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How to Make GIFs

Lesson 47 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

47. How to Make GIFs

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The lesson is about creating GIFs for engagement photography and the importance of giving credit to others in the photography industry. The instructor demonstrates the process of creating a GIF using Photoshop and provides tips on how to make them shareable and tell a story.


  1. What is the instructor's view on compositing in engagement photography?

The instructor sees compositing as a simple and intermediate technique, not advanced like what Aaron Nase does.

  1. Why does the instructor emphasize the importance of giving credit to others in the photography industry?

The instructor believes that photography is a team sport and giving credit to others not only benefits them but also helps to build relationships and gain exposure for oneself.

  1. How does the instructor create a GIF using Photoshop?

The instructor loads the images into Photoshop, creates a frame animation, adjusts the timing of each frame, and then exports the GIF using the appropriate settings.

  1. Can GIFs be uploaded directly to Facebook?

No, GIFs cannot be directly uploaded to Facebook. The instructor recommends using a platform like Giphy to upload the GIF and then sharing the link on Facebook.

  1. What are some tips for creating shareable GIFs?

The instructor suggests adding a small watermark to the GIF, keeping the length of the GIF short (3-10 seconds), and telling a story with the GIF to make it more engaging.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Posing Guidance for Him


Posing Guidance for Her


Foundational Posing


Posing Touch Points


Couples Body Language


Posing Three Point Check


Posing Tips with Demo


Lesson Info

How to Make GIFs

We're gonna go through simple compositing, intermediate compositing. I don't call this stuff advanced (stumbling over words) compositing. I call advanced compositing stuff like, the stuff that Aaron Nase does, that's advanced compositing. So this is, like, really just kind of simple, intermediate stuff. And then we're gonna do some Photoshop clean-up a little bit around the edges, you know. And then we're gonna go into creating custom GIFs. So for those that have the course, this set of little instructions is kind of a quick set. We also have another one, which is how to upload and post. And we're gonna go through basically the steps on how to create the file and so forth in this little guide. It's gonna be fun. Okay, truth tangent. This is, I wanted to close us out with a little truth tangent on giving credit where credit is due. It costs you nothing and it's gonna be one of the best investments that you make in the course of your career as a photographer. Now, what I mean here is tha...

t photography is totally a team sport, right? I mean, it takes a lotta people. When it comes to engagement shoots, we have stylists, we have makeup, we have our assistants, we have all the people that are helping us across the board. When it comes to a wedding, oh my gosh, how many vendors do you have, and how often do we see our peers going on and posting images and not giving any credit to anybody that's done anything along the way? Not only is that easy to do, to give that credit, but also it's gonna benefit you. As those people see you giving them credit, they're gonna share your posts. They're gonna do all those things. And it's good etiquette. I mean, we aren't the ones that are doing all the work, but yet we can somehow make it seem that way. So along those lines, I wanna show you, like, one of my shots. This was actually a couple... If, those of you that are actually into car photography and the motion stuff, you know that there's several different little small Photoshop flaws in this that I didn't bother fixing, 'cause I'm like, hey, I'm gonna take it to 90% 'cause the clients aren't gonna notice. But yeah, the motion blur is actually added in post. If this were in real life, they would be driving into the ocean. (audience laughs) Right? Where's the road? And then you also have these little bits of blur right here. I'm like, I'm not even gonna fix that. They're not gonna tell the difference. The clients got the shot and they're like, oh my gosh, that's so cool, that's amazing. And what they wanted was this shot of us. They're like, we got a Mustang, we got this convertible, we wanna get a cool wedding shot in it. And I was like, okay, well, we were running super late, so we had to get to the venue, and I was like, why don't you just pull up to the curb facing into the ocean, and we're gonna take a quick shot, and it didn't have blur, and I'm like, I'm gonna add it in post. But this is what it took behind the scenes to do it. So there's a B1 actually adding a lotta light to them from the front, which also kinda lights up the hair, the veil a little bit. Me shooting from the back. This is my assistant Alec, who's one of our amazing photographers in studio. I don't know who this guy is. He just, like, jumped into the frame to, like, tag along. I'm just kidding. That's our... I think that's Logan, actually. I'm not sure. Anyway. Or some guy just off the street dressed in black that was like, I'm gonna be a part of this. (laughs) My last PSA. It's your duty to capture and publish all awkward poses and behind-the-scenes shenanigans to the SLR Lounge community page. This is my mission for all of you. That's our, one of our associate shooters, Andrew, as we are prepping for a first look. And if you're gonna prep for a first look, you might as well get a little bit into it, right? So he is playing the part of, oh my gosh, this is so amazing. Isn't that kinda funny? All right. Oh, this is great. This is my celebrity bride, and I'm covering so her guests can't see her, but this is my shoot-through scrim, so it gets, like, it frames my face so perfectly that it's awesome. And this is... (laughs) This is Dave, right? David Crew? Dave, who... I don't know what is on this phone, but it has to be good. (man speaks without mic) It's, like... I don't know what's going on over there, but... (audience laughs) I'm so puzzled. So when you see your partner climb up into a tree, take a crotch shot that makes it look like the leaves are covering it up so it's, you know, it's beautiful, and you can share that everywhere. And we do whatever it takes to get the shot, guys, including Alec getting down on the ground to get a shot of just the shoes. So before we jump into everything, I wanna say you can join us online, guys, at Facebook. We have this little slide here, which, all these are links, so if you have the course, you can click any of these links to take you over. But @slrlounge is the educational side. We have a really cool, fun group page that's super uplifting. We're there to help each other, there to have fun, there to remember why we got into this in the first place. You can follow us on linandjirsa. These are our Facebook and Lin and Jirsa Instagram tags, just @linandjirsa, or you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram. I haven't gotten this whole Snapchat thing yet. I'm having a hard time with the whole 10 second stuff. What is this hullabaloo? I don't know. Okay. We're ready. Let's jump over to our actual laptop and let's get into the biz. We're gonna start this off by just watching the little... We'll scrub through that GIF video, so I want you guys to see how the GIFs are shot or how we would shoot it in camera before we jump into the actual post. Okay, we're gonna do something fun with our couple. We're gonna create a little animated GIF. The way we're gonna do that is we're gonna put them in a position where they stay in about the same position. We're gonna do a little bit of silly faces. I like doing this kinda stuff. It makes something really fun for them to be able to share online via social media. It's a great little viral piece to do with your couples. It's very quick, too. So let's go ahead and find our light. I actually wanna do this, actually, let's do it right where you're at, but come off the wall, like, maybe two feet. There we go. So we can blur the wall out. I'm gonna have you guys step a little bit to the side, hold hands in the center. Perfect. Now what we're gonna do, guys, is I'm gonna have you guys do silly faces. The thing is, we're gonna change the silly face every time. So we're gonna go a little countdown. So three, two, one, silly face, okay? And we're gonna do a bunch of them. So first I want the serious. This shot, this is, like, the start of my GIF. I'll always get the serious shot first. And we're gonna actually raise the shutter right now just 'cause I wanna make sure these are all sharp, so let's go ahead and take a look. This lens is a little soft right now. Let's go to F2. Let's see this. Making sure we're still on. Perfect. Here we go, guys. Serious faces first. Serious shot. Smiling. Okay, three, two, one, goofy. Three, two, one, goofy. Three, two, one, goofy. Three, two, one, goofy. Three, two, one, go. Three, two, one, go. Three, two, one, go. Three, two, one, go. (laughs) Three, two, one, go. Three, two, one, go. Three, two, one, go. Three, two, one, go. Three, two, one, go across for a kiss in the center. Perfect. Fantastic. Okay. Let's go into post and actually make the shot now. So what we're gonna do is let's go ahead and bring up Lightroom. I'm gonna scroll down. We'll get to the composite right afterward, but since we're on the GIF roll, let's do it. And by the way, I say "ghif" and not "jiff." This is where we agree to disagree on the proper pronunciation of this word. (scoffs) Jiff. What is this, peanut butter? (audience laughs) All right, let's find our slides. There we go. So what I have done, if we check this out, I'm gonna go ahead and just flag these. So... Or show our flags. What we can do is just basically process these images real quick, and we wanna select out the images that we wanna use for our GIF. Jiff. Whatever. I think these are already actually processed, so let's just take that. I mean, we already kind of have gone over some basic raw processing, and I wanna get to our advanced stuff. So what I'm gonna do is, and you'll notice that these are indeed sharp. They just might not be loading kind of correctly on the screen, but it should be sharp now. Okay, so let's just select out several different images, and let's pick maybe this one. This is gonna be, like, one of our ending ones, or maybe starting ones. And then we're gonna pick this guy and this guy and this guy and this guy and this guy, this guy. If there's any that you don't like in there, you can leave them out, but I like most of these. We'll leave maybe that one off, this one, that one. Actually, let's leave that one. Okay. Perfect. And what we're gonna do is I'm gonna export these to my desktop, and what I will actually do in this is I'm gonna keep the export size actually fairly small just so that we can run through this a little bit on the quicker side. So what we'll do is let's export this to 650 pixels, and actually, we'll just make it 800 pixels. We'll make it 1024. I think the resolution on here is or somewhere around here. We'll make it just large enough. So I'm gonna put it on the desktop. I'm gonna put it into a subfolder. This is our GIF example. And I don't really care about the naming. All I wanna do is just make sure that this is in a JPEG, that we're maybe, like, 85% is totally fine. And we're gonna resize this on the long edge to 1000 pixels. By the way, quick note. If you have pixels dialed in here, you don't need to change your resolution, okay? Resolution goes along with it. That's just for other stuff. All right, sharpen. We'll set it to screen. That's totally fine. Okay, with those settings, let's go ahead and just export those 14 files, and it should be done in a jiffy. (laughs) Oh. I kill me. I like that I can entertain myself. Okay, let's open up Photoshop just so we can get ready. All right, so what we're gonna do is we have those exported now. They are on our desktop right here in this folder. And I'm gonna grab those. I'm gonna say File, we're gonna go to our Scripts and say Load Files into Stack. And then we just choose a folder. We're gonna choose that folder right off the desktop. By the way, there are plenty of places online like Giphy, which we're gonna show in as little bit, which can help you make your own GIFs. I'm gonna show you why I like doing it in Photoshop, because you have control, a lotta control over timings and everything like that. It's kinda cool. You can export to different sizes. You can do lots of fun things with it. So we're gonna select all of these by pressing Control or Command + A, press OK. It loads them up. You don't need to select these automatically align. I like the flip book feel of it with things moving around a little bit. I don't need it to stay static. I just want it to kind of look cool. So I'm just gonna press OK. It loads all these files, and again, it's gonna depend on the speed of your computer and the resolution of those files in terms of how quickly that will load. Speed is pretty quick since these are fairly small. Okay, let's put our history panel right there for a second. All right, let's go ahead and... That's good enough. Okay, so we have these all loaded up right here. Now what we need to do is load these, like, into basically a little Photoshop animation. How we do that is we now go to Window, and you're gonna look down right under... Where is it? Timeline, okay? Press Timeline, and instead of creating a video timeline, we're gonna flip to this to create a frame animation. All right. And then you go over to the right side. Right in this little tiny menu right here, the plate that it's, like, almost impossible to see, that little guy that's literally, like, five pixels big, you're gonna click it, and then you will press... Actually, what we're gonna do is you gotta press Create Frame Animation first. And then once you've done that, you can press this and go Make Frames from Layers. Nifty. That's kinda quick. Now we select all these frames by holding down Shift and left clicking the last frame, and I'm gonna go and just change this to .5 seconds. That's a good amount to have. And we can just test this out for a second and play it back. Cool. What I like to do typically is I like to end this on a happy note. I start it, like, on a serious or fun note, either way, so start it right there. So I'm moving these frames around by just clicking and dragging and dropping. So now when we play this back, it goes like this. So it starts on a happy note so we can see a happy face when the GIF loads, and we see a kiss when the GIF ends. Okay? I change the ending to usually two seconds, so that way it hangs on the end before closing out. The beginning is totally fine where it's at. Now with that made, we're gonna press Alt + Control + Shift + S. See, some of these things are just... There we go. I know my shortcuts. Even though it's a little off on the board. Okay, so right here, we have our image size. If you don't, if you're using full size resolution files, be sure that you change the image size here to something smaller. Otherwise you're gonna have a massive, like, 200 meg GIF, you know, when you try and put this together. Jiff, whatever. These are the options you're gonna select. So we can select GIF, Perceptual, whatever you want there. It's very, those two options, perceptual and selective, are gonna be very close to each other. But for colors, make sure that you have it all the way maxed out at 256. You want diffusion on, you want dithering on, and that's basically it, okay? So it's just a GIF setting. If you wanna save this as a preset, you can, but that's it. Now we click down here on Looping Options. Once, we change this to Forever. So that way when it loops, it keeps going and playing back over and over. Save this to your desktop. Whoop. There we go. GIF Example, final GIF. Saves out. And now when you load up a jiff, a ghif, whatever, in, like, Windows, if you just double click the image, it doesn't, nothing happens. So if you wanna get a preview of what it looks like, you open up a, like, Chrome, or open up a browser and then just go right over the GIF example and just drag and drop it right into Chrome. Cool? So that's what it actually looks like. Okay. Now what we're gonna do is if you notice when you go to Facebook, you can't actually upload GIFs to Facebook. Jiffs. I just feel weird now that I know that it's not pronounced jiff. Or, no, it is jiff. Jiffy. I just feel weird when I say ghif now. Okay, so Facebook, you're gonna go to Facebook, but the problem is that if you put a GIF into Facebook, that it doesn't actually load it as a GIF, so what we need to do is actually put it into a place online where it links to Facebook, okay? So what we're gonna do is use Giphy. It's, like, the, kinda the best place to do this. And then just type upload to bring this up. So from here, you're just gonna upload your newly created jiffghif. Jiffghif? Jiff? Desktop, we're gonna select it, GIF, GIF, okay? Now we go upload. Here's when I do a little dance. The upload dance. Okay, now it's uploaded, and what we get down here if we click on Advanced, we get all of our different links. So what you do into Facebook is you actually paste this. And we can't really go to Facebook for, you know, obvious copyright reasons and that stuff kinda. But just take this link, the Giphy link, and just paste that right into the Facebook post, and now your GIF will play online. These are fun because we actually create these for our clients when, you know, we have a lotta clients that are silly and goofy and they love these kinda things that shows off their personalities. Obviously if we're shooting, like, a couple that's a little bit more, maybe they're more mature, maybe they're not really into silly stuff, we don't really do this, but for our younger couples that are really into it and it's part of their personalities, it's fantastic, and it's one of the most shareable things that you can create. If you want when you export to that thousand pixels, put a small watermark in the corner, so that way when it exports to your GIF, you have a watermark that stays present throughout that entire little movie. And they're gonna take that and share it. Once you post it online and tag them, they're like, oh my gosh, this is so cool, and they're gonna share it all over social media. It's an easy way to get images out, create a very shareable image. The other cool thing that we like to do with GIFs is to tell a story with them. So we'll blend compositing and GIFs to actually move people through a frame and create a little story around that. That's for another time. Just ideas for y'all. Yo. Yo. (laughs) Yo. Quick question from Melissa Lockman. Do you need to take a certain amount of photos for your GIF? Do you have a predetermined amount of time you have, like, the length of it, as well? Not really. I mean, these kind of really short viral pieces, I like them to be, like, maybe three to 10 seconds tops, you know? And so that's a total of, like, maybe six to 15 frames tops just to piece it together.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Pre-Shoot Videos
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Presets Installation Guide
Gear Guide
Favorite Software
Lightroom Presets

Ratings and Reviews

CPR Photography

I think Pye Jirsa is one of the best, if not the best, instructor for photography on Creative Live. He is very personable, smart and approachable. He has a perfect blend of personality (comments, laughs, tangents..) to the amount of instruction. He asks the questions for you, because he knows you are thinking those questions right then. He's very good about identifying settings, gear, etc.. and not leaving us in the dark about how he "got the shot". He goes into great detail. His instructions flow, but are linear, which is helpful. He's very organized, and you can tell that he really put a lot of work into his presentations (slides, video, test shoots, live teaching, graphics, etc..) I have been listening to him for like 10 hours straight, and still haven't gotten tired of him. He keeps things moving, He's very funny too. Nice job, I've learned so much. :)

a Creativelive Student

This course was AMAZING. I'd say int he past year or two I've fallen into a slump. Uninspired by my surroundings and uninspired by my clients. As a result, it showed through my work. My posing suffered as well and more than a handful of times some of my shoots became more than awkward. Then I bought this course and watched most of it in the course of a day. I walked away inspired, blown away, and renewed. The next day I walked into an engagement session confident. I gave my couples a quick overview on posing and then we just had fun in front of the camera. Immediately afterwards they texted me about how amazing their shoot was and how relaxed I made them feel about posing. The photos turned out fantastic to say the least. I've since shot several more engagement sessions and each one of them has been amazing. If anything, this course should inspire photographers to think outside the box and provide you with the necessary skills to take incredible engagement photos. Thank you Pye and Creative Live! I cannot speak more highly of this course. I should also state I purchased Pye's Natural Light course on SLR Lounge: this course is a wonderful addition to that. If you already own the natural light course and are hesitant about purchasing this one, don't. Buy it and reap the benefits!


This is by far one of the best courses I have taken. Pye makes learning fun and easy to understand. I feel like I have learned so much throughout the course, that I have truly advanced my photography skills. I am so excited to get out there and try so many of the techniques that he showed. I would love to take another course of his. The pricing for the course doesn't even compare to how wonderful the education truly is, I really got more than my money's worth on this one.

Student Work