How To Take A Good Race Photo

Some of us are not blessed with photogenic genes. And a whole lot of us aren’t blessed with them while running.

Take runnersworld.com blogger, Mark Remy. He’s documented his “fail” rate of marathon photos starting in 2008 with this post. A year later, the curse of the bad race photo returned.

It’s spring time, which means races are starting up across the country. How is Remy taking it?

“For normal people, the harbingers of spring include the usual: green shoots, budding trees, chirping birds. Not for me. For me, I know it’s spring when I spot my first horrible race photo of the year.”

I know very few people who can pull off a race photo looking anything but a person gasping for air. I don’t have any “professional” shots of myself on the course because I’d never pay good money to see myself look bad.

I can’t tell you how many times I have smiled for the camera, only to have the jerk photographer take the shot of me right after I stopped smiling. They’re sly like that.

I will run/walk a half-marathon in less than three weeks, and I’ll be running it with a group that consists of quite a few race newbies. Being 20 weeks pregnant on that day, my expectations for a good shot are pretty low.

But, for those who will be running their first race and want good, photographic proof of it, here are some tips:

–          If you can spot the photographer ahead of time, remember to smile when you pass him or her. In fact, start smiling as soon as you spot the camera. If you wait, you can be assured they took the one shot of you wiping snot across your face. Smiling is key, here. Not forcing one will likely mean your photo will make it look like you’re the walking dead, moaning “brains” at the lense.

–          Wave if you can still lift your arm up. It makes for a cute picture. Do not, however, give the one-fingered salute, however temping as it might be.

–          If you’re running a half-marathon or longer, you’ll have plenty of time to ponder just what you’d like to do when you cross the finish line. I recommend not planning on throwing up right when you cross it – a photographer will be there to snap you picture. Common finish line photos are ones where the runner lifts her arms in the air in victory (assuming you have the strength to lift them), or if you’re running with friends, you all holding hands and lifting your arms up in victory. A fist pump is also an awesome option. Remember, gauge how much strength you have, because there’s nothing worse – and funnier looking – than a weak fist pump. If you have no juice left to lift a thing, aim for a shaky smile. It’s better than a shot of you grimacing (or heaving).

–          If you don’t trust the race photographers – and I don’t – arm a friend or family member with a camera to take some pictures. You’ll know where they will be waiting to take your picture and you can slow down and pose for those photos.

With those tips in mind, here’s how a race photo should turn out (yeah, I know I left out a bad race shot of myself… that was on purpose):


If taking a good race photo is the last thing on your mind, fine. You totally wasted your time reading this. Get out there and win your age bracket, then. For the rest of you, start practicing your poses now.

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About kareiner

I'm an active mom who loves to cook. I'm passionate about health and fitness. I'm no expert, nutritionist, personal trainer or miracle worker. I just like being active and I like good food.
This entry was posted in General Fitness, Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How To Take A Good Race Photo

  1. bearrunner says:

    Wow, I have to say, I have never saw such a nice race photo before… Usually people look half dead!
    Good work

    cheers

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