From Insta-famous yogis to month-long international retreats, it’s no doubt that the ancient practice of yoga is taking the world by storm. Whether you’re photographing yourself or others, yoga photography can be just as fun and challenging as the poses themselves. No matter if you’re working with an iPhone camera or a full-frame DSLR, here are some tips to make your yoga photography stand out.
For the most part, yoga is done on or at ground level. Many seasoned photographers will tell you to “shoot from the hip” for more appealing angles — and that’s especially relevant in yoga photography. I would even say knee-height and ground-level photos can be interesting, as well. Yoga is a practice of self-empowerment, shooting upward to create a tall, powerful subject is a great way to visually portray that feeling of growth and strength.
Use a self-timer
Taking pictures of yourself doing yoga with a camera in hand is not going to help your form — in yoga or photography. If you’re taking photos of yourself, set up your camera or smartphone on a tripod and use self-timer mode to capture yourself in the pose. Some DSLR models even have an interval timer. This setting will let you set your camera to take a picture at any time interval for as long as you like. You can do a whole sequence and never have to reset your timer!
Follow the rule of thirds
One of the beauties of yoga — besides the obvious health benefits — is the unique shapes and lines that the body creates. While the poses make for interesting subjects on their own, you can make your photos even more visually appealing by using the rule of thirds. Instead of placing your subject directly in the middle of the photo, place them on one of the lines that divide the frame into thirds. You can also use this technique for points of interest you want to emphasize, such as hands, eyes or jewelry.
Make the most of leading lines
One of my favorite parts of yoga photography is finding the lines created by the body. These leading lines give viewers an idea of where to look first and where to move their eyes. When we look at a photo, we naturally look for a subject in the foreground then move to the background from there. Leading lines will literally lead the viewer’s eyes deeper into the photo. It’s a powerful technique that can help you deepen the impact of your photo and add three-dimensional depth to your two-dimensional images.
Yoga is an intimate practice. Therefore, while it’s good to be respectful of space, you shouldn’t be afraid to zoom in and get up close and personal. Look for details like hands and eyes that can draw out an emotional connection.
Another great thing about yoga is that you can do it virtually anywhere! Take a step back and look at your environment. Is there anything you can use to your advantage that will make your yoga photography unique? Just be sure to take a quick scan of your background to be sure there aren’t any light poles or trees sticking out of the body.