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January 26, 2016

By Inner Fire Luminary: Savannah Wishart

Investing in a professional photo shoot is the perfect way to celebrate your practice. You've reached a new milestone, mastered a pose that's been on your mind for months, or you might be starting your own studio and need some beautiful images for a website. When you invest in a professional, you rise above the vanity so often found on social media and fall happily into intentional visuals made to inspire and uplift those around you.

Instead of striving to capture our “photogenic” side or perfectly nail a pose (even if for a few moments), a photographer helps us to open up, showing our imperfection. It’s this imperfection, this humility and authenticity that shows people we’re human, that helps us connects to others. A professional photographer is someone who doesn't focus on our imaginary flaws, but zooms in on the quirks that make us unique and beautiful. Rather than walking away with a few phone snapshots, you leave a shoot with a portfolio of photos and memories. As a result of creative collaboration, we let our true selves shine out, finding that the pursuit of perfection only leads to unanimous laughter.


Picture This:

You arrive to your favorite rocky mountainside, sunny beach, or a meadow of prancing grasses. As the sun peeks over the horizon, the warmth leaves soft kisses on your skin. With a deep breath of fresh air, you reach into the sky to stretch your fingers in salutation toward the sun. Each moment, each breath is captured. The moon floats slowly across the horizon, reminding you of your divine light. Wandering along trails, you reach your arms out, opening your heart to the beauty that surrounds you. Whenever you feel inspired, your fingertips brush along the leaves that line your trail. You are connected to the Divine, rooted in oneness.

Now imagine all of those moments - and more - captured in stillness; A piece of your practice forever etched into a photograph.

Here are 8 tips that will ensure that you have the best possible experience making your yoga-themed photo shoot come to life.

1. Choose your own adventure (location). Unless you want your photographer to do all the leg-work, have a location in mind. There's no issue having your photographer pick a location, but what will make the photos that much more meaningful is having the backdrop be a place that is close to your heart. If you’re going for more of a stylistic shoot, for a website or business portfolio, it’s always smart to scout out a location for your shoot before heading out. This way you can make sure that your environment matches your marketing vision.

2. Get clear on why you've booked this shoot. Are you building a portfolio as a brand ambassador? Is this only for you, as a celebration of your practice? Do you want to get creative and artsy, or are you wanting a more mainstream look? Narrowing down thewhy for your shoot will help you pick a location, clothing and overall style of the shoot.

3. Create a mood board of your expectations. Pinterest is a great tool for this. More often than not, you're reaching out to a photographer because you love their specific style. A mood board isn't always required if your photographer has an incredibly distinct style. Chances are, one of the first things you said when you contacted them was, “I just LOVE the photo where this woman is doing this on this page.” As a yogi and professional photographer, I love to send my clients vision boards of how I'm planning the shoot to go. It’s a way of brainstorming poses, background and lighting for the shoot.

Tip: Decide on your poses ahead of time and practice them. Keep in mind that your practice may change in a natural, uneven landscape. The forearm balance you can stick on a flat surface might not go over so well on top of a rock. Don't be discouraged! What I love about this is that there is always movement (you don't see much elaborate, stiff posing going on) and the body will naturally do what feels right. It becomes a dance and that will be captured on film.

4. Choose your clothing (or lack of) wisely. 
Ask yourself this: what is this shoot about?  If you're shooting for the clothing, go all out. Pull out yourFeather Leggings and"Chill and Be Still" Tank.  Mix and match. If your shoot is targeted more toward the celebration of yourself, choose less distracting patterns and softer colors like Inner Fire’sFlora Capris. Try a color palette that complements the landscape like theIsland Bliss Capris for a beachy shoot, or theMoroccan Dream Leggings for a wintery feel.

Decide if you want to get all artsy and add some movement and flow into the images. Accessorize with scarves or a flowing dress. With the right pose, the wind will wrap fabric around your luscious curves. With the right light, you'll see your silhouette beneath the fabric, adding a bit of mystery and elegance in your beautiful form. Show off the parts of your body that you love the most. Strut your stuff! If you've got awesome shoulders that support your shoulder stand, let them show. In contrast, show off a part of your body that you have a hard time loving.


    5. Choose a photographer and understand their terms. This isn't a fun step, but it’s part of the process. We're living in a digital age that makes expensive cameras are easier to come by. As a result, many people pick up a camera and call themselves as a photographer. Choose your photographer wisely. Look at reviews and testimonials, past work, and who their clients are. Be sure that you're working with a professional. If you're not sure, ask for a contract (if they are an experienced professional, the first thing they do will be to send you a contract explaining their terms, fees, and image usage).

    Before you schedule the photoshoot, understand what you are paying for (a certain number of images, time, and whether you are paying usage fees to use the photos commercially); if the photographer will use the photos in their portfolio and/or sell them to third parties (this is common, especially if you are doing a trade of photos for portfolio work); get familiar with copyright (where, when and in what context can you share the images? How do you give credit to the photographer?), etc. If you have questions, ask. If there is confusion when you get to the shoot day, both you and the photographer will be frustrated and disappointed. That's not the energy you want in your photos.  

    6. If your schedules align,meet up with your photographer to get to know each other. Connect, connect, connect! If they have a free consultation option, take advantage of that time together so that you both feel like you know each other when the day of the shoot arrives. You'll be able to relax into poses, rather than feeling put on the spot. You can also come up with a contingency plan if the weather doesn't work out.

    7. Bring your confidence and a smile! Nothing lights up a picture like a smile on your face and feeling comfortable in your own skin. If you’re feeling nervous on the day of, let your photographer know – you won’t be the first client they’ve had who’s shown up with butterflies in their stomach – and they will work to create a comfortable environment for you. This photo shoot is all about you, in the most comforting sense. Or in my own favourite words, "When you BE the light, I will SEE the light."  

    8. Speaking of light,plan your shoot around the first or last rays of sunlight. Even though this is down here at #8, this is one of the most important elements. A couple of hours before the sun sinks below the horizon will give you plenty of time to play around, hike and find tons of great locations to snap a few stills. If your shoot is in the evening, your best photos will be your last. In the morning, your best photos will likely be some of your first. Whatever you do, avoid shooting outside in the middle of the day.

    Now you're ready to go rock that awesome photo shoot! You got this, beauty.

    Bonus Tip: Every moment off your mat gives you an opportunity to bring your yoga out into the real world. When you shine your brightest, your radiance will be captured. This is so relevant whilst standing in front of a camera. And if you're intimidated, remember to smile. Come back to your breath and the photographer will do the rest.

    Check out Savannah's photos at @savannahwishart

    Savannah Wishart,

    Owner |Primal Revolutions