I am going on a lengthy road trip this summer, and I wanted to have some fun with the pictures I take.

I thought it would be cool to take pictures of my girlfriend in various locations, but have her in the exact same pose, and positioned exactly the same within each frame.

Then I could make a cool animation where just the background scenery changes.

Is there are name for this sort of technique? Are there any tricks or tips to consistently making the subject look the same?

I realise that I could measure the distance in each shot, and have a point on her body centered within the view finder. But what about possible elevation changes changing the angle? Are there any techniques to improve consistency?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ What camera do you have? If it's a Canon P&S Cam, then chdk has an Edge detection Overlay Mode that is useful for it \$\endgroup\$
    – PlasmaHH
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 7:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are lots of little marks inside the viewfinder that can be used to help your subject positioning. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 21:44

3 Answers 3


Fun idea. That could be called hyperlapse.

If you use a specific memory card for that project, you can always switch from viewing the first photo of the project to live view.

Another option is that you built a box with a grid or something and put it in front of your camera, like the old matte paint technique used in cinema. Instead of having a paint of a scene, draw a stick figure as a reference, remove it and take the shoot.

After this you can use an image stabilization software. You can use Blender which is free. https://www.google.com/search?q=blender+image+stabilization

Level your camera with a feature of your girlfriend, like the tip of the chin and shoot at a wider angle that you think looks nice, so you have something extra space to crop and adjust.

You could do a very complex stop motion animation if you prepare each pose in advance, and carry it as a reference.

Study hyperlapse techniques https://www.google.com/search?q=hyperlapse here is a very good tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcylVx2ex78 and they are using a monopod.

I feel there is a chance the effect won't be noticeable because the lighting and obviously the background will be very different, so focus the framing on her. I do not mean center her, but compose based on her.

An additional thing that could help "balance" the images is the use of an external flash, so you can put the flash in the same relative position and this would give you an additional stable feature - the source of light.

To smooth things even further do not take just one shot. Take several on the same location with some differences, probably a "circular dolly", where she rotates a bit facing you.

Now you have an additional element to smooth the result. A camera movement.

And an additional thing. Let her use some clothing that can be reused again an again. A t-shirt (or several), a quid, a cap so she is dressed similar to enhance the effect.

Share a link after you finish your project!

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    \$\begingroup\$ From Stackoverflow here - I've always wondered how photographers do this, and stumbled on this in the "Hot Network Questions" section. Thanks for the fantastic answer! \$\endgroup\$
    – Moo-Juice
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a very good chance that one pose will not be appropriate or available in every situation and location. You might want to plan for a standing, sitting, and waist-up pose variation at each "shoot." You'll know in retrospect which one was the best pose for the series. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ You might be able to get a viewfinder screen with a pattern to help you align and position your subject. A plastic template can be used on your camera screen for the same purpose. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 21:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh right Stan. :o) \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 1:02

Just take each shot so that it looks roughly right but with a wider lens/further away. Then match all images in post processing by cropping.

This is a lot simpler than matching the images in camera. At least in terms of positioning the subject within the frame.

Considering the pose itself I would not strive for a perfect match. If something looks too good, people grow suspicious and will ask the Photoshop question.

Then I could make a cool animation where just the background scenery changes.

In addition to recreating the same pose, I'd try other things. Merely changing the background could be perceived as "too simple" depending on the audience. Maybe think of this project as a stop motion animation.

Why not let your girlfriend pose in different frames of a walk cycle? (google for the term to find illustrations with more frames per cycle that look better) This way your animation could consist of your girlfriend walking across the screen with all the backgrounds of your journey in chronological order. I think this would convey the meaning of "travelling" a lot better than several pics showing somebody standing somewhere.

You can try various walk cycles at home to see what works for you.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Wow thats a great idea! Maybe as the backgrounds change she could be moonwalking across the image! \$\endgroup\$
    – Scorb
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 17:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're careful in your framing, and give yourself extra room for cropping, you could have her "walk" across the image. Have her move right-to-left for a westward journey, or left-to-right for an eastward journey. \$\endgroup\$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 17:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ YES! I pictured this video in my mind with an unchanging girlfriend, and background scenery flipping behind her, and that is decidedly uninteresting and should be done with a single shot of the girlfriend, printed into each photo. If her clothes and pose change a tiny bit (not too much) in each shot, it will be a much better video! \$\endgroup\$
    – Jasmine
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ In addition to cropping, if you've got a good resampling program, you can post-process a little "zoom" to match her size across images. Nobody will (or can) notice a slight change in the size of trees or mountains or buildings behind her. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 11:38

I realise that I could measure the distance in each shot, and have a point on her body centered within the view finder. But what about possible elevation changes changing the angle?

A quick way to get close is to decide on the pose you want to use and do the first shot at home. Make a print and keep it in your camera bag so that you can refer to it whenever you're going to do one of these shots. You could even print it at the same size as your camera's rear display to make comparisons easier.

Using a tripod can help with reproducing camera height and subject angle. You could leave a piece of string tied to the tripod so that you can use it to easily reproduce the camera->subject distance.

These things will help, but it's unlikely that your girlfriend will be able to exactly reproduce her pose each time, or that you'll get the camera distance and angles exactly right, so any animation you could produce would look a little jumpy. Also there's the much more difficult matter of duplicating the lighting in each new location; different lighting will give you a flickery look. Finally, most people change clothes from time to time when they're on vacation, so unless you're going to have her change into the same outfit before each shot, her clothing will change between shots. That said, you'd need a LOT of frames to produce a real animation of any length. If you do something more like a slide show where each image is present for a second or more, minor changes in position and lighting and clothing will be fine.

You might also want to consider taking two shots at each location: one that includes your girlfriend in the chosen pose, and a second that's exactly the same but with your girlfriend out of the frame. When you get home, you could digitally insert the same image of your girlfriend into the empty space in each of these second shots. Then you'd have complete consistency between frames, each frame would be composed so that The Pose looked appropriate, and the biggest problem would be that a sharp-eyed observer might notice that the lighting on your girlfriend doesn't exactly match the lighting in the rest of each image.

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    \$\begingroup\$ One with and one without is a great tip that gets better as I think of it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 21:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Print it with framing guides on that you can reproduce in the camera's liveview / EVF - e.g. rule of thirds or rule of fifths. \$\endgroup\$
    – bdsl
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 21:05

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