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.)
This technique is always fun at weddings or other events where people are dressed up.
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.
And for the truly accomplished jump photographer, you can start playing with light and silhouette.
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 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.