Yoga photography is a really interesting subgenre of sports photography because how different yoga is to a traditional sport. Inhabiting a meditation space between actual meditation and athleticism, yoga allows you, the photographer, a lot of creative control when you are planning your compositions and exposures. Whether you are photographing a yoga workout of women, men, athletes or whomever, the same yoga photography rules apply in 2020.
Because of the accessibility of yoga, you are able to use a variety of locations and poses for some really intense and amazing exposures. Let’s look at some different ways you can better, or begin, as a yoga photographer.
1. Using a low perspective can make for interesting yoga photos
Low perspective allows the body of the person performing yoga to be really accentuated and feel grand. Using a lower perspective also allow you to put more focus on the person, as the majority of your photo can be dominated by nothing.
A composition like this allows for a more minimal look, which isn’t a bad thing. Try some lower perspectives, especially for the more intense or harder looking positions, as these can be when you put focus on the person as the subject, rather than the location.
2. Take a breath, and your time
One of the best parts of photographing yoga is that you can take your time with everything. As long as you have the time to work with your model, you can plan out each shot and get it as perfect as you can in camera. This makes your photo editing process simple, and allows you to really work at making something creative that both you and your model can enjoy.
Don’t rush through the process and miss out on key poses that your model really wanted to showcase. It can take a while for someone doing yoga to really get into their rhythm and present you with the best shots, so take a breath, and take your time.
3. Make the ordinary interesting
Not every yoga photography shot has to be in an incredible location with the most ridiculous poses. You can do a lot with a basic yoga poses and the proper framing and vision. For example, the yoga photo above uses the architecture of the building, good framing of the space, well thought out dimensions, and a lot of muted earth tones to really set itself apart.
It isn’t the most interesting shot, but I do find it quite pleasing, especially because of the colors. It might just be filler from a session, but the boring photos can still be rather interesting; and good.
4. Take advantage of specific yoga lighting
There are times when you can really take advantage of natural light, and yoga lends itself incredibly well to this. Silhouettes cast from traditional yoga poses are incredibly interesting, so even boring typical silhouette shots can really shine. Using the sun and other natural elements with yoga photography allows for a lot of creativity with very meager technological necessities.
Take your time and wait for the light to make your shot work, it’s both incredibly rewarding and can really brighten up your yoga photography portfolio. This delicate nature also applies to mature boudoir photography (see our guide here).
5. Experiment with longer exposures
Yoga photography tips generally focuses on a lot of different styles of shot, and you can get even more creative with some long exposures. Long exposures in populated areas can allow you to really isolate the sensation of doing yoga, while long exposures with someone holding a position can also make very interesting photos, like the one above.
You can take this even further and isolate different positions by adding light. Out in the daylight, the use of a neutral density filter and allow you to take several seconds to several minute exposures. With a talented enough model, you can get amazing results with longer exposures.
Outside of long exposures, it’s important to know that yoga differs from traditional action photography in terms of shutter speed. Because the positions are generally held longer, you can shoot at a typical 1/125th or 1/250th of a second without worrying about blur. Make sure to double check your exposures, though!
6. Try some deeper depth of fields
It’s easy for a photographer to dial in to f/2.8 and start taking photos. Especially if you’re jumping in to yoga photography from something like portraiture. Take a breath, and think to yourself what changing your aperture can do for the images you are shooting.
With the myriad of interesting background you can incorporate into your yoga photography, shooting at a wide aperture can really waste a tremendous scene. Stop down that aperture and see what shots you can make.
7. Let your yoga models help you
You probably don’t know too much about yoga, especially compared to an actual practitioner. Let your model help you with your shots.
Make sure that, when you photograph a specific position, the angle is good and the position looks like it should. Work with your model to ensure that the photos you take display their level of skill and passion, and that both of you are happy with the results.
8. Locations matter – a lot
Locations really do matter for most photography, but for yoga, they matter more than normal. The thing is that a lot of yoga photography can get repetitive if you aren’t trying something new. Outside of being out of the box with your compositions and exposures, you can try different locations and vary the other parameters of your photography as well.
Certainly, some images and brazen compositions look fantastic, but if you never take the typical photos, and people don’t see that you can, you might run into people thinking you don’t actually know how to take a normal photo.
9. Keep it clean
Not every shot needs to be minimalist, but typically, you want yoga to be pretty clean. This can range from a blank canvas of a sky, as seen in the image above, or a luxurious location, just make sure that all the different parts of your image are clean. Specifically, pay a lot of attention to the clothing worn by the model, as well as their mat if they are using one.
You want to make sure that your model is lint free, as well as make sure that the fabric is clean and that any ripples or bends within it are intentional.
Shooting models wearing athletic clothing makes this easier, but even then, you want to make sure that nothing is rolled up or down or worn incorrectly. Take the time to make sure you don’t have to scrap an image or have repeated headaches while editing the images you take.
10. Variety is the spice of life!
When building up a portfolio of yoga images, make sure you are keeping things varied. While you can delve into a particularly nuanced area of yoga photography, having a stock of images that show professional level shots in a relatively wide range allows you to show you both respect yoga and the practitioners of it, and display your own creativity and the thought you put in to the creation of all these images.
3 Must Watch Yoga Photography Videos:
Not all budding yoga photographers can jump into yoga photography with a few written tips, and that’s totally fine! There is some incredible yoga photography and yoga photo shoot content out there. We scoured YouTube and hand picked the 3 most awesome yoga photography videos that can help any yoga photographer ramp up their talents;
1) Yoga Photoshoot – Behind the Scenes
Andrew Prod gives us an inside look on what it means to conduct a photo shoot with a yogi. This yoga photo shoot was conducted with mostly natural light and no flash.
2) How I Take My instagram Photos
Famous yoga Instagrammer Sjana Elise gives some insider tips on how to become a well known Instagram yoga influencer, and how she takes her stunning yoga photos. She has a huge Instagram network, so her yoga photography tips are definitely worth taking into serious consideration!
3) Take BETTER Yoga Photos TODAY:
The people behind Breathe & Flow show us how to stop wasting time thinking and to get outside and start taking pics with your camera. Yoga photography has many levels to it, but the first and most important step is to star photographing.
Featured yoga photograph image: https://unsplash.com/photos/pFyKRmDiWEA