Hadouken-ing Third Grade Photo Project

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Another grade school photo project – literally jumping on the Hadouken-ing internet meme. Featuring Mrs. Polanco’s Third Grade Class.

Last week photographer Shaun Lang and I took on my son’s third-grade class to see if we could make some fun Hadouken-ing images and teach them a little about digital advertising and photography.

Hadouken (translated from Japanese as “surge fist”), is a special punch in the game Street Fighter. Hadouken-ing began with Japanese girls in their school uniforms, posing for super hero-like frozen action shots, and is now taking place at this moment all over the planet on Twitter and on Instagram.


Our original plan was to shoot the entire class of 25 in a semi-circle that we marked within the crop of the 28 mm lens. This was way too many people, so we cut it in half. Then we divided the class in two and took a bunch of group jumping shots.

We used a tripod and two strobes to help add some light to the faces. Every kid individually got to do a “Hadouken” pose, to later be added later to one of the jumping shots. We even pulled off a few shots (like this one of Miles blasting me over the volleyball net) 100% in camera.



Finally, we shot some additional foreground and panorama so we could make it epic. This is my sixth grade school photo project, and once again, the kids really brought it. Their high energy really translates well in these shots. And it didn’t hurt at all to have some cheerleader moms to help get everyone to jump on three.


Today I visited the class to share final artwork via a big screen Keynote projection. I showed each step of the process, from concepting, casting, pre-pro, shooting, choosing film, compositing images, and final color. Each student was given an archival poster print of themselves with a “Hadouken!” graphic.


If you are looking for the rest of the images, there are several versions for you to choose from. Feel free to download and share with your friends and family. Share some with me while you’re at it.

Hadoukening Image Downloads

Did you enjoy this photo project?


  1. These are phenomenal! I LOVE them! So glad I could be a part of this project. Thanks!

  2. Once again, COOLEST dad in school!

  3. FUN! great job, Nels

  4. well done, man. very cool. best Hadouken photos out there!

  5. Love the one Mason brought home. Thanks for doing that!!!

  6. I’ve really enjoyed all your photo projects you have done with your kids classes. I’m just bummed my kid is a year older then yours

  7. This was so much fun and the photos are amazing…thank you, Nels and Shaun! You are two very talented guys!

  8. really great

  9. Can’t wait to see your 7th project. Miles and Lars are a couple of lucky kids to have a Dad who shows great interest in their school days.

  10. I LOVE THIS!!

  11. These are so great! Thank you Nels and Shaun for taking the time to do this great project for our kid’s class. I loved being a part of it.

  12. Great job, Nels. I enjoyed looking at all of them, and that one with you and Miles is really cute!

  13. That’s so awesome Nels!

  14. Very well done Nels!

  15. Awesome! When are you publishing the book?

  16. It’s Fabulous!

  17. Great!

  18. Adam does that at home all time. I get really annoyed when he levitates the stove. Seems like a fire hazard to me.

  19. Freaktastic…Thanks Nels!!

  20. Your class project idea this year is really clever. I bet the kids really had a lot of fun doing the jumping. I remember you and John jumping over the couch. Bet you could not do that today. I couldn’t get six inches off the ground.

    • Of course I can still jump over the couch. Did you not see my massive vertical air?!?

  21. Thank you, Nels! This is so cute.

  22. I just saw your Hadouken project.. SO AWESOME!!!!! Great job my friend!

  23. These are really great!!! Amazing job.

  24. Much appreciation, these photos are awesome!! – Valentina’s mom.

  25. Very cool

  26. Way to go! All schools should be doing stuff like this!

  27. Awesome

  28. Cool!

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