Jump Around

One of my favorite things to do with subjects of all ages is make ’em jump. Kids in particular can’t seem to get enough of it, and I’ve had a lot of fun this summer stopping the action.

Technique-wise, it’s easy to do, at least from the camera’s point of view.

1. Shoot in manual or in shutter-priority.

2. Set your shutter speed to at least 1/500 or 1/1000 if your light allows.

3. Adjust your ISO (turn it up) for the fast shutter speed. My settings above were f/2.8, 1/500 and and ISO pushed all the way to 1250.

4. If you have a burst mode on your camera, turn it on.

5. Shoot from down low to increase the perceived height of the jump. If your jumpers get more than an inch off the ground, that is.

6. Alternatively, have them jump off a low wall or anchored bench to get some “hang time” with little subjects.

Working on the technique of the jumpers is something else.

Here’s the true secret to jumping photos–if your subjects are really old enough to execute a jump, tell them to bend their knees—it makes them look that much higher off the ground.

Since I don’t have jumpers old enough to get it together, I will illustrate with some examples of excellent jumps out there. (These photos are licensed through Creative Commons.)

cc photo by Xose Castro

cc photo by Fevis Yu

This technique is always fun at weddings or other events where people are dressed up.

cc photo by annieee

The incongruity of jumping in formal wear adds something even better to jumping photos. Take note, Molly—are you and Michael practicing your jumps?

When you nail the technique, you can see how much fun you can have with it. To take this amazing photo,  the photographer zoomed his or her lens at the same time, to give the feeling of movement. It worked.

cc photo by pasotraspaso

And for the truly accomplished jump photographer,  you can start playing with light and silhouette.

cc photo by clspeace

Need a little help getting your jumps off the ground? Check out this site, bedjump.com–your best jumping shot on a hotel bed. Fun for the whole family. Maria, Ellen, don’t we have some we could submit from long ago college cross-country meets?

Hope to see your jump shots out there soon!

Anna Sawin

Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.


  1. MGF on October 9, 2008 at 8:01 am

    I am so gonna try to get my boys to JUMP this weekend.

  2. Sara on October 9, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Do you have any advice for getting them to stop jumping once they start? I am just picturing Thanksgiving with my five nieces and nephews bopping around and everyone looking at me thinking “really, Aunt Sara…got that picture yet?”

  3. Molly on October 9, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Mike was a really good sport with the engagement pictures so hopefully we can get some jumps in. Jumping off the seawall, perhaps?

  4. Brenda on October 9, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Oh, this is good! I had no idea about the bent knee thing. Thanks! Now I need to check out that bedjump website!


  5. Stacy on October 9, 2008 at 10:40 am

    I’ll have to recommend the bent knee thing next time. Love your shots!

  6. JenBun on October 9, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    I LOVE those jump shots– particularly the first one with the kids and the wedding one.

    I am TOTALLY going to try to get someone to take pictures of me jumping on EVERY hotel bed I encounter from now on!! 😀

  7. killlashandra on October 9, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Wonderful jumping shots and comments on capturing those high energy moments. 🙂

  8. Christina on October 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Such fun! You know, jumping shots is one thing I’ve never really done too much….I’ll have to change that!! I love your photo posts.

  9. sdh on October 9, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    my friend does a lot of jumping self portraits. she has some kind of fancy camera with a remote control so she can shoot herself while jumping.

  10. Crystal D on October 10, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    I love it. I got my new camera this week and I am going to try this as soon as I figure out where all these setting are. LOL

  11. itsallabouthallie on October 11, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    I loved this! This was an inspiration and I tried! You can check out how i did! The boys were not as willing as i thought they would be! I am going to work on it! This fancy camera has more features on it i just do not understand how to use it yet!

  12. Princess Extraordinaire on October 13, 2008 at 3:42 am

    These jump shots are great! I am going to give it a go with my nephew this weekend…

  13. Maya on October 22, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    I love the jumping shots too! It seems to make people laugh as well if they’re all tense!

    I love how in the first shot Hank is just standing like he doesn’t know what’s going on! Funny stuff!

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Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.