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Yoga Photography With Ash Dowding From Gypsy Dreams Photography

I think we can all agree that capturing the perfect yoga photo is a tough one. Your phone is balancing on a stool and five books and then you have to somehow make your way into a beautiful headstand in 10 seconds. Let’s be honest, it’s a mess.

Thankfully, there are photography angels in this world. One such angel goes by the name of Ash Dowding. Ash is the face and name behind Gypsy Dreams Photography.

Ash is one of my most loved and cherished friends and one of the best yoga photographers I know. Her passion for this art shines through her work and I am constantly blown away by the results of the projects we collaborate on.

It doesn’t matter whether you're beginning your yoga journey or have been practicing for years, we all want to capture ourselves at want point or another. And I’m here to tell you, GD is the answer.

Ash is here to tell us a bit about her photography journey and what led her to become a yoga photographer (aka yogarapher). Keep reading to find more about Ash’s yoga photography tips, what camera she shoots on, and what her editing process is.

How long have you been doing photography?

I have been doing photography for about 5 years. I did it as a hobby from 2015 to the end of 2018. I decided to shift my focus to photography full time in January 2019.

What got you into photography?

I have always had a passion for photography. I used my parents’ camera from a young age to take photos of things around the house, in the garden, and of my parents and friends.

In high school, I got my first point and shoot camera, which I took EVERYWHERE with me. I was ALWAYS the girl with a camera. In Matric, I even received the Paparazzi award.

I got my first DSLR (400D) for my 21st birthday as a joint gift from my friends and family. I used this camera for about 5 years before upgrading to the Canon 6d.

Tell me more about your photography journey.

I have always loved taking photos. My love for photography grew with my first DSLR. I used this camera to teach myself how to shoot on manual.

I watched a lot of YouTube tutorials and a ton of books, educating myself on how the camera worked. In 2015 I lived in Natures Valley. I spent time practicing all that I had learned and continued to hone my craft.

I would spend hours playing with various camera settings, shadows, and lights. I took photos of anything and everything! When I was not playing around on my camera, I would spend my time learning and exploring photoshop.

In 2016 I moved back to Johannesburg and started working an 8-5. On weekends, and when I had free time, I would take photos of things around my home or arrange fun shoots with my friends.

Over the next couple of years, I continued working an 8-5 job, but I never really felt content or happy. I always dreamed of being a professional photographer. During these years, I did the odd yoga or swimwear photoshoot for friends and their brands.

I did these photoshoots as often as possible because I was so eager to create. I have so many yogi friends so most of these ‘fun’ shoots were yoga-based. This is where my passion and love for yoga photography began.

At the end of 2018, after much consideration and budget planning, I left my job to follow my aspiration of being a photographer. I understood how tough starting a business is and how competitive the photography market is. That led to me deciding to do a number of jobs to bring in various sources of income.

In 2019, I ran the social media pages for a Johannesburg based property company and I took on a half-day au pairing job. I was extremely nervous to start up my photography business. I had all these self-limiting beliefs. However, I knew I LOVED taking photos and that's the thing that kept me going.

I had such little faith in running and owning my own business. One goal I wanted to achieve in 2019, was to get 10 paying photography jobs. I never thought that anyone would actually pay me for my photography.

By the end of 2019, I was blown away! I got far more bookings than I’d ever imagined or thought possible. 2019 was a great year for me. Not only did I start Gypsy Dreams Photography as a full-time job, but I also got married. You can call me Mrs. D now.

2020 has been somewhat strange for everyone and something that we’re still learning to navigate. Having said that, not all things are doom and gloom for GD. I have captured some really exciting and special moments this year already.

2020 has allowed for many special and wonderful moments in GD’s journey. From playing in fields of cosmos with you, Tegs, to drinking coffee and taking photos. I’ve had deep chats with a gorgeous mama-to-be and was lucky enough to photograph a beautiful and intimate elopement during this crazy pandemic. It’s been the little moments that have warmed my heart.

I have been able to create magic with familiar faces as well as so many new and wonderful ones. In between all the photos and editing, I am still ‘Nanny McPhee’.

When Mr. Ramaphosa put us in lockdown, I used this time to work on Gypsy Dreams. I spent time learning new things, I signed up for new courses, I launched my presets, I updated my website, I read books, I au paired online, and I did a lot of soul searching.

I am not sure what the future holds but I do know that I am so excited and I am forever grateful to every single person who has allowed me to create magic with them. Each one of you has helped play such a huge part in my journey of growing and learning.

What camera do you shoot on?

Canon 6D

How do you edit your photos?

I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to edit my images. I generally give each shoot its own unique approach. I feel each shoot has its own energy and its own unique feeling so I try to edit according to the feeling I get from the shoot.

What aspects of photography inspire you?

1. Playing with shadows.

2. Creating energy and feeling in still images.

(If you’re looking for a different kind of inspiration check out these motivational yoga quotes)

What do you enjoy about taking yoga pictures?

Yoga photography allows me to push my creative boundaries. I love the shapes the body makes and I find such art in creating photos with the forms and movements.

Do you have any yoga photography tips?

To take the best yoga pics, try not to use the yoga mat in the photos unless of course, you have to.

What are your plans Gypsy Dreams Photography?

I have many exciting things coming and I cannot wait to share them with you, but for now, I plan to keep growing my knowledge and practice in photography so that I can continue to create more magic.

Where can people contact you?

Catch up with me on:

● Instagram: @gypsydreamsphotography

● Facebook: @gypsydreamsphotographysa

If you enjoyed reading this you can catch up with more yoga articles on my blog page.

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