How To Get Great Race Photos—Guaranteed!

Always Smile for the CameraMost runners can point to a photo or two of themselves in a race in which they look absolutely horrible—they’re making a weird face, arms are flailing, feet glued to the ground, etc. (Online slideshows and Tumblr sites devoted to such images abound. I think most people are being too hard on themselves—those are some badass moments captured on film! But I digress…)

I tend to look great in my photos, and I feel pretty darn lucky about that. The cameras usually snap at just the right moment, capturing me either smiling or looking serene. And even the “bad” photos—ones where I’m looking off at something else, or my hair is a wild mess—offer a glimpse of me having a good time. My secret: I really am having a good time. (I love running, people!) Still, I’m not afraid to admit that I ham it up for the cameras, and I fully support you doing it, too. I think it’s worth the two seconds of not focusing on your pace to get a great shot. Here’s how to guarantee you’ll love your next race photo:

Step 1: Find the cameras. Be aware of your surroundings when you’re out there on the course. When you spot a photographer, get into a good position with a clear sightline (make sure you’re not directly behind another runner), and play up your form. Run “perfectly” until you’re past him.

Step 2: Make eye contact. Look directly at the camera—even if you’re not sure if the photographer is focusing on you. Those guys are usually snapping constantly, so they’re bound to get at least one shot of you in that set.

Step 3: Smile. Smile. And then, keep smiling! Because everyone looks better when they’re smiling. Plus, making your mouth turn up for those brief seconds gives takes your mind to a happy place, away from the chore your legs are currently involved in. Even a forced smile allows the good-mood endorphins to start flowing. (Fake it till you make it, right?)

What are your tricks for getting great race pics?

Advertisements

Sharks Fitness Faceoff 10K San Jose, CA Recap: Short Course, Good Photos

I almost bought the coffee mug option of this photo because it was cheaper than the downloadable file.
I almost bought the coffee mug option of this photo because it was cheaper than the downloadable file.

The inaugural Sharks Fitness Faceoff benefitting the Sharks Foundation on June 30 was a blast! I had typical pre-race jitters in the parking lot, but once the event got started I was able to relax into a steady 8:30 pace. Like any first year event, the organizers got a few things wrong. Luckily, the goals outnumbered the penalties.

GOAL: Something for everyone. The event had an activity to suit every fitness level, including 50- and 22-mile bike rides, 5 and 10K runs, a kids run around the arena, and a health festival with booths touting everything from massages to sensible footwear.

Michael K. Farrell tackled the 22-mile bike ride while I ran. Good times!
Michael K. Farrell tackled the 22-mile bike ride while I ran. Good times!

GOAL: Street closures! I love running where cars usually drive, and it was pretty awesome to take over the streets of downtown San Jose. The loop course went by the San Jose Museum of Art, offered up some challenging overpass hills along the Guadalupe Parkway and Hedding Street, and then flattened out on The Alameda and neighborhood streets back to the arena.

Hopefully they can add the missing distance onto the course for next year! (Or simply rename the event to Sharks Fitness Faceoff 6 Miler…)
Hopefully they can add the missing distance onto the course for next year! (Or simply rename the event to Sharks Fitness Faceoff 6 Miler…)

PENALTY: The 10K course was short. I was expecting a regulation 10K that morning, so when someone started their kick with more than half a mile to go (according to my Garmin) I was incredibly confused. I picked my head up to confirm that we were closer to the end than I’d realized, and kicked it into a higher gear for a speedy finish of my own. My watch reported a 5.89-mile run, and I later confirmed the truncated distance using Google maps. Such a bummer!

PENALTY: Not enough liquid at the finish. The race organizers probably weren’t expecting such a large turn out, because they ran out of Gatorade and water at the finish line very quickly. Luckily, I wasn’t too thirsty and I had a stash of water in the car.

GOAL: Great race photos! There were only a couple of photographers peppered along the backstretches of the 10K course, but I managed to smile for all of them. (Looking good in race photos seems to be my M.O!)

Have you ever noticed a course was shorter than it claimed?