this makes the image have more resolution) and then finally click Stitch.

Sharboneau recommends using Flexify together with Hugin for superior panoramic photographs, mainly because Flexify gives you more control of how you want your final panoramic picture to look like.

Additionally, Flexify has several output options. He mentions several that fill up the frame, including Wetch, which is very wide; Oculus is similar to Stereographic, but the distortion is towards the center instead of on the edges. Mercator allows you to make little lumps. Hyperdouble will enable you to create two 360s side by side that are morphed into each other and Stereo Twice, which is similar to two mirrored Stereographic that have been merged.

Photoshop and Pseudo Planets

In case you do not have the patience to take almost 100 photographs to create panoramic photos, you can go the route of creating pseudo planets. This only requires you to take between 5 and 10 photographs of your environment.

Photoshop and Pseudo Planets
Astronaut and a pseudo planet

In fact, you can even do this using only one photograph! One advantage of creating such photographs is that you do not need to use software such as Hugin and Flexify. All you need is Photoshop!

Other Photoshop tricks

With Photoshop, you can also:

  • Twist a picture into an endless abyss. This is known as the Droste Effect.
  • Explore time displacement photography. You can photograph your subject being twisted, distorted, stretched, morphed, and bent in real space.
  • If you’re shooting a beautiful wedding, you might need some of our tips on Wedding photography.


The Photoshop possibilities are literally endless and very mindboggling! They are sure to make your creativity flow freely and in directions that you never thought you could go in!

In our next post, we will encourage creativity by using photography techniques.