Instagram Yoga, it’s a thing. As described by Jason Crandell (paraphrased from memory) Instagram Yoga is – “doing a pose on one side long enough to get a snapshot,” as in, it’s not really yoga. Yoga is balance, so if you attach to a shot of yourself holding an impressive pose (on your good side) for the split second it took to take the picture, then it’s not truly “yoga” in the traditional sense. But I’ve done it, it’s part of my image as a teacher, which I need as I begin to market myself to studios. This post is not about Instagram Yoga, which on the positive flip-side can be very inspiring. Rather, this post is about finding a photographer friend, relative, or hiring a professional to take photos with a more technical camera than an iphone 6.
Why? The main reason to do a photo shoot as a yoga teacher is quite simply professional. We interact and consume primarily through screens these days, and images have impact, (honestly, would you enjoy this blog post as much if it didn’t have images embedded into it?)
As a yoga teacher about to leave my teaching position here in Korea I know that I have to do a lot of self promotion in order to find teaching jobs in new cities. That self promotion involves Facebook, Instagram, this website, emails, and more. Each thing listed will inevitably have my face and yoga poses all over it.
Here are my tips for your Yoga Photo Shoot:
- Dress Modestly – All bodies are beautiful and so is self confidence, but bearing midriff and butt-cheeks can be too much for some. Remember that these photos may be used professionally, so use your judgement.
- Realistic Poses – Chose poses that you can hold comfortably. I highly doubt that a studio would interview you and request you demo your strongest, most impressive pose, but still, you need to be honest with your practice and abilities. Straying from comfortable poses to pretzely poses is for the classroom, in the roll of a student, with an experienced teacher, or your photo shoot could lead to injury.
- Find A Yoga Photographer – What? That’s a thing? Well, I’m not sure if it’s exactly a thing, but when I had my photos taken it was by my good friend, Mindy Sisco of I Write Light photography. Mindy is a fellow yoga teacher, so she knew exactly how to get my toes, elbows, and eyes in the right place at the right time for the most beautiful (if I do say so myself!) pose shots. In the past my boyfriend, a great photographer in his own right, has taken yoga pictures of me, but he couldn’t tell me when my hip was jacked up in Hasta Padangustastana because he doesn’t have the eye for it, so some photos came out unusable.
- Head Shots – Be sure to get actual head shots. A studio may want to see you bustin’ a pose, and pose shots are great for social media usage and event posters, but you’ll also want to represent yourself more professionally for the greater world that exists outside of the yoga world, because sadly we have to enter that world from time to time. A good head shot can also be used for Linkedin, other network profiles, or your non-yoga resume.
My experiences with yoga photo shoots have been nothing but fun. Whether you do it mid-cycle ride, hoping off your bike at the perfectly spotted backdrop; or hire a make-up artist, hair-stylist, and photographer to do studio shots, it’s most important to enjoy the process. Meditate on your image and how you would like to present yourself as a yoga teacher in these single frame images; almost everything when done consciously will come out better than when done in a rush. Be proud of the end result, share it, and self promote. Well thought out, professional images could get you a lot further when applying for jobs than your Instagram roll.