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.
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