It seems a lot of you want to know how to take a running selfie, I get asked about it frequently. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I routinely post photos of me running, and most of them have been taken on a solo run. I never thought about taking a running selfie until I followed Susie Chan on Instagram, but have yet to master her fabulous ponytail swish. It’s taken me a while to work out how to capture a good running shot; and I’m not ashamed to say that I love taking them.
Just to give you an idea, below is my first attempt at a running selfie. Before this, selfies were the classic “hold the phone in the air and smile” job. This was the first time I placed my phone somewhere, set the timer, and ran. It’s not great, you can almost see up my nose, but at the time I was delighted. It was certainly the start of a beautiful relationship!
As so many of you have asked me for my running selfie tips, here’s my step-by-step guide on how to take awesome photos of yourself while running, even if you run alone. (I feel like I’m giving away a MASSIVE secret, but it’s really easy, I promise.)
All you really need is your phone. Once I got into taking running photos, I purchased this mini tripod from Amazon for about £10.
The only feature I looked for was flexible, bendy legs. This allows you to wrap it around fence posts, hanging branches, and so on. I only take my tripod with me if I’m going for a long run as I can pop it in my hydration pack. Otherwise I make do with just my phone.
Yep, I’m stating the obvious here. If I’m doing an out and back route, I clock different places to stop for running photos on the outward stretch and usually take them on the return journey. Otherwise I stop when I’m somewhere pretty, interesting, or where there’s a good place to put my phone or tripod. While a good backdrop helps, you need to find somewhere to prop up your phone. This could be rocks, styles, window sills, benches, etc. I would advise against propping your phone on anything with water below. The last thing you want is your phone to take a swim.
Before I balance my phone, I open up the camera and set the timer. I generally go for the 10 second option. The advantage of using the timer is that it gives you a burst of 10 shots. This is great for running photos. You get 10 different pictures for the price of one. Once in place I touch the screen to make sure the camera focuses on where I think I’ll be running or standing.
RUNNING SELFIE TIME
This is the fun bit – taking a running selfie needn’t be serious business.
Think about what you’re trying to capture. Are you wanting to showcase the backdrop of your run? Or are you after a jubilant “I’ve finished my run” shot? There are so many options, I encourage you to play around and have fun. I take anywhere between 1 and 4 sets of photos each time I go running. You never know how they’re going to work out and there is an element of trial and error. If you’re shy about showing your face, you can run away from the camera, or focus on your body. Obviously you can run towards the camera too, or aim for a side on perspective. Just remember to smile!
If it’s hard to find somewhere to prop your phone up at the right level, think about alternatives. Some runners take a picture of their legs and trainers, while others achieve amazing angles and perspectives (check out Pocoybien on Instagram). There’s no reason why you can’t kneel down and do your laces up, or be sitting and having some water. Similarly, you could lean in towards the camera. You don’t have to be running in all your running photos.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES
Once I’m home and in the bath, I go through my camera roll and choose which photos to keep. (Remember what I said about keeping your phone away from water!) Out of each burst of 10 photos, I usually keep 2 or 3 and delete about 30. If I’m undecided, I’ll save more than I need and choose later on, when I want to use them. The next thing I do is edit them. I straighten all my photos – I can’t be doing with slanting sea horizons (it actually drives me nuts). If you balance you phone on something, it’s inevitable your photos won’t be straight. If you have an iPhone, go to Photos > edit > select the square in the bottom left of the screen. It will straighten your photo automatically.
From here, if I want to use a running selfie on instagram or in a blog post, I edit them some more in VSCO. Depending on the light, I usually lower the exposure and contrast, sharpen, and crop to make it square. I’m a fan of the J1 filter, and tend to apply this at about 70%. And there you are, running selfie complete.
For me, a running selfie isn’t about looking super polished (as you can tell). I like my running selfies to capture where I’ve run and the type of run I’ve had. There’s so much joy in documenting your runs too. Why wouldn’t you want a photographic record of all the training you’ve done and effort you’ve put it?
Just a word of warning though, once you start, they’re a little addictive!
Do come and join me on Instagram and show me your running selfies. I’d love to see them!
In case you like my kit: Tights – Adidas, Tech Tee – Asics, Shoes – Inov8, Shorts – Nike.
You can find all sorts of other Running related chats on Penny’s Lane here.