Last year I was asked to photograph one of the biggest names in yoga, Tara Stiles, along with her entire team of yoga instructors, “Strala Guides.” The client, Reebok, needed head shots and epic poses to use in marketing and on their fitness community website, ReebokONE. The ReebokONE content producer, Julie Sullivan, is a real pro. We have worked together for 2 years now all throughout the country, photographing and filming the strongest, smartest and most flexible people in the Unites States. Luckily she gets it. By this I mean she understands how to collaborate with a photographer. She gives just the right amount of direction in order to get the shots she needs as well as the right amount of freedom in order to allow us to still own the shoot and create something beautiful. I was given the freedom to capture these amazing poses however I chose. In this case, since I was tasked to photograph 15 yogis in 2 hours I kept it simple and fun.
The shoot started off better than I could have asked for. Tara jumped right in first to show her guides how to pose in front of the camera and keep moving to make my job easier and to effectively get the best shots possible. Her veteran model experience was a blessing and truly showed in her elegance and fearlessness. After a quick 10 mins with Tara, the rest of the guides filed through 1 by 1. Most of them had zero experience in front of the camera. I set them up for a quick head shot but let them have free range on their “show off” poses. This was key. The photos became a team effort with a little guidance following poses by simply showing them the preview and challenging the guides to get that extra inch in the air just for a split second to get that WOW factor. One of the greatest feelings as a photographer is seeing the excitement from new talent when they see their photographs. We had so many moments when the Strala guides were vocally proud of their poses and sometimes astonished in their flexibility. Overall the shoot was a huge success. The photos were circulated on the ReebokONE site, instagram and even on the Strala website. Keeping it simple and having an open creative mind kept this shoot successful and a real collaboration.
You can see some of the crazy poses here: http://www.dozavisuals.com/reebok-strala-yoga/
I even shot a video about a typical day in Tara's life: http://www.dozavisuals.com/video/2015/1/7/a-day-in-the-life-tara-stiles