Photography can be a lot like magic in the sense that the person behind the camera rarely reveals the tricks they utilize to get the perfect shot. However, that’s far from the case for Gilmar Silva. The Brazilian wedding and family photographer lifts the veil on his work by giving his followers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the great lengths he goes to achieve his vision.
Silva’s project, LUGARxPHOTO, disillusions the seemingly magical moments he captures on camera by revealing the sometimes ridiculous efforts that go on behind it.
The comparison between the outsider’s perspective shots and the final edited photos not only show how manipulative photography can be but also the talent and creativity at play. Here are 24 of Gilmar Silva’s photos where he exposed what was really going on behind the camera.
1. Gilmar Silva is one photographer who knows that the location is not as important as the overall vision. You have to have one creative eye to pass this dirt road puddle and see the potential for a couple’s pregnancy photo shoot, but Silva managed to use perspective to turn the dismal into something enchantingly mystical.
2. Who needs an Instagram filter when you can create one in real life? Silva certainly wasn’t working with the most colorful of settings when he had his model pose in front of a flower-adorned tree, but that didn’t stop him from creating one vibrant shot. By placing the actual petals of a flower in close proximity to the camera and with the help of some clever focusing, he managed to create a real-life filter by utilizing the nature around him.
3. Having a sleeping baby perched on the family dog’s back is a great idea in theory, but practically, it’s not the safest activity for a newborn. Both dogs and babies aren’t the easiest models to work with, but Silva found a clever way to capture two separate photos and combine them into one seamlessly heartwarming picture.
4. Gilmar Silva thrives at creating extraordinary photographs out of very ordinary things. The finished photo would lead you to believe that Silva managed to orchestrate a swarm of fireflies for one romantic shot. However, he revealed to his followers that he achieved this by simply having someone throw rice behind the couple and back-lighting the grains with an extra flash.
5. One would imagine that this couple traveled to some surreal location for this photo shoot, but in reality, they are just standing on some rocks near a populated beach. Silva skillfully captured the couple’s reflection in a small area of water between the rocks and made it look like they were overlooking a lagoon rather than a puddle.
6. Converting a run-of-the-mill forested area into something much more mystical is surprisingly easy if you think outside of the box. Gilmar Silva took advantage of the rays of sun beaming through the trees by having an assistant throw some corn starch behind his model to create a smoky backdrop effect.
7. Shooting in the rain makes for some seriously romantic imagery, but relying on the weather and protecting your gear makes getting the shot a lot more complicated than necessary. However, Gilmar Silva found a way to create his own rain and make this baby shower shoot simple yet entirely effective.
8. Unless you have access to a helicopter, a daring model, and one seriously long and unforgiving flower-wrapped rope, there’s no way you’d be able to achieve this shot practically. Gilmar Silva, however, managed to make this magical photograph happen with the help of two volunteers and some playful photo editing.
9. Gilmar Silva admitted to his followers that he’d always dreamed of taking a photo of a pregnant woman lying among tree roots. However, it takes a very special eye to make that vision become something endearing. Having a pregnant woman naked on tree roots could easily take a turn to something quite disturbing in the wrong hands.
10. This adorable photo session took place in the capital of Brazil and Gilmar Silva admitted that the model’s mother wasn’t too happy when she got to the location. In all fairness, having your child play in a field near a busy street doesn’t seem too alluring. However, Silva said that once she saw the finished photos, she was in awe.
11. It’s not easy to compete in the flooded arena of engagement photos, however, this couple will be sure to stand out. Incorporating something that this couple is clearly passionate about elevates this engagement photo to a whole other level and will be sure to have recipients be in awe of how it was achieved.
12. Gilmar Silva certainly proves that the art of photography isn’t as simple as just pointing and shooting. He manages to transform the seemingly ordinary locations he finds into something much more visually appealing. Many of Silva’s followers have been inspired by his work that was created with minimal resources and he continues to share his secrets with them.
13. Framing is everything, which is why you’d never know looking at this finished photo that there’s a street right in front of this pregnant woman. However, you can’t help but wonder how confused people passing by must have been when they were shooting. Luckily, this woman was able to look as serene as Silva eventually made the scene.
14. Only a true photographer’s eye would notice a dry leaf on the ground and see it as an opportunity to frame a romantic snap. One would imagine that some of the couples Silva photographs are probably pretty confused at what he’s trying to achieve. However, these experimental angles are what makes his work so refreshingly unique.
15. Gilmar Silva was able to flawlessly create the illusion that this sleeping baby was being held up in a makeshift hammock. However, achieving that shot would be wildly difficult and the baby would be far from appearing so zen. This play on perspective manages to get the same end result without the hassle.
16. There’s definitely a fine line when it comes to overusing Photoshop on an image. Too much editing can ruin what made the original photo special. However, subtle additions can make an image truly pop, and without having to have anyone know that there was any extra editing at play.
17. Kids naturally have endless imaginations so why not take advantage of that? Gilmar Silva used a variety of techniques to make this kid’s portrait capture the wonder and excitement that comes with childhood. Playing with focus, color editing, and the addition of a hummingbird make this snap instantly eye-catching.
18. A little assistance can go a long way. Silva ambitiously got up on someone’s shoulders just to get an aerial shot of this couple, which proves that you don’t need expensive equipment to capture unique angles, just some good friends! Just make sure you have a steady hand and one stable assistant.
19. A photo of newlyweds popping a celebratory bottle of champagne? A wedding photographer staple. However, a staged action shot of the airborne champagne cork? Now that’s not something you’ll see in every wedding album. This clever camera work creates one spellbinding and original photo that the couple will surely cherish.
20. It might take some convincing to get your formally dressed models to get into the seemingly swampy areas Gilmar Silva frequents. However, one look at his impressive portfolio should do the trick! Newlyweds making hearts with their hands is well-trod territory, but using a synchronized splash is certainly a new one.
21. Mother nature can make for some beautiful photography, but you can’t always rely on it to get the shot you want. Gilmar Silva has a talent for making staged photographs look completely natural, and he doesn’t do it alone. Silva had the help of two assistants who threw leaves to create the illusion of a picture-perfect fall day.
22. The beauty of a good wedding photographer is that you are so transfixed by the happy couple that you never even take into consideration the bizarrely intimate angles that must have gone down to achieve the shot. This might be the only situation where staring at a couple’s intimate moment under the same veil is appropriate.
23. Gilmar Silva gave his followers a little backstory behind this photo session, explaining that this was one of his favorite places to shoot, but when he arrived, it had been mostly destroyed. Still, Silva worked with what he could and still managed to churn out one truly beautiful image.
24. Despite Gilmar Silva’s career as a professional photographer only continuing to thrive, he still works with the bare minimum tools that he needs. Most photographers will lug around a ton of equipment, but for Silva, all he needs is his camera, some inspiration, and at times, a chair to stand on.