Photography Project 52: Week 20 – Photographing People Jumping

My first sign that I’m in over my head should be when I start thinking “how hard can this be”?  I spent a lot of time with my family last week, and thought it would be perfect to recruit them to help with some of my projects.  One was jumping.  Really – people jump, you push the shutter button – hard can it be? As it turns out – it was a lot harder than I thought.

I had this idea, that if I lay down on the ground then I would get people jumping against a blue sky.  But people don’t really jump that high.  So my brother-in-law humored me by finding something people could jump off of, and he even gave me a blanket to lay on (I’m thinking of asking him to be my official assistant – but I don’t want to hurt Peter’s feelings – although I can imagine on some level he would be relieved he wouldn’t have to help me with my wild, crazy projects – anyway I digress).

Here are some tips if you ever want to give it a go:

  • Really pay attention to your backgrounds, especially at the maximum height you think they will jump.
  • Stay a good distance away – and don’t try to lay underneath them.  Normal people don’t really jump high or far.
  • Try changing your height – lay down on the ground and get up on a step stool.  It will give you different perspectives.
  • Give people ideas on what to try – but don’t ask them to do anything unnatural.  You don’t want them to get hurt (and jeopardize your future probability of getting enthusiastic volunteers)
  • Zoom in – try to cut off what they are jumping off of and fill the frame.
  • Use burst mode on your camera and fire away
  • I tracked them as they jumped moving my camera and lens.
  • Using a toning or film effect to unify the series.  Right now I am having fun with JHP Photoshop actions.

I have to admit the best part of this project was seeing the expression on their faces – especially the difference between the adults and young people.  The young people showed joy, the adults showed fear.  I found the expressions when they landed to be better than the ones while they were jumping – maybe next time, that will be my series.

To see full size, click on an image and then scroll through in screen show mode.

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