How to take your own running photos

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Running - King George's Park, Wandsworth

Blogging is serious business these days and a lot of bloggers go the route of getting professional photoshoots a few times a year. That gives them nice high quality images for their blog and social media but not all bloggers can afford professional photography and not all bloggers actually enjoy being in a photoshoot type of situation.

Also, professional running photos all kind of look the same. Nice, clean, super high resolution but still sort of the same…

Now if you are a food blogger, it’s so much easier to take your own photos than if you are a fitness blogger. Food doesn’t move and you can pretty much get amazing shots with just your iPhone. Fitnessy people want action shots though and my iPhone definitely cannot handle those. There is the timer option but geebuz, who’s managed to actually get a decent shot of movement this way?

I run alone so I’ve had to figure out a way to get some action shots once in a while and I thought I’d share my method.

You need: a GoPro (it’s not too late to write to Santa yet), yourself and either your phone + a photo editing app OR your computer + image editing software.

Take your own running photos

  1. Set up the GoPro in video mode
  2. Run, jump, stretch, etc. while it’s filming you
  3. Download video into your phone or computer
  4. Slowly scroll through the video and take screenshots of the best moments
  5. Edit photos with an image editing app (I use Snapseed) or software (I use Adobe Photoshop Elements). I normally just crop and amp up the colours a bit.

Things to keep in mind when taking the GoPro videos:

1. Pay attention to where the sun is shining from

The general rule is to have the sun behind the camera but I like to experiment and I find that sometimes ignoring all the rules still gives good results.

In Australia I get decent shots even when the sun is beaming straight into the camera.

Running - Canberra

And here in London, sometimes sun-in-the-camera gives a nice silhouette type of photo

Running - Wimbledon Park

2. Find an interesting background

I live in London but not in the city centre so I don’t run past the Big Ben or have other cool backdrops available for my running pics. Usually nature & interesting walls or fences or architecture will do though.

Next time you’re out running, look around and I think you’ll be surprised at how many spots you notice that would be a good backdrop for a photo.

Running - Wimbledon Common

Running - Notting Hill

Running - King George's Park

3. Experiment with angles

Sometimes you have a bench or a fence to put the camera more or less at waist height but sometimes you don’t and that’s when you can play with angles and these are actually my favourite kinds of photos.

Running - Wimbledon Common    Running - Taking the leap

Running - Wimbledon Park

4. Accept that 50% of the time you won’t get a nice clear screenshot

On some days the light is all wrong or you can’t get a good angle and your photos end up like this:

You will have MANY days like this and they used to frustrate me but I now think that a photo like this is still more authentic than what I would get out of a professional photoshoot.

So just keep experimenting and exploring your neighbourhood and let me know what you discover ;)

Do you take photos of yourself running? What are your tried and tested tips and tricks?

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      • Photographie Pro Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 18:56

        These pics made me love running. Thanks for sharing.

      • Lucy Edwards Saturday, 2 December 2017 at 17:27

        I’ve never tried this, as I’m always concerned that someone will steal my phone/camera if I leave it propped up somewhere! I know obviously I’d need to do it when no one is about, but it seems like a faff to stop mid-run. I do have a Go Pro, but it is an older model which doesn’t have a screen on the back, so I never know what the photos are like until I’ve downloaded them. Usually 99% are a blurry mess!

        • MrsB Saturday, 2 December 2017 at 17:50

          I have an old GoPro as well, Hero 4 and no screen. I like the element of a surprise when I get home and download the videos :) Half of the time nothing has worked but half of the time it has. I have thought about what if someone steals the camera but I literally just am either in the woods with nobody around or run back and forth in front of it in such close distance that I don’t think anyone could nick it. Or that’s what I’m hoping :)

      • Anna @AnnaTheApple Monday, 27 November 2017 at 16:08

        I occasionally like to do a timed thin g on my phone but mostly I can’t be bothered. It just seems like too much effort – plus I feel like a knob running past my phone propped on the floor. That said, I do take timed pics at the gym but it feels easier because you’re obviously not moving the entire time and are resting between sets. But if I do it I’ll do it at the end because I’m a stickler for interrupting my run. I might stop and do a selfie but that’s quite easy!

        • MrsB Tuesday, 28 November 2017 at 08:42

          I always find a spot where there aren’t (m)any spectators around ;) IF there are, I pretend I’m doing really short intervals. When I’m following a training plan I don’t ever stop to take photos because I have to do the runs without stopping but when I’m just running for the fun of it, I do do it.

      • Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass Monday, 27 November 2017 at 00:46

        This is SO good to know! I’ve been debating on whether to get a DSLR or iPhone 8 to get better quality photo/video, but I just read really awesome things about the GoPro Hero6.
        Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass recently posted…Half-Marathon Training Recap: Week 1 + My Thanksgiving WeekendMy Profile

        • MrsB Tuesday, 28 November 2017 at 08:43

          I want to upgrade my GoPro already but I’m going to be good and not just do it. My Hero4 is just fine and on a sunny day it takes amazing photos/videos underwater too. I have so many cool pictures of my kids mucking around in the swimming pool.

      • Tess @ FitBits Sunday, 26 November 2017 at 19:13

        ah amazing will try that, thank you! x

      • Tess @ FitBits Sunday, 26 November 2017 at 17:47

        Love this! I have a GoPro and video quality is great but screenshots are really low res for some reason, do you know if there’s a way to increase resolution?

        • MrsB Sunday, 26 November 2017 at 19:07

          If you use the GoPro app in your phone to take the screenshot, it saves a photo with 144 resolution instead of the 72 that you get from doing a screenshot just normally in your phone or in your computer. That option might help you. Although I have to say I haven’t quite figured it out yet to perfection as some days my screenshots are grainier as well and I’m not doing anything different :|