Sheri Autry Couture

Behind the Scenes: Making a Cinemagraph

Sheri AutryComment

Photographer Cesar Chavez loves to push limits, experiment, and take risks. 

That’s exactly why I love working with him. If you’ve looked at the photos on my site (and I hope you have!), you’ve probably been impressed with Cesar’s approach to photographic storytelling. And have you noticed shots like this? It’s called a cinemagraph:

Cesar is taking it up a notch by producing cinemagraphs, still photographs which include a minor, repeated movement creating a visually engaging juxtaposition – a motionless still photograph except for one or two moving elements. Fun to see -- and very tricky to produce!


On a shoot last fall, Cesar was inspired by the setting to create a cinemagraph. So with his encouragement and direction, we all got involved in the art of cinemagraph production. It took creativity and ingenuity and willing hands to create the moving elements here – the model’s dress blowing and the falling rain outside. Everyone was eager to help – including models, hair and makeup artists, and me. We used trial and error to get just the right visuals that Cesar wanted, and not every attempt worked. Let’s just say there was a lot of laughter as we refined our techniques together!


While Megan took her posed position by the doorway, another model, Jasmine, manned the blow dryer, aiming it perfectly (after some practice) to create the effect of wind gently blowing the model’s dress. I had the challenge of being the “rain maker” for the shot. It took several tries for our collective efforts to meet Cesar’s direction (let’s just say he’s a perfectionist!)


Fortunately, we all work together a lot, and we are accustomed to making magic happen. Creating a cinemagraph is fun and challenging and allows our creative thinking to thrive. And that’s always a good thing!