How to take an amazing race photo

This is where you jump in. No, really. How do you do it?

Here’s one from Sunday:


As good as it gets


I can guarantee you are not seeing what I did when I first looked at this photo. But then I told myself to shut up because I refuse to allow a photograph to diminish the experience. So I kept looking until I could see something different.

Yep, my face is red. Because I’m working really hard. Really, really hard.

Yep, I’m staring at the ground. Because I’m doing something I’ve never done before. (And I’m trying not to fall on my ass or lose a shoe.)

I giggled at my hair (not because my piggy buns are crooked) but the fact that my hair grows out of my head almost black and then gets very auburn. To think of all the time I wasted coloring my hair red in high school. Side note: I’m in love with that headband!

I ran with wider elbows that usual because there was a lot of semi-lateral movement. Once again, I was trying to avoid falling. Embarrassment was not the issue, pain was. It also appears that I’m really twisting from the hips. I don’t know if that is because this was taken just before finishing the race and I’m exhausted, because I was back in the deep mud or something completely different. Twisting is definitely not part of my regular running form.

I’m not wearing any knee sleeves. This is the cherry on top of the icing on my cake that is trail running.

Best of all,  after staring at this picture on and off for the 40 minutes it has taken me to write the post, I’ve come to love it.

Is there a secret to taking a good race photo? Looking at the camera and smiling certainly go a long way. But it’s even more important to remember that a picture is quite literally a snapshot in time. A fraction of a second. Too short for the human eye to recognize. A photograph is not an opportunity to pick yourself apart. It’s a tool to bring up the memory from the recesses of your brain. Does this shot look like it belongs in a magazine spread? Hell no. But that top used to cling to my tummy, and I think my legs look awesome.

The real secret? Perspective.

How do you feel about your race photos (or photos in general)?


14 thoughts on “How to take an amazing race photo

  1. I love this photo! You look like a woman on a mission… Going hard and it looks like a slight smile betraying that you’re having fun. Yay! Also? Yes, you totally look like you’re trail running. And isn’t that the point?

  2. In keeping with my sexy leg theme today I have to say this… You have got some smoke’n hot legs there missy! Then paired with that shmexy hair, I would have just tackled you then and there in the mud!

  3. I think the photo’s great! And woohoo for not needing your knee brace!!

    I was happy that I managed to get several good photos from my first marathon. But I was also trying to be aware of my surroundings and keep my eye out for upcoming photographers, because I really wanted to get some good photos from my first marathon.

    But just the flipside of that is why I love this photo of you. It’s just you in your pure element, doing your thing, not trying to make silly smiley faces for the camera. Very emotional, very raw, very awesome!

    • I’m definitely more aware of my surroundings on the road. I’d assume that the more trails I run, the more comfortable I’ll get with actually looking up.

      And thank you. 🙂

  4. I wish race photographers would have a sign that says “photorapher on left ahead” so I could at least not be taking my hat off or unzipping my jacket when they snap my picture. I get so overheated and red when I run, your face doesn’t look red at all to me. And I agree on your legs-lovely and lean!

  5. If I have ever ended up in a race photo in my three wee races to date I have no idea how to find them. But now I’m curious! (and I vote for warning signs too.)

    I LOVE your photo. You look fantastic and focused on where your feet are being planted (which frankly seems smart to me for trail running, no?) And I extra love all of the things you discovered about yourself in your photo.

    Isn’t it amazing how perspective is the magic key to SO many things? Love this. LOVE you.

    • The race site usually posts a link within a few days. And yes, I was concentrating very hard on not breaking an ankle in that stuff. It was like a cartoon when the character walks in wet cement… Completely awesome.

      LOVE you.

  6. This is a great race picture! Mine always look like I’m trying really hard to hide my exertion for the camera, and failing very much at doing it.

    This one makes me want to go out and run a race!

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