Gone are the days of those six pack and gym self-portraits… nowadays it’s time to say hello to the newest hot Instagram selfie: the yoga pose!
I’m sure we’ve all come across those inspiring and aspirational yoga poses that one could only ever hope to stretch or bend into. With the likes of the poses we see from Rachel Brathen and Sjana Elise it’s hard not to want to create something similar to their efforts.
When you think about it, their pics are a form of art in itself, especially when you take into account not just them, but their surrounds and how they’ve pieced the image together. Their photos aren’t about just taking a quick, pretty shot and getting lucky. It’s about knowing how to take the picture and being in that moment so it truly reflects in the image taken.
So, how exactly do you get that illusive, perfect yoga selfie? Remember, a picture tells a thousand words, so get it right the first time!
First of all you need pick a few asanas (poses) that you feel resonate with you. Whether that’s a back bend, Dancers Pose (pictured), Pigeon etc. Try to go for the elegant poses – these types of images come across in a more beautiful and aspirational way to your audience. Remember, each pose has an internal meaning. Look them up before you send out your picture.
Make sure you alignment is front of mind. So many a times I’ve seen beautiful images of girls in yoga poses, yet their alignment is not correct. Not only does this reflect badly on you to the audience, but can even send a wrong message that results in injuries (for both you and the person copying you!) If you’re not sure on your alignment, go and treat yourself to some yoga classes or buy a book on yoga how-to asanas. Even better, go and do a yoga teacher training course. There are plenty out there. I did my ‘200 hours’ Yoga Teacher Training with my yoga mentor Kate Kendall ↓ and am looking to do my ‘300 hours’ very soon.
When in your pose, relax your face muscles, relax your jaw and breathe into the pose. Close down your eyes so you can really feel what the yoga pose is giving to you. Your reader will be able to feel this too.
When in your pose stand exactly side on to camera to show the full extension of the pose you’re in.
Turn the grid on your phone or camera. This is so important as a grid helps you to measure your image. I always say go for the third rule. That means, for example, having the sky in the top third and ground in the bottom two-thirds of the image.
Don’t worry if you don’t get the shot the first time around. Take as many as you can, as you’re bound to then get a few that you will like. Professional photographers use the same rule.
Most importantly, relax and be yourself in front of the camera. This is the only way to get a great truly natural picture.
When taking images, the time of day is so, so, soooo important. Early morning sunrises and evening sunsets are just stunning but require you to be there, ready and shooting those very few minutes. Otherwise once the sun is up (morning) or setting (afternoon), there is this beautiful soft light that is so flattering on the skin. I suggest these times of day to shoot. For anything taken midday or close to either side of it, the sun is too harsh and only casts shadows on the face and body.
I always say wear figure-hugging active wear and colours that contrast (or stand out) to the backdrop you’re shooting on. So if you’re shooting a beautiful dark silhouette sunset shot on the beach as your backdrop, then go for those lighter pastel colours (whites, yellows and peaches) so you will stand out in the picture.
Black is hard to shoot in any type of lighting as you can see in the below image ↓
Clothing that is loose will not show the pose or your shape off in a flattering way. So opt for tights and singlets, bikinis or bike pants and crop tops (Chelsea & Zoe do this one well ↓)
Before you upload the image straight to social media, try to correct the colour and light of the image. You can do this easily in the Instagram tools function, or with SnapSeed (pictured below ↓). Playing with the settings here will ensure that your image will look its best. Depending on what your style is, you can easily do this in just a few swipes of their settings. For me personally, I love to play with all the settings. Again, it’s what works for you. And when you find your look and style, you should keep to it with all your images so there is a continuity through all your images.
And there you have it! Five simple and easy tips on how to take a beautiful, social media-worthy yoga photo.