Cinemagraphs, as we mentioned during our first blog post for the month, are a relatively new photo/video hybrid form of digital art. These images incorporate loops of subtle motion that play seamlessly while the rest of the image is still.

This new medium combines video with beautiful, high-resolution images to capture and tell the story of a single moment in time in a way that still photography can’t.

What are Cinemagraphs?

While cinemagraphs may seem similar to GIFs, they are slight differences. Although both contain a loop of motion, cinemagraphs are a medium onto themselves whereas a GIF is a file format. Cinemagraphs first came into being during the 2011 New York Fashion Week. Photographers Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg crafted and shared a series of moving photos they captured during and leading up to the events, and just like that — a brand new medium was born.

How to Make a Cinemagraph?

You can make cinemagraphs in Photoshop, and there are apps you can use if you’re not familiar with Adobe’s Creative Suite.

We used Cinemagraph Pro to try making our own cinemagraph. The program is intuitive and user-friendly, but as of the original publication date of this blog post, the app is pretty expensive to buy (the annual subscription price for the Professional version is $199.99 and $299.99 for the Business version). So… we just took the app for a test drive. Here’s a quick video that shows the program’s capabilities and process for creating a cinemagraph.

Tips to Keep in Mind

Whether you’re using an app or Photoshop, here are a couple of things to keep in mind for creating a cinemagraph:

  1. Cinemagraphs are made from a video file, so you’ll need a camera that records video.
  2. Because you want to capture one specific movement for your cinemagraph, you need to use a tripod to keep your camera as still as possible.
  3. As mentioned above, you need a subject that has continuous movement so you can loop the footage for your cinemagraph.
  4. The motion needs to end in the same place that it begins. In Photoshop, the end frame needs to be the same as the beginning frame. Be sure to capture extra footage before and after the main movement so you can capture and loop the full movement.
  5. The shorter you can make your cinemagraph, the better. If your video file is too large, it’ll take longer to load on your website or on social.