If you’ve been following me on my instagram @jac_theocctrav, you’ll know that i can’t resist taking a good jumpshot. I love being able to catch a good dynamic photo of me in mid-jump against a picturesque background.
A good jumpshot makes what might be a normal postcard-like picture so much more interesting – it’s that feeling of dynamism and movement that draws the eye. I usually like to do a jumpshot to show off amazing landscapes that might otherwise look a little dull without any subject in the photo. Also, it captures energy in a way static photos can’t, and shows off my athleticism, surely a good reminder when i am older and less fit :p
People sometimes wonder how I manage good jump shots, especially since as a solo traveller I mostly have to resort to selfies, so I thought I’d share with you a little guide on what I do to get a good jumpshot and some tips so you can too.
Jumpshots really aren’t too hard – it just requires a bit of patience and some practice before you are old-hat at it. Go try for yourself and remember to leave me your favourite jumpshot pix in the comments to wow at!
What camera I use
When I’m on my own, it’s the Casio Exilim FR100 for me because I can control it remotely when jumping. Some days I’ll just take one well-timed shot, but mostly I use the 30s High Speed Burst mode to guarantee a good shot as long as you don’t screw up the timing. It definitely has made it much easier for me to jumpshot on my own!
For those armed with just their phone cameras or your point-and-shoots, don’t worry, this is possible too! You will need:
- a tripod or something to hold your phone in place when you jump
- a camera app/function with a timer or a bluetooth remote – I prefer the remote as it gives you a bit more control over the photo taking, while setting the timer means you have to be quite precise about when you actually jump
If there’s someone around who will take the picture for you, great! But relying on other people’s photography ability is always a bit dicey – set a multiple-burst (many shots in a few seconds) for the highest chance at a good shot.
- For those with iPhones, get your photographer to hold down the camera button and take a burst mode picture – you can then pick our the best shot and discard the rest. Tell them to start pressing the button as you bend to jump to ensure they catch the whole jump.
The Jumpshot – Basic Tips and Tricks
It’s all about that split second shot and one good move! It takes some practice or enough jumpshots to get the hang of it, but some general tips:
- Always point your toes – you just look so much more graceful. Also, it gives your leg muscles better definition so you look more toned.
- Bend your knees and kick your legs back to create the illusion of height. It makes you look like you are jumping higher than you really are and altogether more athletic.
- Low angle shots where the camera is on the ground and angled upwards also make it look like you have some serious air time. Make sure you have pants on though or it’ll be a rather unfortunate upskirt moment for you.
- Keep your face happy or neutral. If you are prone to constipated expressions because of all the effort it takes, do a pose that has your face turned to the side or away, or stick to silhouette shots.
Easy poses to start you off
Can’t figure out what to do with your body in the air? Here are some poses you can try which are pretty easy for anyone to do, and you can create your own variations by bending or straightening your various limbs. I personally like to look at photographs of dancers for inspiration and try to impart some of that grace and control into my pix, but you do you and come up with your own crazy moves!
- The Star – Face the camera, jump with your hands in a V above your head and your legs open in a V. Think about stretching sideways to create a big star shape, and not about putting so much force into flailing such that your limbs are all pointing backwards instead of sideways
- Running Man – turn to the side, lift your legs and hands into a running position as you jump up, with your knees and elbows bent accordingly so it literally looks like you are caught mid sprint.
- Back Arch – turn to the side, bend your knees and kick your legs back while throwing both your arms over your head backwards – make sure you have them behind your ears so you don’t block your face. As you jump, arch your back and tilt your head upwards for prettier lines.
Advanced Tips and Tricks
- Have some go-to poses so in the event you only have time for one shot, you can definitely get a nice one. Some inspiration from travel blogger friends – Keith from TravelInspiration360 has what he calls a KJS (Keith Jump Shot) in every place he visits; and while it’s not technically a jumpshot, Hendric from Pohtecktoes has a Piking Around The World series
- Your best shot is normally when your jump is at its highest point because that’s when your muscles are usually the most engaged, but sometimes the other positions can surprise you, which is why a multi-shot burst never hurts. I’ve preferred some shots where I’m on the way up or down
- Props can add some spice – throwing out a thin scarf as you jump can add movement/flow to a picture – best attempted if you are doing a multi burst shot
Things to consider
- What are you wearing? A contrasting colour to your background makes you pop out more
- Something more form-fitting tends to show off the shapes your body makes better
- If you are in flipflops or any sort of heel, I suggest taking off your shoes when you jump both for safety and because flipflops look especially awkward if you are pointing your toes
- SAFETY FIRST. Make sure your jump doesn’t plummet you off a cliff or step on other people’s toes. Loose gravel and uneven, slippery and sloping surfaces can also be hard on your ankles. Soft sand cushions landings but watch out for weak ankles
- For dubious surfaces, I cheat a little by doing a tiny one-leg kick back to give that sense of movement though I am barely jumping at all
- If there is a crowd, don’t be a pain in the ass and spend an hour trying to take the perfect shot! Come back at a less busy time
- I’ve found that plain clear backgrounds in bright light tend to work the best. My favourite is against the clear blue sky. You might get lost if the background is too busy
- Are there landmarks or people in the background you can’t remove or want to show off? Use your jumpshot to highlight these for a fun photo. I like jumping ‘over’ things
- Silhouette shots work best during sunset when light is low, or if you are shooting against really bright sunlight. The pros are that you can make whatever faces you want, but the cons are that you might get more movement blurs because of the low light for sunset shots
- Jumpshots are great beyond just the static photograph. The iPhone lets you do slow-mo videos so you can create a really dramatic looking jumpshot, or you could do a boomerang shot on Instagram for a never-ending gif of your jump… get creative!
- You need to know how fast or slow your camera reacts to best gauge the timing of the jump – that means knowing your camera well and doing some practice shots. Especially key if you have some random person taking the shot for you
And let’s go jumping! Hit me up with your best jumpshots in the comments, or tell me which one is your favourite and what tips you might have.