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How To Give A Great Yoga Photo


Famed yoga photographer Robert Sturman shows YogaCity NYC’s Alystyre Julian how to make holiday yoga photographs, what poses to strike, what apps to use, tips for shooting, plus cool flipagrams.

Alystyre Julian: How do you make a holiday yoga photographs as a gift?

Robert Sturman: A lot of people use my images for their holiday cards. They make fun ones. The most memorable types of photographs are the ones that are arising from the heart.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a challenging pose. It could be something very simple. Like camel pose. Where the hand is reaching towards the sky. If it’s coming from the heart, it’s a win situation.

So, things like this:

(Sturman presses his hands together in Namaste)


(places both hands over his heart, eyes closed)


(namaste over head)


(chin mudra)

all that kind of stuff, but centered-like in the heart.

Whatever’s around- -think of it like it’s a mandala and you’re at the center of it.

AJ: Iphone versus digital camera?

Sturman Girl in Museum.jpg

RS: The camera is…(picks up his iphone)…right here. This is all anyone needs. It’s an amazing tool. I can send you pictures that were done with this phone that will blow your mind. I’ve done some of my best work with the phone. The thing about it is, the light has to be right.

AJ: What apps are good for photographs?

RS: There’s Photoshop express, Snapseed, Photo toaster - there’s tons of apps that you can do wonderful things with, just look. There are built-in filters for editing on every cell phone.

AJ: Tips on how to make a good picture?

RS: One of the things that I recommend with yoga photography is to be low. Because when you’re low, you have a better chance of really seeing all the limbs - because all you’re really doing is figurative work.

If you’re low and you’re somewhat looking up, underneath the yogi, it’s going to give that person more of a chance to look more statuesque. Like a sculpture. Like a God, or like a Zeus. And that’s the beauty of it. We are that important. By isolating those moments, that’s such a beautiful gift to give to someone, where you’re actually showing them in that light.

So if they’re in an urdhva dhanurasana, and one leg is pointed to the sky, and there’s whatever background they want, if they’re low, and they put themselves in such a way where they can catch the face-and see through the leg and the arm, the more you can see in between every limb, the better of a chance it is to be a very clear readable image.

AJ: After the photo is taken, how would you suggest that someone package it, so that it’s a gift? Would you do a composite of images?

RS: It’s all digital now. People can make mugs, calendars, on sites like Vistaprint, or you can just snap away, and then run it through Applebooks and you have a beautiful book. That’s a really nice gift, with your writings about why you love the person. Or you can just do a good old-fashioned frame.

Alyre on bridge.jpg

AJ: Is there a digital flipbook?

RS: That’s an app, flipagram. You take ten pictures and put a song to it, you put ten pictures, I make them all the time.

AJ: Where can I see those?

RS: On my facebook page, the flipagram will show up on the left side in videos.

AJ: When taking a yoga photograph, how can someone train their eyes for that split second where you magically capture the person in the pose?

RS: I think you just have to be enchanted with what’s in front of you. It makes things easy because it’s so beautiful. If you just appreciate that and you love what you’re looking at, and you know a couple things about getting low and separating the body parts and making sure you see the face, then you’re going to have a really beautiful picture. Yoga is cheating.

(Both laugh)

AJ: What poses suggest the holiday theme to you?

RS: I like this pose called Honey in the Heart. Where, it’s wild thing, but instead of reachin