As holiday season gets into full swing, we are going over a few of the classic holiday shots and how you can perfect them. Make sure you start by reading our recent post how to get the most out of your holiday snaps and then take a hop, skip and a jump into today’s tutorial: how to do a jump in the air photo.

The jump in the air snap was recently named among the ten most clichéd holiday photographs by top10.com, though we like to think of it as more of a classic shot. As well as being a popular technique for photographing groups and individuals in front of famous landmarks it’s the go-to photograph on exam results day. So, if your child and friends are receiving their GCSE results this week, now is the time to perfect this shot. Not only will you have lots of fun practicing but you’ll also have a memento of the special day, perfect for transferring to a personalised canvas.

The history of the jump shot

You might think the jump shot took off around the same time as package holidays, when families faced with a lot of unfamiliar sights started getting creative. In fact, the jump shot pre-dates the package holiday revolution by several decades. Latvian-born portrait photographer Philippe Halsman was the first to popularise the style. In 1951 he was commissioned by NBC to shoot a group of famous comedians including Bob Hope and Groucho Marx and he chose to do this with his subjects in the air. This in turn led to a series of celebrity shoots featuring what was coined as ‘jumpology’.

Speaking about the advantages of this approach in portrait photography, Halsman said: “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.”

Now a whole new generation are getting in on the jumping act; over on Instragram you can find over 57,500 jumping photo shots under the hashtag  #jumpstagram. If you’re one of the people who has contributed a photograph to the collection, don’t forget you can transfer your  #jumpstagram photo to canvas quickly and easily with our Instagram uploader.

The principles of the perfect jump shot

Now you know the principles of jumpology it’s time to get jumping (or shooting) yourself. Here are a few tips to help you take your first leap…

1)   To get a great photo that incorporates the expression of your subject, their flailing limbs and plenty of landmark in the background, crouch down low. Shooting from below will emphasise their distance from the ground and help you to fit more in.

2)   Emphasise the height of your subject by shooting portrait.

3)   Getting the count in to the jump right is key – you need to factor in the delay between pressing the button in order to capture your subject in the air and many photographers say they find it easier for the subject(s) themselves to do the count in.

4)   If you’re shooting a particular competitive jumper whose face crumples into athletic concentration, try and make them laugh to help their face relax.

5)   Shooting on a smartphone? Use continuous burst mode on an android or hold and tap on your iPhone.

6)   Selecting continuous burst mode on your camera will allow you to take several shots capturing the entire jump – perfect for displaying on a customised split canvas. To freeze the moment you’ll need to choose a fast shutter speed or select sports mode.

7)   Jumping shots are best taken outdoors to complement the use of faster shutter speeds.

And there you have it, all that’s left to do is count one, two, three and…jump! Do let us know how your jump shots turn out.

Photography tips for the perfect canvas prints - how to take a jumping photo