Most of us have done it — we find ourselves somewhere magical and beautiful and think, OMG this would be the perfect place to snap some gorgeous yoga pictures! It’s easy to strike a pose and set your camera on auto timer — but there’s so much more to your next Instagram post than a pretty picture. It’s important to always think of your Instagram, or any other social platform you use, as a reflection of your “personal brand,” especially if you are a practicing teacher and you use social media to communicate with potential students/clients (and if you don’t… you should really think about starting!). A few things to keep in mind before even striking a pose are:
- Lighting. It can make or break your photo. If you don’t have a professional camera, good lighting does wonders. Aim for sunlight shining from behind the camera rather than coming from behind you, unless you are aiming for a sunset silhouette photo, which is an entirely different beast altogether. If it’s overcast, that’s even better; overcast softens harsh shadows that direct sunlight can cast on your face.
- Variety. Use the nature around you to your advantage! Rocks, trees, the backdrop…anything that can make your photo more dynamic. See the rule of thirds to help you with this.
- Objective. Before you even take the photo, identify what purpose you’re aiming to achieve. Joy, gratitude, awe, strength? Does your facial expression convey the same emotion as your pose? Use your caption to drive home your intention as well
As for the poses themselves, there’s plenty to choose from, such as headstands or lunges, but the problem is choosing one that complements your surroundings. Take corpse pose for example. It’s one of my favorites, but it’s not a pose I find particularly eye-catching on camera.
So what poses will translate into good photos? Flow with what you know best, but if you need a little inspiration, check out these 15 poses below!
- 1. Handstand
- 2. Lotus
- 3. Warrior 2
- 4. Tiger Pose
- 5. Crane Pose
- 6. King Pigeon Pose
- 7. Shoulder Stand
- 8. Extended Side Angle Pose
- 9. Tree Pose
- 10. Dancer
- 11. Boat Pose
- 12. Wheel Pose
- 13. Splits
- 14. Triangle Pose
- 15. Eagle Pose
- 5 TIPS FOR A GREAT YOGA PHOTO SHOOT
- #1 Just do it and book a professional yoga photo shoot
- #2 Use a photographer who’s also a yogi for your photo shoot
- #3 Prepare for your yoga photo shoot
- #4 Accessorize for your yoga photo shoot
- #5 Have fun!
- 10 Tips that will help you prepare a yoga photo session
- Yoga for Beginners: 10 Basic Poses (Asanas) to Get You Started
- Here are a few basic Yoga asanas that can help you get started:
Handstands (and all inversions, really) feels and looks rewarding. Great for demonstrating strength and focus.
The simplicity of lotus pose creates peaceful, tranquil and effortless opportunities for photography.
3. Warrior 2
As with most of the basic poses, stretching into warrior 2 feels comfortable, and looks powerful. It’s quick, straightforward and easy to capture in a hurry.
4. Tiger Pose
Tiger pose works well with a lower angle to capture your silhouette amongst the landscape in your background.
5. Crane Pose
Crane pose is one of those gravity-defying poses that just looks graceful!
6. King Pigeon Pose
King pigeon looks phenomenal from every angle, and you can find creative uses for your hands as well.
7. Shoulder Stand
Just like handstands, shoulder stands are delicious for their unique photo-appeal.
8. Extended Side Angle Pose
Extended side angle poses are nice in that they allow you to open up your body and take up space. It’s considerably more eye-catching in settings that are simpler or minimalistic.
9. Tree Pose
Stand tall, breathe in and relax for photos in tree pose. Tree pose is another one of those power poses that really catches the eye.
Dancer pose is probably one of the most notable poses among Instagram stars. The way it allows your body to balance and open up at the same time creates really mesmerizing photos.
11. Boat Pose
Boat pose is another one that’s quick to get into if you’re hiking on the go or moving from one spot to another.
12. Wheel Pose
As you can see, wheel pose is great for long distance shots.
Splits lengthen your body and can be very versatile. Convey a variety of emotions, like the one above: so playful!
14. Triangle Pose
Open up to the world in triangle pose, which looks both delicate and powerful at the same time.
15. Eagle Pose
Eagle pose not only looks lovely, but depending on the angle and composition, can make for an expressive shot and stunning illusion.
Try these poses out and take to Instagram to let us know how they turn out! You can find us at @yoga_lifestyles, where we post users just like y ou every day. Tag us for a chance to be featured on our page! on Instagram and tag us for a chance to be featured.
5 TIPS FOR A GREAT YOGA PHOTO SHOOT
#1 Just do it and book a professional yoga photo shoot
My number one tip for a yoga photo shoot is to just do it! So many yogis are intimidated to be in front of the camera or are waiting for their practice to be “even deeper” when in reality the energy they transmit from being themselves is way more important than being one more centimeter deeper in their back bends. Of course, some poses showing off strength, balance, flexibility etc. can be beautiful, but even the simplest of poses can translate into a wonderful image. So, my advice would be to make it happen and book your yoga photo shoot as soon as reasonably possible!
#2 Use a photographer who’s also a yogi for your photo shoot
If one has the opportunity to pick a yoga photographer, then that’s highly recommended so that they can guide you with accurate suggestions. I’ve heard from many who’ve used talented professional photographers from other specialties, but when they got the photos back they cringed that their alignment was off and/or the pose just didn’t look right. If you don’t have a photographer that specializes in yoga photography, then at the very least bring along a good yoga friend that can be behind the photographer for some guidance.
#3 Prepare for your yoga photo shoot
A professional yoga photo shoot can be a big investment and to get the most out of it, you need to prepare.
Collect examples of pictures that you like (both for general aesthetics and for specific poses) and share them with your photographer. A great start is this Pinterest board I created and where I collected my favorite yoga shoots as inspiration!
Think what yoga poses you want to do. And select poses that are reasonable for your current yoga practice/body. One thing I would like to add here: make a list and have it with you on the shoot. It’s amazing how blank your mind can get when you have to think of another yoga pose to try on the fly…
Then consider what you are going to use the images for. For example, for a website you might need some header images, a portrait photo for your contact page and some more photos of you doing yoga for your about page. Header images are normally much wider than the normal photo format and you’ll need to be able to cut your images at the top and or bottom. This is something that you need to communicate top your photographer and maybe even share some examples.
Even though it’s a yoga shoot, be sure to ask the photographer to get some head shots in there. You’ll be able to use them for example on your contact page, to share when you’re guest blogging or on your social media profiles.
#4 Accessorize for your yoga photo shoot
Bring different outfits and use other images that you like as a reference for what you think looks good. Typically form fitting clothing looks better than loose and baggy since you’ll lose shape in poses and look much larger than you are. Consider accessorizing more than you normally do and again refer to the images you like and see what others are wearing.
Even if you don’t wear make-up normally, consider getting a professional to do your make up. If that’s beyond your budget then still be sure to spend some time doing your make-up. And yes, it should be heavier than your everyday make-up since the camera tends to wash the face out.
#5 Have fun!
Have fun on your yoga photo shoot! Once you get shooting it’s likely the time will be gone before you know it and you’ll want to keep shooting for longer and wondering what all the nervous fuss was about.
Thank you Heather for your great tips! I can’t recommend her highly enough. Please check out her website or visit her on Instagram:
Looking for more inspiration? Check out my board full of yoga photo shoot inspiration on Pinterest.
10 Tips that will help you prepare a yoga photo session
Rating: 0 based on 0 Ratings Jan 10, 2020 By Sara Rodriguez Martinez 10 Tips that will help you prepare a yoga photo session www.sleeklens.com
Yoga is an ancient eastern discipline that is getting more popular every day in western countries. Yoga combines physical, mental and spiritual practices that help to improve the well-being of the practitioner. My personal story with yoga started four years ago when I decided to take some classes. It was a life-changing experience, not just because of the benefits I got for my mind and body, but also for my career as a photographer. A friend that is a yoga professional asked me to take photos of her in different yoga postures (called asanas) because she needed them for her social media channels and accounts (to promote herself). This is how I got into yoga photography… and I love it!
My friend Nita was the one who asked me to do my first yoga photo session. This photo was taken at our last photo shoot in Barcelona.
If you also want to get into yoga photography, first of all, you need to know how to get ready for the photo sessions. Most of the preparations I do for this type of sessions are the same as for another kind of portrait photography. You might be interested in checking my “A How-To Guide on organizing a portrait photo session” to learn in more detail how to get ready. However, there are some special things in yoga photo sessions that are handy to know beforehand.
#1 Get inspiration from yogis on social media
Some yoga professionals have a great social media presence. You can find them on Facebook, Periscope and of course…Instagram! In my opinion, Instagram is one of the best sources for yoga photography inspiration. If you follow some of the great yogis you will have an idea of the trends in the field. The list of yoga professionals you can find on Instagram is endless. Some of my favorite accounts: kinoyoga, yoga_girl, beachyogagirl, nolatrees, carlingnicole, patrickbeach, dylanwerneryoga. And last but not least, the Instagram of my dear yogi friends: reinodenita and lilatotheworld.
Ask your yoga model if she/he has something in mind. Probably she/he is also following other yogis and can provide you a list of asanas she/he would like to try. However, do your own search to increase the variety of options.
#2 Get familiar with the asana’s names
Asana is the name that yoga postures receive. They have names in Sanskrit, such as “Urdhva Mukha Svanasana”. But don’t worry. You won’t need to learn Sanskrit to be a yoga photographer. All the postures have translated names in English. For example “Urdhva Mukha Svanasana” is also known as “Upward-Facing Dog”. Easier, right?
This is how the asana “Upward-Facing Dog” looks like.
You will get familiar with these names while you are doing your inspirational searches. You can also make yourself a list of names with the corresponding asana posture and take it with you to the photo session. Having an idea about yoga terminology will make it easier for you and your model to communicate and convey your ideas during the session.
#3 Divide the asanas by categories
If you take the list of postures with you to the photo session (like I do), you should have them classified in a way that makes sense to you. This will help you to be more efficient. To find an asana in a big list can get really complicated, especially when your model is waiting for you to tell him or her what to do next! I usually divided them by standing positions, sitting, inversions, bridges, arm balances and so on
#4 Take photos from all the asana categories
Having the asanas organized in several categories has another advantage: you can make sure that you pick asanas belonging to each category and be certain that you have a good variety of photos. Your yogi model would love to have such a variety of photos!
Diversity is always good in a yoga photo session and one way to achieve it is by taking photos of asanas from different categories: standing, bridges, and arm balances are just some examples.
#5 Get close
The whole body is included in the asanas. However, getting close to your model and take photos of just specific body parts can add new perspectives to your images. Hands, feet, back… play with your close ups and you will be surprised by your results!
Feet are a photogenic subject in yoga photography.
#6 Clothes matters
Yoga is not about fancy clothes. However, clothes are important for the photo session. First of all, having several outfits will add variety to the photo session, so it is always a good idea. It is also possible that your model is promoting some brand. You should make sure to get photos of all the clothes he/she is interested to be photographed in. In any case, you should include time for changing outfits when you plan the schedule of the photo session. You should also think how/where the yogi model will change the outfits. The solution for this will depend on the location of the photo shoot; if it is held in an urban environment maybe you should contact a local clothing store and ask permission to use their changing rooms if it is held outdoors perhaps you should bring with you a tent…
I also recommend you to tell your models to choose the outfit wisely, especially the underwear. They are going to be moving all the time and sometimes they are going to be upside down. They need outfits that stay perfect in all these different positions. Also, the last thing you want in your photos is underwear coming out. Or if it does…it needs to be a beautiful one! If you don’t want to spend hours on Photoshop retouching clothes, take care of these details during the photo session.
Underwear might show up especially when the model is upside down. Here you don’t see it because I clone it out using Photoshop. You can save a lot of editing time by taking care of the clothing during the photo session.
#7 Give the model time to warm up
Yoga asanas are demanding. It is dangerous for the model to start with the yoga positions without warming up. Make sure they have enough time to do it in order to avoid injuries right before or even during the photo session. You should also make sure your model doesn’t get cold during the photo session, especially in between postures. Remember, for them, it is also a workout, they sweat, and between postures they can cold really fast!
Sun salutation is the name given to a sequence of postures that yogis often do at the beginning of the practice to warm up. Here one of the asanas that belong to this sequence.
#8 Decide when to do the complicated postures
Some asanas are more demanding than others for the models. It is always good to ask them when they prefer to do them. Some yogis prefer to do the hardest positions at the beginning of the photo session because it is when they feel fresher and stronger. Other prefers to leave them to the end either because they need to warm up and stretch first, or because after these hard asanas they won’t be able to do anything else. You need to adjust the photo session to their body requirements.
No doubt this is a quite demanding posture!!
#9 Never push your client to do something (even if it seems easy)
Some asanas might seem easy when you look from the side, but they are not. In these cases, it is especially easy for you and/or for your model to get carried away in an attempt to get the perfect photo. You mustn’t let your model lose the awareness of their body and their limitations! If they push themselves too far it can end in serious injury. Be respectful and if they tell you that they can’t do something (even if it seems easy to you), believe them. The safety of your model is the most important thing, not the photos. Anyway, there are tons of other asanas, all of them are beautiful!
This posture might seem easy but can end up in a back injury
#10 Go to a yoga class before the photo session to get a feeling
Participate in a yoga session! I’m not telling you to become a yogi now (it is entirely your decision), but yoga is easily available for everybody and there are a lot of yoga studios everywhere. You should attend a class in order to get the yoga feeling and understand where your model comes from and what he/she has to deal with. This will make you a much more empathetic photographer. It is always a good thing to improve the model-photographer relation!
I hope these tips will help you on organizing your yoga photo sessions. Feel free to contact me with any question you might have. I will be happy to help you! I would like to thank all my yogi models for giving me the chance to become a yoga photographer! Nita, Ashley, Ami and Inna… you are amazing! Namaste!
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I am a biologist and a self-taught photographer based in Barcelona (Catalonia). Buddhist philosophy has a strong influence on me: I have a deep appreciation to life and I give a huge value to the little things that makes our days happier. I became a passionate about photography when I got my first camera and I understood that photography allows me to express my way of approaching life. I love learning so I am always willing to trying new things. These days I am shooting mostly nature and portraits.
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Yoga for Beginners: 10 Basic Poses (Asanas) to Get You Started
Being a beginner isn’t easy but my first yoga class was enough to make me a regular on the mat. Half an hour into the session, I’d fallen four of times, felt sweaty and had almost made up my mind – not to give in. Every pose made me challenge my physical endurance and flexibility and I seemed to enjoy that, albeit gradually. While I moved through a progression of yoga asana from Surya Namaskar to Naukasana, all muscles in my body were engaged. Working my limbs, shoulders stretched, twisting my torso. I juggled between maintaining postures and attempting to breathe the right way. I had already dreamt of the hot bath or oil massage that I’ll head for but there was no need to. I felt light, relaxed and a sense of relief took over. Here’s me telling you about yoga for beginners.
Some will tell you that yoga exercise is too slow and boring instead it is an intense and holistic exercise. This ancient form of fitness with roots in India focuses on developing balance, strength and flexibility. Don’t let anyone misguide you as these are all consequences of practicing yoga and not prerequisites. No one expects you to master the asanas on the very first day. Yoga is all about pushing past your body’s limits over time. To begin, it’s helpful to keep the following things in mind, suggests Zubin Atré, founder of AtréYoga Studio in New Delhi.
- If you have a history of a chronic disease or are recovering from an injury, consult your physician before commencing. Let your yoga teacher know of any injuries or pains.
- Do what you easily can. There is no competition. You are expected to move at your own pace. Listen to your body and do not push yourself.
- Many benefits of the yoga practice will unfold progressively. Be regular in your practice and don’t give up because you can’t touch your toes in the first go.
- Don’t get discouraged by the initial lack of flexibility or strength, it improves over time. Be patient and give your body the time to respond.
- Focus on the breath, right from the beginning.
- Understand that every body is unique. Everyone has different levels of strength, stamina, and flexibility. Your lifestyle and goals may also vary. Find a style of yoga that suits your needs.
Your yoga practice can do much more than lend muscle power and reduce stress. A study conducted at University of Illinois indicates that short 20-minute sessions of yoga can help your brain work better and keep your mind focused. A lot depends on the kind of asanas you perform – some of them are energizing like back bends while forward bends have a calming effect. Standing asanas build stamina and balancing asanas cultivate concentration. Twists will help you detoxify the body and release tension. If you’re new to yoga, start with these basic asanas.
“Each pose can be held for 3 to 5 long breaths. You can practice these twice a week and gradually make it a part of your daily routine,” recommeds Zubin.
Here are a few basic Yoga asanas that can help you get started:
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
This pose teaches one to stand with majestic steadiness like a mountain. The word ‘Tada’ means a mountain, that’s where the name comes from. It involves the major groups of muscles and improves focus and concentration. It is the starting position for all the other asanas.
Stand with your heels slightly apart and hang your arms besides the torso. Gently lift and spread your toes and the balls of your feet, then lay them softly down on the floor. Balance your body weight on your feet. Lift your ankles and firm your thigh muscles while rotating them inwards. As you inhale, elongate your torso and when you exhale release your shoulder blades away from your head. Broaden your collarbone and elongate your neck. Your ears, shoulders, hips and ankles should all be in one line. You can check your alignment by standing against the wall initially. You can even raise your hands and stretch them. Breathe easy.
Yoga poses: This pose teaches one to stand with majestic steadiness like a mountain
2. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
This pose gives you a sense of grounding. It improves your balance and strengthens your legs and back. It replicates the steady stance of a tree. Place your right foot high up on your left thigh. The sole of the foot should be flat and placed firmly. Keep your left leg straight and find your balance. While inhaling, raise your arms over your head and bring your palms together. Ensure that your spine is straight and take a few deep breaths. Slowly exhale, bring your hands down and release your right leg. Back in the standing position repeat the same with the other leg.
Yoga poses: This pose gives you a sense of grounding
3. Adho Mukho Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
This pose stretches hamstrings, chest and lengthens the spine, providing additional blood flow to the head. It is will leave you feeling energized. Sit on your heels, stretch your arms forward on the mat and lower your head. Form a table, like pushing your hands, strengthening your legs and slowly raising your hips. Press your heels down, let your head hand freely and tighten your waist.
Yoga asanas: This pose stretches hamstrings, chest and lengthens the spine
4. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
It stretches the legs and torso, mobilizes the hips and promotes deep breathing, leaving one with enlivening effects. Stand with your feet wide apart. Stretch your right foot out (90 degrees) while keeping the leg closer to the torso. Keep your feet pressed against the ground and balance your weight equally on both feet. Inhale and as you exhale bend your right arm and make it touch the ground while your left arm goes up. Keep your waist straight. Ensure that your body is bent sideways and not forward or backwards. Stretch as much as you can while taking long, deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Yoga poses: It stretches the legs and torso, mobilizes the hips and promotes deep breathing
5. Kursiasana (Chair Pose)
An intensely powerful pose, this one strengthens the muscles of the legs and arms. It builds your willpower and has an energizing effect on the body and mind. Stand straight with your feet slightly apart. Stretch your arms but don’t bend your elbow. Inhale and bend your knees, pushing your pelvis down like you are sitting on chair. Keep your hands parallel to the ground and back straight. Take deep breaths. Bend gradually but make sure your knees don’t go beyond your toes.
Yoga Poses: An intensely powerful pose, this one strengthens the muscles of the legs and arms
6. Naukasana (Boat Pose)
It tightens the abdominal muscles and strengthens shoulders and upper back. It leaves the practitioner with a sense of stability. Lie back on the mat with your feet together and hands by your side. Take a deep breath and while exhaling gently lift your chest and feet off the ground. Stretch your hands in the direction of your feet. Your eyes, fingers and toes should be in one line. Hold till you feel some tension in your navel area as your abdominal muscles begin to contract. As you exhale, come back to the ground and relax.
Yoga asanas: It tightens the abdominal muscles and strengthens shoulders and upper back
7. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
This one will strengthen the lower back muscles while cushioning the spine, triceps and opens the chest to promote the inhalations. It also makes the spine flexible.
Lie on your stomach with your feet together and toes flat. Place your hands downwards below your shoulders on the mat, lift your waist and raise your head while inhaling in. Pull your torso back with the support of your hands. Keep your elbows straight and make sure you put equal pressure on both palms. Tilt your head back and make sure your shoulders are away from your ears. Exhale while coming back to the ground.
Yoga asanas: This one will strengthen the lower back muscles while cushioning the spine
This asana helps in improving the flexibility of the hamstrings and hips and lengthens the spine. Sit up with your back straight and toes pointing outwards. Breathe in and raise your hands over your head and stretch. Now, while breathing out bring your hands down and bend then forward to touch your legs. Place your hands wherever they reach, hold your toes if you can but don’t force yourself. Breathe in and elongate your spine. While breathing out, keep your navel close to your knees.
Yoga asanas: This asana helps in improving the flexibility of the hamstrings and hips
9. Child’s Pose
This restful posture helps let go and surrender. It restores vitality physically, mentally and emotionally. Insert the pose between challenging asanas, and practice with closed eyes, listening to the sound of your breath. Bend your knees and sit on your heels. Keep your hips on your heels. Lower your head on the mat and bring your hands forward by your side. Press your thighs against your chest and breathe lightly.
Yoga asanas: This restful posture helps let go and surrender
CommentsSukhasna is a comfortable position for pranayama and meditation. It gives the practitioner a centering effect. All the other asnas are done to eventually make the body feel comfortable to be able to sit in this position for meditation. This asna takes the yoga practice beyond its physical dimension and helps you get in touch with your spiritual side. Sit comfortably on the mat with crossed legs (left leg tugged inside the right thigh and right leg tugged inside the left thigh). Keep spine straight. Place your hands on your knees. You can use the Jnana mudra or Chin mudra. Relax your body and breathe gently.
Yoga asanas: Sukhasna is a comfortable position for pranayama