Peggy's Famous Jumping Shot

Peggy Farren 2014-06-16

Look at the sheer joy in his face!

Photo sessions should be fun! If there are young people involved, I almost always end my photo sessions with my “famous” jumping shot. I want my clients to be left with the memory of a great time during their session. I teach this shot during many of our classes at Understand Photography. Everyone loves it!!

Start by finding a flat surface with open sky Since most of my photo sessions are at the beach, sometimes this is tough to find. I want to shoot toward the water but the beach often slants down. I find the flattest area I can.

You'll need a wide lens. If you have a crop frame camera, a 17mm will probably do. I use my 24-70 lens open all the way to 24mm on my full frame camera.

Since there is movement, use a fast shutter speed. Most of my sessions end just after the sun sets so I need to use flash on the people. Remember, in order to balance your flash in TTL with your background, set your camera to the background and let the flash take care of the people.

Cameras have “sync speeds”. Your camera and flash can synchronize at certain speeds. On most cameras, that speed is 1/200th of a second or 1/250th of a second. On my Canon 6D, it's only 1/160th of a second.


How do you know how fast you can put your shutter speed while using flash? Chances are your camera will let you know. Just pop the flash or turn on your speedlight and dial your shutter speed as fast as it will go. On most cameras, you won't be able to dial in faster than the flash can sync with the camera.

Prepare your subjects. First comes the build up. I tell my child clients “I have a famous jumping shot where I can make you look like you are flying!”. I use this as a bribe to get “normal” pictures first.

engagement jumping shot
This was after a surprise proposal. The kids had T-shirts over the tank tops and took them off right at the precise moment their parents got engaged!

Instructions to the subjects:

  1. You have to jump at exactly the same time. It will be One, Two, Three, JUMP!

  2. You have to kick yourself in the butt with both feet.

  3. Tie your hair back if you have long hair.

  4. Look at me down on the ground. Don't throw your head back.

  5. Watch that your hands don't cover your face or anyone else's face.

silhouette jumping shot
Jenny - The best jumper ever!

And now for the fun part. You as the photographer must lay down on your back. The closer you can get to subjects, the higher it will look like they are jumping. I lay on my back with my legs wide. It's very sophisticated.... NOT!

This shot truly has made me a bit famous in my hometown. I was immediately thought of when the Friends of the Library put together their LEAP program. I was commissioned to take the pictures they use for their brochure. It's a fun shot the everyone loves! Some of my clients come up with really fun variations on the jump! I'd love to see YOUR jumping shots! Please share in our Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/understandphotography

photography beach jumping shot
Fun at any age!

kids photography jumping shot
Brother and sister fun!

Leap Program jumping shot
For the Leap Program brochure.

Large bridal party jumping shot
That is the groom so high up! Hmmm. Maybe he is the best jumper ever......


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About Peggy

Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, instructor, writer and speaker.

With over 17 years as a full-time professional photographer, Peggy offers photography training through her training center, “Understand Photography”.

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