Too many jumping pictures can be annoying, but I would like to once in a while be able to make a good one.
Here is a bad one:
- What characteristics make a jump picture impressive?
- How to reach these characteristics when shooting the picture?
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Probably the most important factor:
If you can get low enough that you can see the sky under the person, it more clearly exaggerates that they are in the air.
Alternatively, shoot against a background with clear depth cues - A person jumping on a large, flat plane of a similar color provides no clue that they are actually in the air (Shadows can work for this too, if you have a bright light source, e.g. the sun etc...).
For example, in the picture in the OP, the girl is either jumping, or simply kneeling on the rocks. Since the image is 2D, there are no clear cues about the difference in depth between the girl and the rocks. If the angle of view was lower, so the mountains in the background were visible underneath her, it would be much more apparent she was jumping, and not kneeling.
Alternatively, place something behind them, that you can see.
Posing in the air is a different issue, and largely depends on what you are trying to do with the image.
Personally, I think it's fairly difficult to not look at least somewhat silly while jumping about, but that's more of a personal opinion than anything else.
One of the Key elements should also be
- The Decisive Moment
The timing of the photograph is very important!
At Sport Photography, like Skate Photography, hitting the Apex is a Must...
These following examples are showing how important it is, to find the decisive moment of the photograph
Photo by Garry Winogrand in the 1950s...
... and the following that is actually not shot from a low angle!
Photo by Cartier Bresson
I agree with @Fake Name about the low angle. It works particularly well with a low angle and recognizably "tall" items in the background. When you get lucky enough, a rainbow never hurts either: :-)
And yes, in case anybody cares, that really was luck, not compositing. As you can see, the weather did make for a rather dark shot though.
Of course it can also help to find somebody who knows how to strike a dramatic pose while jumping too:
While usually tele lens is used in sports photography, using wide angle from low angle and near distance can help in exaggerating height of the jump:
It is not unheard of for some of these shots to be taken right out of a a videostream. They stop right where they like the shot, snap, there it is and print! It may not be true photography the way you and I shoot, but a lot of people use photoshop to the nth degree and the gray area begins!