Models in mid-flight, defying gravity, have started a new trend in fashion photography, displaying clothes in whimsical ways while giving new life to dresses, swing coats, scarves and anything else that can take flight. Magazines like Vogue consistently choose the jump shot because it makes models seem ecstatic at the prospect of the season’s new fashions. Model Caroline Trentini, has made jumping in editorials and art form and is rarely seen touching the ground in any of her shoots.
It was photographer Phillipe Halsman whose lens first captured the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelley and Audrey Hepburn in mid-air. Halsman coined the phrase jumpology as his style of photography. You can check out Halsmans iconic photos in his book Phillipe Halsmans Jumping Photo Book, to see just where jumping with style originated from. His whimsical Jumpology series features artists, celebrities, politicians, businessmen, and royals taking the leap of faith. Phillipe was quoted by the New York Times as saying “When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping, and the mask falls, so that the real person appears.”
So how do you get this perfect shot? How do you jump with style, and capture one of these magical Marilyn moments? Well…after a lot of jumping, and shouting to my husband who was behind the lens, “Did you get it?” I thought it was about time to get a few tips from some professionals. So that’s exactly what I did. I was lucky enough to steal a few moments of time from some professional photographers over at Film Magic, and these were the tips they gave me.
1: Set your camera ready
To catch the action of jumping without any blur, you want to first make sure you have your camera set to the fastest shutter-speed it can manage. You also want to make sure you have a lot of light on your side. Once you have the light and exposure part sorted out, use burst mode (that means lots of exposures in rapid succession) so you’re pretty much guaranteed that at least some of the shots will turn out. You might want to pull out the old camera manual if you can find it to really get yourself going.
2: Focus the camera
You can set the camera on a tripod and have all exposure settings predetermined and locked in. Then place some object where the jumper will be. Set focus on this object, then turn auto focus off and lock in your focus on your item. Set the camera to shoot as fast a burst rate as possible. Then when your subject begins the jump, press your shutter and hold it down to take as many shots as possible while the person is in the air. Most likely, you will get at least one that is exactly what you want.
3: Check your camera
You want to make sure that the camera doesn’t have to try to be focusing or making exposure readings / settings while you are trying to take your picture. You want all that already set into the camera so all it has to do is take photos as fast as it can.
4: Use props when handy
Props are useful. If you have access to a trampoline, or you want to try jumping on your bed (safely of course), then try it. These are good ways to get some height in your picture and also buy you some time with your shutter, creating a great shot.
5: Be a trooper
Practice, Patience, and Luck. Just keep trying. When it comes to a photo like this, timing is everything. So keep at it, and eventually you will get the perfect shot.
If you are looking to try something new, or just spice up one of your new blog posts, this is a sure fire way to do it. It’s both creatively challenging and fun at the same time. If you stick with it, and keep shooting, you will be sure to come up with some really awesome shots. If nothing else, you will have had a really great work out. Now hop to it!