It’s no secret I like to take pictures and video of my yoga practice. It’s not vanity. I don’t do it to show off. I do it to learn.
Pictures of my practice have helped me evolve at a much quicker rate than I would have without the use of a camera. I don’t always have the camera going while I practice, but when I do check in, the feedback I receive from the video, or the still shot I take from the video, tells me where I might have started to go a bit deeper, or where I still need to work. The yoga picture can help me put together what’s missing from the posture, or what is yet to be developed.
Also, when I go back to yoga pictures from years and years ago, I can see how much my practice has changed and evolved over time. Yoga postures change in tiny ways each time your step on your mat, making it indecipherable that any change has happened at all. With the use of a camera, I can prove to myself that things have evolved and grown. It inspires me to keep going, when the yoga-blahs start to set in.
Yoga pictures are great tool. And, you should use them, too. So, I thought I’d offer some quick tips on how to get awesome shots of your yoga practice that will also inform you of what to work on and where to go when it comes to your time on the mat.
I know being on camera is not something we all gravitate towards. But, embrace the awkwardness of it. It becomes easier the more you do it. Especially, if you are grabbing a shot outdoors and there are people around, just go with it. Those people probably will be inspired about what you can do and you are more than likely not going to see them again anytime soon.
Setting up your shot.
Think about the angle you would like to see your posture from. If you practice with mirrors in front of you, you are used to seeing the front plane of your posture. There could be some great information from getting a side view, an angled view, or a look at the back side. Also, if the posture is low to the ground, bring the camera lower to the ground. Purchase a phone tripod. It’s relatively cheap and can help you get rid of the frustration of having to find something to lean your phone on, while you try and record your practice. Also, you can easily manipulate the height of your camera with a tripod.
Check your lighting.
The best light for photography is a diffused light. When shooting outdoors, the best weather will be when it is slightly cloudy out, yet not raining. Avoid shooting at high noon – it causes way too many shadows. Also, whether you are taking a video or picture inside or outside, make sure the lighting is working with you instead of against you. A clearer picture will come from having the light coming from behind the camera, instead of behind you.
Go easy on yourself.
Just because you are taking a video of your practice, doesn’t mean you should start doing crazy stuff to try and get a picture that will wow everyone on the social media channels. The best yoga pictures are the ones that are the truth. I often post not-so-perfect shots of my practice because I want other yogis to understand that it’s a process, we are all working on something, and it takes time to learn and deepen our knowledge of the postures.
Be on the lookout for interesting backdrops.
It’s fun to pull out a yoga pose where it can be highlighted in a new way. Go out in nature, find a city wall with a mural on it, a cool bridge in the neighborhood, or a local garden where you can grab a shot of your practice. Some of my favorite yoga pictures were not planned, but happened when I was inspired by my surroundings. It’s a fun way to celebrate where you are in your practice and in your life and usually only takes a few moments of time to capture.
Taking photos and video of your practice has many rewards – you will gain knowledge of your practice, your postures, and of you, that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. I hope you start the camera rolling today and embrace this tool you have right at your fingertips.
Tori Hicks-Glogowski is a yoga instructor and yoga business coach and mentor for yoga teachers. She is the author of the book, "Views from the Podium: The Life & Times of a Hot Yogi," and has been writing and sharing her yoga experience for the past seven years. Find out more about Tori now.