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Lindsay Adler is a fashion and beauty photographer and an Adobe Stock Premium Contributor. For the holiday season, she created a beautiful and festive cinemagraph by combining her own studio work and video assets from Adobe Stock. Lindsay shares her creative process.

To wrap up a great year, I wanted to utilize technology to create an eye-catching “living” holiday card. As a fashion and portrait photographer in New York City, I am always trying to find ways to create arresting imagery that stands out from all of the visual noise we are constantly bombarded with. Cinemagraphs are one such tool!

Cinemagraphs are living, moving photographs where part of the frame is still and other elements are moving endlessly on a loop. Over the past few years I’ve started offering cinemagraphs to my clients whether models, magazines, or the world most successful corporations in order to create more engaging imagery.

These living photo can be created in a few ways. First, you can capture video and then allow parts of the video to show through the still and loop. Next, you can animate elements of a still frame to create unexpected motion. Finally, you can integrate stock (or other) video footage to another dimension of movement.

For one of my cinemagraph holiday cards, I decided I wanted it to snow in my studio and on my model, but to utilize Adobe Stock footage of falling snow to add this moving element.

Want to try this yourself? I’ve got 5 easy steps below.

Step 1: Develop the concept

Whenever you shoot a cinemagraph, you must first determine what will be still and what will be moving in your frame. In this case my subject would be still, and then the snowing falling in the scene added after the fact. This means I could capture a still image instead of having to shoot video using either constant lights (outdoors, in the studio) OR studio strobes.

Step 2: Integrate the snow into the scene and shoot

To make the snow more believable, you should consider adding some elements of the snow into the scene even if its added after the fact. There are several companies that sell fake snow, or in our case we used tiny shredded pieces of tissues.

Step 3: Find your stock footage

The next step is to find your stock footage. For this particular concept I needed snow falling that I would be able to loop endlessly. In other words, I didn’t want there to be too much variation in the snow fall (pretty consistent with no starts/stops). On Adobe Stock’s website I found several options with slow-falling snow in high resolution so I could have a high resolution cinemagraph that not only could be shared online, but also displayed on monitors in my studio.

Step 4: Add the snow in Photoshop

After purchasing my stock footage, I layered it onto the shot in Adobe Photoshop CC on top of the still layer. To get the snow to show up, I changed my blend mode to ‘screen’. This drops out the black background and just allows the snow and the movement to show through!

Step 5: Export as a loop

The final step of this process is to export this file as a loop. You can do so in Photoshop but I often use Cinemagraph Pro software to easily control crossfades of the loop, speed, and easy export. Doing so my file is ready to share on social media (currently you need to export as an .mp4 file to make it easiest to share).

You can watch the entire shoot and process here:

I love my holiday cards and definitely will be create more cinemagraphs in the New Year! You can see more of my existing cinemagraph work here.

Happy Holidays!

Lindsay Adler

Lindsay Adler

Lindsay Adler is a fashion and beauty photographer
renowned for her bold and graphic style. Lindsay has been
published in Marie Claire, InStyle, and Elle, and she has been
named a Canon Explorer of Light. She is the author of four
books on photography and travels internationally to teach
and speak at events and conferences.


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