I've shot yoga for a little over two years now and it's definitely an acquired thing to cover, kind of like golf. Creating media at a yoga retreat is similar to covering other types of events except for the part where the near dead silence sets in. I'd imagine the constant sound of a shutter flicking off when everybody is in corpse pose is like a slap to the face. OK maybe not that severe, but the point is made.
So unless you're shooting in an outside/public environment the following tips to shooting should leave all your yogi subjects at least able to tolerate your presence for the most part:
- Say Hi! Introduce yourself and let them know you're there before they wonder "What are you even doing here freak?" This makes them a little more comfortable. No life stories necessary.
- Third eye perception After shooting any topic or beat for a while you get this ability to see what's going to happen before it does and heightened senses around you to know what else to look for. You can either wait to attain these superpowers OR get an agenda. Definitely helps for video to cut-on-action for compelling footage.
- Give them a way out The pressure of a camera on someone can be daunting so designate a camera free zone where people in that area won't be documented. Some people just don't want you to blow their zen or don't want pictures taken of themselves(Weird right? Thought it was the year of the 'selfie').
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- Be gone with the flash Low lighting is a yoga mood setter and makes popping the flash tempting, but also distracting. Working with different camera settings or using a fast lens should help with that obstacle. Even using a tripod or monopod and lowering shutter speed could help.
- Shutter that down The sound of a shutter is anything but peaceful. Obvious shooting in bursts multiplies the distraction. Try a longer lens to add distance from subjects or spacing out how often you click that shutter button to help.
- Get low Taking photos on the level of your subjects is necessary and gives great perspective.
- Cineyoga To get good video try capturing many different angles and shots. Looking at a shoot of one angle for an extended period of time can get boring to viewers. Also audio of the instructor verbally leading the pupils to tranquility. Dubbing it over various footage gives the piece effect.
- Mirror the yogis If the yogis are hitting faster transitions through the warrior poses or other moves this is a good opportunity to let the shutter fly and maneuver around the room. When everybody is moving the caution isn't needed. Just don't go wild and cartwheel over anybody.
- Corpse pose is no fly zone I typically stop the shutter flicking 3-5 min in to this part of session. Makes for good b-roll for video though.
It also helps to do a couple of sessions of yoga yourself so start with a mountain pose & get shooting.
I want to give the deserved credit with regard to this posting partly to http://www.langleydentalsurgeon.com. I got the idea for this as a result of I little piece I read on their site.
Posted in Photograph Post Date 09/30/2015