Resolving to Take Better Yoga Photos in 2014 - Breathing Space

We know that pictures sell. Why? People need a story and a visual is extremely helpful in telling a story. This picture tells a story:Jump - Yoga Camp 2013

Kids and parents can identify with the participants in this photo. When combined with others of camp, they get a sense of what their day would be like and are more comfortable signing up.

Sadly, we don’t have good pictures of most of our other classes. We have a a couple shots Hill Center took ages ago, a few of our toddler classes, and little to nothing of our adult, prenatal, family or mommy & me classes.  Consequently, I’m stuck using the same images over and over again or shopping stock image sites looking for something to tell our story and the options are not good.

Our story: The story I want to tell is one of a welcoming, down-to-earth yoga community with classes for all ages and stages, grounded in solid yoga alignment principles, with instructors who understand modern family and professional life and don’t take themselves too seriously.

Stock image photographers are not yoga instructors and it’s not clear from the photos that their models have ever taken a class. I often find photos with the following challenges to telling the story I want:

  • inappropriate wardrobe;

Man meditating in a suit.Woman doing pilates  Girl in traditional Indian costume

(Suits, costumes, wearing sneakers – which used to be nearly all stock photos tagged “yoga” –
and that doesn’t even begin to address the common lack-of-wardrobe issue.)

  • pregnant women all dressed only in sports bras and stretchy pants (no one ever comes to class dressed that way, btw);

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(yep, and, ya know, fruit.)

  • questionable, sometimes dangerous, alignment or poses that do not reflect anything I want to see you doing in class;

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(When actually I went looking, I didn’t find as much crazy alignment as I feel like I find when I’m not looking for it.  But I suspect our lady in pink may not be protecting her hip or low back in this pose and I guarantee that mom’s back is going to hurt after locking her knees and picking up such a big baby with her back muscles.)


(I like our couple above except for the two really common warrior 2 misalignments any beginners class instructor would address – shoulders should be over hips for both and front knee should be over ankle for the gentleman.)


(This is actually a lovely pose – wardrobe issues notwithstanding – but clearly of an advanced practitioner and not something you will see in our weekly prenatal classes.)

(Please don’t; and where is her forehead?)

6a00d8341c638753ef019b03f85877970d(I promise NOT to teach this pose to your 5 year old.)

  • completly unrealistic  families all wearing white and practicing on a white rug;

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(there are hundreds like this)

  • photos that are just plain strange;

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(again with the fruit?)

  • and actually really nice photos in settings that I can’t use.

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(next time we do a family or women’s beach retreat . . . .)

All of these photos and lots more really good shots without watermarks can be downloaded at

Now, in reality, stock photos have improved enormously even within the last year, but they still lack that real-people-in-a-real-place aspect I’m going for. So, if you see my camera or a photographer in class, you know why.


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