How to take better running selfies

I enjoy taking a nicely framed photo of myself running, and I’m not apologetic about it. I like running and snapping some pics of myself doing that in nice locations is a fun add-on to my hobby.

The other day somebody asked me on Instagram how I take my photos, so I thought I’d turn the question to some of my favourite Instagram runners to see what they do. So here they are, listen and learn!

Laura Stewart – Instagram: @lauraestewart


I don’t have a willing Instagram husband so I make do with my phone and a bluetooth shutter button. I tried using a selfie stick but found it was too difficult to set up and didn’t work well with the movement of running. The pics were blurry and the weight of the phone at the end of the selfie stick while running was too wobbly!

I have a plain ol’ Android phone so it doesn’t do many camera tricks, that’s why I find the shutter button best, I can prop my phone up, get in place for the photo, and press the shutter button at the right time instead of relying on a 10 second timer. I also use the unlimited photo storage on Google plus.

For every run selfie I post I probably take at least 10 attempts (quick fire snaps, I’m not standing around at a photoshoot) they all get automatically uploaded to Google photos so I can go through and pick the best one later without worrying about storage!

Equipment wanted?: a selfie drone.


The perfect shot
Even though I just said blurry pics were annoying, I like ones that show a bit of movement, you are running after all. I definitely prefer ones that show more the scene, I want to see where you’re running!

Looking natural
To avoid a photo looking too staged (let’s be honest though all selfies are staged) I make sure to run normally. I might do some strides back and forth, but I never understand those people who look like they’re prancing, or their ponytail is going straight up like they just jumped up and down in a running-position. Have you ever tried to run like those fake-running shots? It’s ridiculous. Stop it.

Why bother?
I like taking pictures to remember the run and share my running with people who want to see it. I’ve shared a few cross country selfies (not taken during the race!) over the years and I think it helps people see all the different types of people who run.

I’m not saying I’m a unique snowflake, but I am different to the standard man-in-club-vest that seems to dominate the athletic media about cross country running and my experience has been that there are all types of people lining up at each race.  It might only get a few likes on Instagram but someone might see it and feel a bit more comfortable getting involved themselves.

Cat Simpson – Instagram: @cat_simpson

Ideally I’d get someone to take a running photo for me (not technically a selfie I know) so I don’t have to put my camera on the floor and have people asking if I dropped my phone. But otherwise I prop it on something on the floor (eg branch/rock) and either set a timer or take a high definition video and screen shot an image when my running form looks good.

The perfect shot

I think lighting is key to a good run selfie shot – if it’s too dark then motion shots end up just too blurry. I do limit myself to one or two shots on a run and would never ever ever take one during a race – that’s serious non-selfie time. Ditto a fast track session/tempo run.

I’m not as photogenic as Chan while running so avoid face-selfies. 🙂

Why bother?
For me, run selfies are more about where I’m running and trying to capture nice landscapes.

Susie Chan – Instagram: @Susie_Chan_


Sometimes it’s just as and when I see a good backdrop and I’m on the go, so I use the burst button on my phone, then pick the best shot. Other times, I will have a destination in mind, and take a bit more time with the photo. I use a timer and sometimes a fish eye lens to be fully in the shot.

Looking natural 
It’s hard as they are obviously staged. Phone on the floor shots need to be timed well. If you look too small, or are not the focal point, then the picture will not be good enough quality. If I don’t get the right shot, I won’t use something I think is not quite right.

Some days I will take heaps of photos and they just have not turned out like I imagined. One day I might show outtakes, the double chins, weird poses and very unflattering angles. For every good photo I have 10 rubbish ones.


Run interrupted
If I’m running a marathon I won’t mess around. If I’m on my run commute then sometimes I plan the selfie stop, and it can take several shots to get it right. So on those days it interrupts my run. When I run with friends, they all know that at some point I might ask the for a photo. My husband is the one who bears the brunt of it… he knows if we go out running together, I will stop for a photo at some point! Poor guy.

Why bother?
If I’m really honest, I quite like a nice non-selfie picture. However on social media people seem to like them and even expect it from me. I do enjoy the variety it has given my run commutes. I will find a new thing to photograph each morning, seek out different backdrops and routes, and have consequently explored and discovered some great places on my running. I will go an extra mile to a destination. When I look back at my photos I can remember every single run.