Strike a Pose

This is going to be one of the more ridiculous, borderline narcissistic and probably the most useful post I will write this year...

How to look great in yoga pictures.

Before we dive in, I feel it important to first touch on the polarizing yoga selfie conversation. If you can't tell - I am a big fan of Instagram. I'm constantly inspired by the pictures out there. My piece is that as long as your intention is good, it's all gravy. People can smell fakeness or ego a mile away. Keep your shit in check. Also, remember that I'm coming at you from Miami, where whether you like it or not - books are judged by their cover. Why not give yourself a better cover if you have the ability to do so?

In this digital era, the reality is that as a yoga teacher (or fitness professional in general), you need pictures to promote your classes and workshops. The more you promote, the more pictures you'll need and it gets pricey to have a professional photog snap a shot every time you require a new image. At the very least, you'll need a great headshot. So let's dive in.

1. Learn how to smile. Don't be shy here - have a friend help you or take a bunch (read: tens or hundreds) of selfies to find out your best smile. For your mouth smile... are you better with the mouth closed? Showing teeth? Half-smile? Find your signature smile. And then move up the cabeza to learn how to smile with your eyes - smizing as Tyra calls it - or maybe you're better with squinching (yes - this is a real thing) - where you lift up the lower lid to sort of half-squint your eyes, conveying confidence. Booyah.

Smizing and squinching selfie with a fake laugh - and showing my personality with jewelry, tattoo, etc. Good lighting helps too.

Smizing and squinching selfie with a fake laugh - and showing my personality with jewelry, tattoo, etc. Good lighting helps too.

2. Show your face! Poses are rad but we want to connect with your face. That's where we understand your personality best. Are you most photogenic at an angle, profile or straight on? I'm generally my most photogenic straight on smiling with my mouth open and my eyes looking slightly away. Yes, that's how technical this is. 

3. Fake laugh. This is my #1 secret for head shots. My friends love this one and always joke with me about it but it works! Photographers may try to make you smile or laugh but often times you're preoccupied with other stuff (like holding side plank while sucking your stomach in)... So you'll need to take matters into your own hands. Teach yourself how fake laugh. Take a deep breath in and then say ha! from your belly. Keep saying ha! and literally make yourself laugh while curling the corners of your mouth up into a smile. Fake it 'til you make it and once you make it - the result is an authentic smile, which makes for an inviting picture. Students want to come to classes where they feel welcome, accepted and their teacher is a nice person. Show them who you are in your pictures.

4. For pose pics: don't overcomplicate it. The simplest poses are usually the best. If you can do eka pada koundinyasana II, that's rad. But chances are you are going to look strained and not nearly as good as you envisioned. Bummer, right? I remember my very first yoga photo shoot, thinking I was gonna look soooo awesome in astavakrasana. HA. Lesson: an open pose is usually best, you'll look taller, longer and more elegant. Think dancer's pose, high lunges, seated with legs extended - anything with arms or legs long translates into a good photo.

Dancer's pose - open, elongated, classic. Professional photo taken by my fave Matt Roy (www.mattroyphotography.com)

Dancer's pose - open, elongated, classic. Professional photo taken by my fave Matt Roy (www.mattroyphotography.com)

5. Screenshot yoga videos. This is the life hack of the century, Can never get your inversion picture just right? Take a video and screenshot it. GAME CHANGER.

An example of a screenshot of a video. The quality isn't great but the idea gets conveyed.

An example of a screenshot of a video. The quality isn't great but the idea gets conveyed.

And finally... show your personal style. Do you wear lots of jewelry? Bright colors? Always wear your hair a certain way? Do that in your pics. A photo is a just another way to express your beliefs and your presence. People will connect with you in a more real way when you show them your real self. Don't be ashamed to be who you are. Someone out there will love it. xo, Amy

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