July 6, 2022

Tips for Better Running Photos

If you’re a runner, chances are, you love to share your adventures on Instagram (follow me here by the way… @jeannineavelino). If you’re a solo runner, it takes practice, skill, and luck to take some awesome photos of yourself on the run. I wanted to share some of my tips to help up your photo game.

My Equipment

  • iPhone 7 – My current phone, this is what I use most of the time (no wide lens).
  • Hitcase Crio with super wide lens – I don’t bring this all the time, only when I want to take nice landscape shots. Usually when I go trail running. This lens is so wide that it has that bubble distortion. It’s definitely not for everyday use.
  • iPhone 6 with Hitcase Snap and wide lens – This is my backup phone that dies in extreme cold or heat. If it does work, I love it. This wide lens is more versatile to use in everyday situations and is great for taking large group selfies as well.

How to Take Better Running Photos

Video and Screen Capture Method

This is how I take photos of myself.¬†Find a quiet area where you are comfortable leaving your phone on the ground for a few seconds. (Please don’t let someone steal your phone. I’m not liable for that :P) Lean your phone camera against something stable and hit the record button. Run back and forth in front of the camera, further away from the camera and again a little closer. If you have room, run away from the camera and towards it as well. In this short span, you could easily screen grab a bunch of different angles. While viewing it in your photo album, make sure the video is paused so you can easily go frame by frame. Screen capture the frame where your posture looks the best. All the photos in this post were taken using this method.

Find the light

Light > Camera > You — This will ensure your face is lit.

Camera > You > Light — This will get you a silhouette shot.

It depends on what you are going for. I, for one, love silhouette shots as well.

Find an interesting backdrop

The view can make or break your photo. That’s why I love running along the seawall or in the trails.

It can be a challenge to take unique photos in an urban setting. Experiment with different angles and your surroundings. This wall here curved so I was able to lean my phone on that and I ran, not along the curved wall, but perpendicular to my phone. I liked the effect.

This is why it’s easier on the trails. I went on a trail clinic on this same route one day and I vowed to come back and take a photo on this berm. Thankfully there were no bikers on the trail that day so I didn’t get run over on the 2 or 3 times that I ran this section.

Use the stairs

Stairs are great for photos. I like the Rogers Arena stairs. When there’s no event, it’s practically deserted. Lots of different angles to try and if you have a wider lens, you can get your whole body in the frame too.

Edit your Photos

Filters are super simple but sometimes your photos look great enough already that all they need is a little tweaking. What I usually adjust are brightness, contrast, saturation, highlights and shadows (as necessary), maybe a little sharpening. Sometimes I like to add a little vignetting too (darkened border). I also use an app called VSCO to edit before I post to Instagram. It really just depends on what mood you are going for.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset


Change it up with some posed shots. Using the video/screenshot method, find a cool backdrop and look away or smile at the camera. Hold your pose for a couple seconds before switching to another if you want. I know it will probably look silly but remember, it’s a video. You don’t need to hold the pose for long since you’re grabbing 1 frame.

Get a friend to take it!

A perk of running with friends or having someone on the sidelines waiting for you is personal running photos. You can always return the favour.

Photo by Carmen Marin
Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Hope that helps with your running photography skills. Do you have tricks up your sleeve too? Share them with me in the comments below! Happy running!

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