Namaste | Yoga Portraits

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A few weeks ago I posted about some work we did with the local Lululemon Athletica shop here in The Woodlands for their Ambassador program. We worked with Balazs again to create some portraits that everybody ended up very happy with, and this lead to an opened door with the store to work with some of their other ambassadors. Given that Lulu is definitely more yoga and CrossFit oriented than triathlon, we had a feeling it was going to give us some some interesting work outside of what I’m accustomed to shooting (i.e. moving athletes). Our first assignment was a few months ago to shoot Patty, a local Yogi and one hell of an athlete and ambassador here in The Woodlands at Pure Love Life.

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Again, the assignment was a little different from our normal style of shooting with lights in a highly stylized manner in order to stick to the new Lulu photo standards. We were to photograph Patty while she was teaching a class and capture some photos of her interacting with students and doing some poses herself. We found a studio, set up the class, and shot much more like wedding photographers than commercial photographers – very fly-on-the-wall and non-directive. The results were definitely interesting and non-standard for us, and you can catch the images up on the wall at Lululemon Athletica The Woodlands! … But, after watching the class I was inspired to talk to Patty some more and create some more photos at another time just to see what we could create with her athleticism and our creative eye.

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This time we had full control of the shoot – location, time of day, lighting, posing, the time we needed to shoot, and a full range of effects and ideas to create some awesome images. We found a patch of relatively green and thick grass for early-Spring in Texas with a wooded background to give that easy, somewhat serene feel to the images that goes along with the strong and peaceful calm that the sport brings with it. Patty showed up with her general awesomeness and between Patty, Sam, and myself we got to work!

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I shot the majority of the poses with a simple two-light set up using a Elinchrom Rotalux Octabox for the main light and a Large Paul C. Buff Softbox with a grid for the back light. Shooting with a sandwich lighting set up, I was able to define her poses and light her face well, while using the sun behind her as another kicker light and a motivating light for the effect I wanted. Starting tall and working our way to the ground, we shot a few standing poses for Patty to comfortable in front of the camera and us to get our lighting dialed in. She was so damn good at it that half the time I forgot to tell her she could stop posing when I went to make a small tweak and she would just keep the pose going. It’s absolutely incredible what a true yogi can do and Sam and I both were absolutely in awe of this talented lady!

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After the standing poses we moved to the ground and got some of my favorite shots of the evening. Starting on her head and moving down into some arm-hold positions, we captured the shots of the evening in the grass before moving over and using the beautiful sunset to finish off the evening with some calming poses up on a dirt bank. Using a 70-200mm lens at a 200mm focal length, I was really able to flatten the image and give the impression that Patty was up on a mountain or dirt hill in the middle of nowhere rather than a mound of dirt behind a school in The Woodlands – it’s all about perspective!

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So, with a little bit of creativity and collaboration, we were able to create some awesome images and get to very different looks from two very different shoots. One for Lulu and one for myself, you tell me which shoot you think capture Patty’s skills the best and which one conveys the yoga experience in the way you like. As always, keep the feedback and questions coming and stay tuned to the Ruddock Visuals Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for more behind the scenes and updates!

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