First, there were photographs. Then, there came videos. Next up: cinemagraphs, an exciting new medium that pulls the best elements of its predecessors to advance visual storytelling in one vivid, eye-catching package. Think of them as living photos, composed like a photograph, that contain a hint of repeating, video motion. They capture and hold attention in content-heavy social media feeds and live beautifully in an auto-play, auto-loop, mobile-driven world.

While cinemagraphs made their first splash in the fashion world years ago, they now have a place in all photography categories. Whether landscape, urban, or lifestyle photographers, professionals around the world are using cinemagraphs to tell more immersive stories, grow their businesses, and stand out on social media.

At its core, a strong cinemagraph is a strong photograph; all you need to do is imagine how a subtle motion can take your composition to new heights, then hit the record button. To make things simple, Toronto startup Flixel created a tool called Cinemagraph Pro, a 2014 Apple Design Award Winner, that enables photographers to easily create cinemagraphs on macOS and iOS devices.

It takes just 3—yes, count em’, 3—tools to create cinemagraphs:

1. Digital Camera: A camera that shoots at least HD footage to ensure the best quality
2. Tripod: Cinemagraphs are based in perfectly still video shot on a stable surface. Without a tripod, you will see a shaky separation between the photo and video elements of your cinemagraph.
3. Cinemagraph Pro for macOS

On October 4th, 500px and Flixel will host the first of three 500px Classes with New Zealand-based artist and Flixel wizard Jon Kane Houldsworth. Jon is a leading cinemagraph storyteller and active Flixel community member who creates stunning nature, portrait, and product cinemagraphs for brands like Live Lokai, Woodstone Watches, and Dilmah Tea.

In 2016, Jon was selected as one of the winners of the Instagram Cannes competition for his “Water in Motion” cinemagraph entry. His work is amongst some of the best and most celebrated in the Flixel community, with many turning to Jon’s distinct talent for capturing subtle details, his visual aesthetic, and intricate cinemagraph styles for inspiration.

Cinemagraph by Jon Kane Houldsworth

If you’re ready to enter the world of cinemagraphs, join Jon Houldsworth for his 500px Class “Cinemagraphs: Intro to Moving Pictures”. He will be hosting a live webinar on October 4th at 4:00pm EST, where he will introduce you to creating and editing living photos using Cinemagraph Pro for macOS. You’ll be able to ask questions on the creative side and gain insights into how Jon uses cinemagraphs to grow his business.

500px Classes are free for 500px members with an Awesome, Pro, or Pro+ membership.

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