Sure, you run races to beat your personal record or maybe even to win the whole damn thing. But it doesn’t hurt to look amazing in your race photos while you’re at it. After all, discomfort is temporary, but pics are forever.
Of course, anyone who has run their share of races knows that it’s easy to end up with pictures that look…er…let’s just say “interesting.”
While you’re probably not going to look as awesome as you do when you’re freshly showered and not pushing your body to the limit, it is possible to get great race photos, says Mike Skelps, race photographer and owner of Capstone Photography.
He offers up his tips for snagging race photos you’ll actually want to buy (and not burn):
Spot the Photographer
Your odds of looking great go way up if you know when you’re being shot. Photographers usually wear some kind of bright clothing (Skelps says his photogs wear tie-dyed shirts) and are usually stationed in later portions of the race, when runners are more likely to be spread out.
Running with a friend? Try to cozy up to each other when you’re in the photographer zone. If you’re too spread out, there’s a chance that the focus can be off on one of you. “We tend to sell a lot of photos of pairs,” says Skelps.
Smile (If That’s Your Thing)
Remember “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy” below? “We love to see people who look happy and feel happy,” says Skelps, adding that smiling pics sell well. Of course, you might prefer to just look strong and serious, which is totally cool, too. Just think about how you want to come across before you get to the photographer so you’re not captured with some kind of weird hybrid serious-happy expression.
Think, ‘Shoulders Back, Chin Up’
Sure, posture isn’t exactly your top priority during a race, but you can probably straighten up for a few seconds before going back to your comfortable slouch. “And definitely keep your chin up,” says Skelps.
Run Through the Shot
If you want to pose, that’s fine (hey, it’s your photo!), but Skelps says most of the best shots are ones that people run through, looking natural.
Don’t Blow Your Nose
…at least not in front of the photographer, if you can help it. Skelps says they regularly see people throwing up, looking dead tired, or blowing their schnoz. “It can’t always be helped, and we don’t try to capture things that fall into this category,” he says.
Work Your Race Bib
Is it annoying? Totally, but your race bib means photographers can properly ID you…and you can find your killer pics later. Make sure it’s front and center, instead of covered by your shirt or in your pocket.
And finally, just have fun with it. Says Skelps: “The more natural and candid, the better.”
Run the Women’s Health RUN 10 FEED 10 Race in New York City on September 20—or take part in one of our other runs around the country, or even sign up to run your own 10-K! You’ll feed 10 hungry people in your neighborhood just by signing up.