By Susanne Rieker & Heather Bonker
Whenever I talk to a potential client for a yoga website, one of the first things I ask if he or she has professional images that we can use.
I think (besides the obvious like your certification) a yoga photo shoot is the most important thing you need to get your yoga business up and rolling.
It’s more important than your logo or postcards or a fancy website design. Great pictures are the foundation for your brand and you really can’t underestimate the effect they have!
So, what are you going to do?
You can try to take some pictures by yourself, awkwardly balancing your phone with some books, set a self-timer, and then race back to the yoga mat to get into the pose. Or you can ask a friend who has a camera to take some pictures. Unless your friend is a talented photographer and a yogi, this is not what you need.
Investing in a professional photo shoot is the best way to get beautiful yoga pictures that you can use again and again.
#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.