Kansas City

Emily Darling

Emily Darling

Kansas City, Missouri. A year ago I did a photo shoot for my friend (almost a niece*) Emily Darling who owns, runs and teaches at Darling Yoga.

Emily is the real deal: a spectacular yoga teacher and practitioner with an open, warm heart and gentle touch. She really is a special person.

What’s interesting about Emily is that it’s almost impossible to tease apart how beautiful she is from how beautiful she is. That’s how beautiful she is.

I took hundreds of images of the various teachers and classes at Darling Yoga and I’m still working on processing them. I posted about the shoot here.

*Emily is my wife’s first husband David Darling’s niece and I knew her mother Pam professionally before I met my own wife. Small world.

Darling Yoga photo shoot

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Kansas City, Missouri. Back in May I was asked by Emily Darling, a well known yogi and yoga teacher (and Anne’s niece from her first marriage) to come to her new studio and do some photography for their web site and for print. We were not after studio shots of poses; we were after "art shots" that channeled something about the experience of doing yoga.

I took thousands of RAW images (1000s) and in the process learned how much I didn’t know about event photography (yes, a class is more like an event than a studio setup). Still, I was able to give them hundreds of interesting images that they have used since then in their email newsletters and in print. I’m not finished processing these images yet (sigh).

It’s quite a challenge to be a photographer inside a large, intense yoga class. I was on guard against making people feel self-conscious (teachers as well as students) and it was tough to shoot in the space without catching odd light from one of the walls that is a floor to ceiling window or catching things hanging from the walls.

If I could do it again I’d have a second 5D body, an 85mm f/1.2 lens to kill backgrounds, a 70-200 f/2.8 IS lens to better frame mid-range shots, and a wider prime (24mm L) as well as larger CF cards. My 300mm f/4 ended up being extremely useful for shooting across the room and compressing and so isolating subjects.

The room has a mirror and after I realized I couldn’t get rid of it I learned to make use of it as in this image of Kori leading a class. Yes, I realize I cut her feet off (mistake) but I like the shot anyway as it was my first good use of the mirror.

I’ll be posting many more of these images over time as I’d like to show off the incredible women yoga teachers and the wonderful students at Darling Yoga, their energy and enthusiasm was contagious and I hope they enjoyed working with me as much as I enjoyed working with them.

Kori at the mirror

I caught Kori with her back to the mirror warming up before teaching a class. I don’t know the name of this pose or even if it is a pose (she may have been on the way to a pose) but I think I captured her intense energy, concentration, and strength. The mirror, which I thought might be a problem initially turned into something interesting to make use of.

Kori teaching and in the zone

It was a challenge to isolate people and blur the various elements in the studio. Once you let go of capturing whole poses and just concentrate on pieces of bodies showing smaller details things get a bit easier. Here I caught the concentration in Kori’s face as she demonstrates a side angle pose. Cutting her hands off (ouch) was a mistake but the shot captured what I wanted so I kept it.