San Antonio’s Samantha Hopkins takes awesome running selfies. We asked for her advice.
I do not consider myself to be a “running selfie” expert but I most certainly fall into the “mother runner with a selfie hobby” category. I believe that if I don’t have a picture of it, it did not happen. Pictures constitute proof that goes beyond my Garmin data. I take photos on most of my runs and share them on STRAVA and Instagram.
1. No sweaty hands! Wipe your hands off before grabbing your phone. This should have been obvious but I had to learn it the hard way last July. When running through Vicksburg National Military Park on vacation in Mississippi, my hand was too sweaty to firmly grasp my phone when I tried to pull it out of my flip belt. Down it went, cracking the screen. Lesson learned.
2. Take LOTS of photos, especially when in motion. One of the ten I take might be in focus. On the other hand, blurry can give you the “artistic look” without having to apply a filter or edit the picture.
3. Prop your phone up and use your self-timer. Use your water bottle, park bench, or a fire hydrant to hold your phone. I set my self-timer for a ten second delay, then take a burst of ten pictures. With the delay, I can run out a bit to make it appear that I am running in the photo. I tell myself I’m running short intervals while my paparazzi (the phone and the fire hydrant) take my picture. With the burst of ten pictures, there is sure to be one semi-decent photo in the group.
4. Take a video of yourself, if you are self-conscious about running back and forth in front of your phone using your camera’s self-timer. In a video, you can freeze frame and screen shot. This works great for jumping shots but otherwise I think it is too much work to freeze frame videos. I like bursts more.
5. Cut off your body or your head in the picture? Call it “artistic expression” and post away!
6. Vary your background and angle. Do you hold the phone in your left hand and get a background of the street? Switch hands and get a background of flora and fauna or move your left arm to show the other side of you. Do you always hold the phone up over your head and show off your awesome AMR visor? Hold the phone lower and shoot an image from the knees down to get a better view of your new kicks.
7. Vary the running pictures that you post on social media. I got into a rut where I posted pictures of just my watch face, showing my completed run and average heart rate during training for the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon. I found them interesting; however, the repetitive pictures of just my watch face were boring.
8. Use a collage app to post multiple images. Sometimes I end up with more than one image from my run that I want to share on social media, so I use a collage app. Picframe, piccollage, and picmonkey are my favorites. These do a more efficient job in “telling the story” of my run rather than posting multiple pictures on IG that someone has to swipe through.
9. Taking a running selfie during a non-goal race? Watch where the course photographers are. They just may get a shot of you looking less-than-your-best as you work to get your phone ready to take your own picture. I did not purchase this gem.
10. Look to other runners for photographic inspiration. A few runner IG accounts I enjoy are seenonmytrail, kimfrick, fueledbyfrosting, cyndieruns, adventuringrunner, and carleemcdot. Overall, though: practice, practice, practice. I am still learning. Just like we do fartleks, tempo runs, and long slow runs to develop our running skills, give yourself time to develop your “running selfie” photography abilities, too.
.2 Bonus. It is okay to enjoy your experience while training hard. Finding cool photo ops can help the miles fly by or make “embracing the suck” a little more bearable.
Any other advice you’d care to add, BAMRs?