Music photography tips: Jump shots

November 02, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

I’m a big fan of jump shots, and it’s one of the aspects of band photography I get the most questions about. Nailing the elusive jump shot is a mixture of planning, good judgement and luck.

If you want to improve your chances of success, here are a few tips:

  • Research your band. Try to watch some live footage to find out how lively they are on stage. Rich Jones, Ginger Wildheart BandRich JonesGinger Wildheart Band
  • Listen  – sometimes, even with a song you’ve never heard before, you can predict where a jump might occur (If you’re familiar with the music, this is much easier).   

    Justin HawkinsJustin Hawkins

  • Learn to shoot with both eyes open – looking through the viewfinder is all well and good, but sometimes you get extra cues from your peripheral vision.

    Patent PendingPatent Pending
  • Watch out for body language and stage positioning. Standing on the drum riser or a monitor can be a dead giveaway, as can looking at a bit of the stage a few feet away (or the ceiling!), or someone steadying themselves and bending their knees slightly.

    The WildheartsThe Wildhearts
  • If you can’t use flash (more than 95% of the jumps I’ve caught have been in no-flash situations), use the fastest shutter speed you can get away with, and if you need to use a slower speed due to bad lighting, try to pan with the jump to stand a better chance of getting a sharp shot.

  • Don’t be reluctant to use continuous shooting to increase your chances of success if you’re following a jump.

    Electric BoysElectric BoysThe Electric Boys photographed at Islington Academy, London, by music photographer Trudi Knight

Good luck!

*post edited to add a few examples*





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