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The over 3000 years old Indian form of meditation Yoga is no longer a pure trend sport today. More and more people are discovering the beneficial effects of the body exercises known as yoga. They help to maintain physical and mental vitality and strength. Furthermore, they should bring body, mind and soul into harmony. The central aspects of yoga are divided into meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises) and asanas (body exercises). In yoga photography, the various asanas are used for expressive motifs.
We will show you how to use yoga poses for unique photos and how to determine the effect of the image.
Challenges in Yoga photography
Yoga is a special form of physical activity because it is directed towards our inner being. Capturing this harmony between body and mind in pictures is a special challenge for every photographer. It is mainly a matter of capturing the special mood and the associated calm in the motif and bringing it closer to the viewer.
In order to take expressive photos of various asanas, you as a photographer should deal with the topic of yoga and asanas in advance. This way you can give the model help and corrective advice if necessary. Photographer and model should also discuss beforehand which poses will be photographed. Afterwards, you can discuss together which asanas are best suited for the chosen locations. Holding the individual body exercises can be very strenuous. For this reason, the photographer and model should have enough time and patience to perform the asanas with sufficient strength and concentration.
If you are photographing in a group, it is advisable to keep as far as possible in the background and to photograph inconspicuously so as not to disturb the yogis. Introduce yourself to all the participants and tell them which goal you want to achieve with your photos. Respect that some participants may not want to be photographed.
Poses in Yoga photography
All poses of the asanas have their very specific beneficial effect on body and mind, but not all are suitable for a good photo motif. The choice of the pose should not only meet your expectations, but also the skills of your model. Especially popular motifs are asanas like tree, warrior, and lotus seat. Depending on the desired image effect, these poses are suitable for expressive yoga photos:
Power: Warrior, Shoulderstand, Headstand, Crow, Camel, Scorpion, Peacock
Sensuality: Downward-facing dog, Warrior, Dancer, Cobra, Eagle, Bow pose, Hero position
Calm: Lotus seat, Tree, Child position, Swivel seat, Toe-stand, Mountain, Butterfly
Yoga focuses on relaxation and beneficial effects. In addition, every yogi has the ambition to perform the asanas correctly. However, you should be aware that practice makes perfect and perfection is not the focus of yoga. The following always applies to every asana: Listen to your body – your well-being comes first!
Locations for Yoga photography
The choice of location influences the mood of your picture very much, but does not limit your creativity. Whether you choose wild, untouched nature, a landscaped garden, the bustling city or a lost place – every location is suitable for yoga photography. Also popular photo motifs of well-known sights can appear with an Asana in completely new light.
Photographing in nature takes up the connection with yoga and creates a sensual and calm atmosphere in the picture. Natural forms, but also elements like water, earth or light, harmonise perfectly with the asanas of your model and underline the harmony with the environment.
You will achieve a beautiful contrast if you photograph in an urban environment. The calm and contemplative charisma of the model contrasts with the artificial structures created by human hands.
Perspective in Yoga photography
The choice of perspective also influences the mood of the picture. Do you want to put the inner peace in the foreground or focus on the power of the model? Do you want to present the pose and its effect or clarify the harmony with the environment?
You can show the relaxation of yoga well with detailed pictures of your face or hands. The relaxed facial expression with closed eyes or the special posture of the fingers in the Gyan Mudra, for example, illustrate the inner peace and concentration of the yogi.
In order to express certain aspects of an asana, such as strength, calm, or sensuality, you should place the model in the centre of the picture and neglect the golden section. We recommend to take several pictures of the same subject with different details. You can then decide later which one will have a better effect. It is a good idea to take a yoga pose from eye level and frontally. This is the best way to capture the symmetry and harmony of the asana.
If you want to present the yoga pose as part of your environment, the model is no longer the focus of your shot. Whether in the golden section or centrally positioned, the yoga model is framed by the natural or urban environment. Play with the elements, such as sunlight or a waterfall, by letting them flow into the composition of the picture. The symmetry of the motif is not so important here.
If you photograph a group of yogis, you will usually not be able to depict individual yoga poses. Here the focus is on the feeling of inner peace. Vary the depth of field by decreasing the aperture value to highlight individual group members or details.
Yoga photography differs in many ways from conventional motifs. However, the central theme is always the representation of balance and harmony as fundamental aspects of yoga. Always keep this point in mind and take unique pictures that immerse the viewer in a peaceful world full of harmony and strength.