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6 Tips For Taking Photos While Running a Race

by Meghann on February 13, 2012

The best part about ordering take-out pizza from Anthony’s?

The next day leftovers for lunch.

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Derek and I ordered two large pizzas from Anthony’s last night, which ended up being too much for our ‘we’re only just a little hungry’ foursome. There was still a TON left at the end of the night and Tyler insisted that we weren’t allowed to leave unless we took some with us. FIne by us – we love pizza.

Derek took a few pieces to work with him this morning and I heated up two for lunch today.

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If there is an Anthony’s near you, allow me to recommend the cauliflower pizza. Besides having cauliflower on it, I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy in any way, but man it is good. It’s very buttery and the roasted cauliflower literally melts in your mouth.

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I paired the pizza with some microwave-wilted spinach and blue cheese

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And some surprisingly delicious Publix steam-in-a-bad edamame.

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The steam-in-a-bag edamame is a new one for me. It was actually pretty good. I was expecting it to be rubbery (there’s nothing worse than rubbery edamame), but it was perfect. Another win for Publix. ;)

6 Tips For Taking Photos While Running a Race

The truth: I’ve kinda, sorta turned into a crazy blog lady when it comes to certain aspects of my life. Running races is one of those crazy-blog-lady aspects and taking photos while running races is just an extension of that.

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Yep, I’m that runner. The one with the camera who is snapping away as she passes you by (or – more likely – that you’re passing her by).The worst part is I’ve actually fine tuned a system where I’m actually semi-good at it. Yep. Nerd.

Here are a few tips I have for other crazy-blog-peeps out there on how to take photos on race day while still nailing that PR.

1. Find a way to run with your camera that’s comfortable for YOU (before race day)

I’ve run with my camera in a spi-belt, a newton-running belt, a jacket pocket, a back pocket, and in my hands. Honestly? I’m probably most comfortable with the camera in my hands. There’s something a little nicer about just carrying something rather than having it bounce around on your back or front.

Sunday I started out with the camera in my hand, but ended up moving it to the zipper pouch of my Gracie’s Gear Sports Bra.

Gracie’s Gear Sports Bra pocket is my favorite. It’s a very secure pocket and really doesn’t bounce around that much. My only concern with keeping anything in the pocket is sweat. I’ve drowned a phone before while storing it in my sports bra (not in the Gracie’s Gear pocket) and have a fear of the same thing happening again with other electronics. Luckily, yesterday was a cold day and I didn’t sweat as much as I usually do.

Also, the sports bra was very easy to pull the camera in and out of without having to tug at a belt of out-of-reach pocket. <- huge plus!

2. Get a secure grip.

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When my camera is in my hand, I make sure the wristlet is securely wrapped around my wrist. I even involve a finger or two to make sure I don’t lose the grip.

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To keep my arms from getting tired I’ll subconsciously switch between each hand every mile or so.

3. Sports settings

If your point and shoot has a sports setting, make sure it’s set to take photos in that mode during the race. The sports setting favors a higher shutter speed, which will make it easier to capture fast-moving objects and reduce blurriness.

4. Stand still

Pictures still a little blurry? Here’s a secret – in past races I’ve stopped (for 2 seconds tops) to get a non-blurry photo. Both Savannah and Las Vegas come to mind for that. Both races I was running with other people and just held back for a milli-second to take a photo then run to catch up with my buddies. However, yesterday I got lucky with beautiful clear skies and remembered to change my settings ahead of time.

5. Take several photos at once

Yesterday I took a few photos at the very beginning

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One photo at the 10k mark.

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And a few at the pier.

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I took my camera out a total of three times during the race, but it looked like I had it out a lot more since I took different angles and spread the photos through the post. The tip here is to take different angles, so it looks like a different spot on the course and just take photos of the things that are worth remembering. I took the 10k photo when I realized I was about to mid-race PR and wanted to capture the moment. I took the pier photos because it was just too beautiful not to share. The view was amazing.

6. Don’t let the photos control your race

Racing is fun. Taking photos is fun. But the minute taking photos becomes a big ball of stress – stop. Don’t let the frustration of multiple blurry photos ruin your race.

Yes, I pulled the camera out during my race, but taking photos wasn’t the biggest concern on my mind – racing was. If I didn’t have any race goals, I’m sure I would taken more photos, but achieving my goal was more important to me than documenting it. That feeling of accomplishment is worth more than any picture of it.

If you don’t like running with your camera – then don’t. If you don’t like taking photos – don’t feel pressured to. It’s YOUR race! Run it how you want to run it. :)

Do you have any tips to add to the list?

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Krissy @ Shiawase Life February 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Great post, Meghann! I am not coordinated enough to race and take photos but I am glad to see some tips for the future if I ever plan to do so! :)
Krissy @ Shiawase Life recently posted..Monday, Monday…a “giveaway”

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2 Kristen February 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I’m baffled you can get such good pictures. I definitely would find it way too annoying to run with my camera but think it is kind of cool that you manage to get so many shots.

I remember reading a post on an ultrarunner’s blog (who does very well in races – he’s awesome) and someone commented that he would probably place higher (and make more prize money) if he put the camera away. His answer was that taking pictures was part of the race experience for him…that he loved taking the pictures and having them to look back on. Ditching the camera wasn’t worth it to him. I’m the opposite – definitely not speedy, but not worth the annoyance to have the camera with me.
Kristen recently posted..five things about me- part four

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3 Meghann February 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I love that ultraunner’s response. My thoughts exactly. :) And to each their own – everyone’s race experience is different. It’s best to do what makes us happy.

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4 SaraRM February 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I third this! I love having the pics to look back at after running. They arent ever that good so really its a wash but its fun at the time :)

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5 Sneakers2Sandals February 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I’ve been waiting for a post like this! I think I’m ready to become a crazy blogger girl with a camera.
Sneakers2Sandals recently posted..RnR St. Pete Race Recap

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6 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife February 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

This IS a great post! Thanks for the tips :)

And that pizza sounds/looks awesome. I <3 pizza

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7 Aundra @ Fit for Life February 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm

This is awesome! I’m definitely going to use these tips for my next race. I’ve never tried taking photos while racing before, and make the BF lug the HUGE camera around for pre- and post-race photos. ha!
Aundra @ Fit for Life recently posted..Bag the Excuses

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8 Talia @ Bite Size Wellness February 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Such great techniques. Thanks for sharing your tips!
Talia @ Bite Size Wellness recently posted..Trick your Tummy: 5 Mind Changes that Keep the Scale Moving Down

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9 Tiff February 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I don’t think I’ll be taking pictures during my race this weekend, but I’m putting my spectator hubby on camera duty. (I wish he took cooler pics though – he’s no photographer!)

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10 deva at deva by definition February 13, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I haven’t yet taken photos while running or racing (in all fairness, I’ve only run 2 races). I feel awkward carrying my camera around while running, but I don’t like carrying things when I’m running if I can help it.

When I run my half in May, I will probably put The Boy on photographer duty – if he can spot me!
deva at deva by definition recently posted..Definition, Self: An Athlete

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11 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City February 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Great tips, I was wondering how you always managed to take so many pictures but now I know your secret :P .

Also, cauliflower on pizza sounds soo good. I’ve had broccoli as a topping before but never cauliflower, I’ll have to try it!
Lindsay @ Running the Windy City recently posted..Michigan-Illiniois Basketball game

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12 Lindsay February 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm

The steam-in-a-bag edamame used to be my go-to from Trader Joe’s. I think I OD’ed on it, though, because I never seem to gravitate toward them at the store anymore!

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13 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I don’t have a camera (I use my iPhone) but I strap my phone to my arm so it’s hard to get it out to take a picture. I just take pictures at the start, at the finish and then rely on race photos!
Katie @ Peace Love & Oats recently posted..Cookies, Omelets, and Nails, Oh My!

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14 cindylu February 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I’d be annoyed if I was at the start of a crowded race and people were slowing down or stopping to take pictures. It could be dangerous and contribute to the bottleneck.

I’ve been in a few races or regular training runs where I wish I had a camera because I see something beautiful or memorable, but it’s not worth it to me to stop.

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15 Jessica February 13, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I am so glad you did this blog post. I was planning on emailing you to ask tips on taking pictures while running because I’m running my first marathon in October. I want to document my experience without worrying about where to carry my camera so this blog post is helpful. Thanks!
Jessica recently posted..Wheeze in Training

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16 Sana February 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Hahah I would fall on my face if I tired to run and take pics! Do you run with your engagement ring on? Things I need to know for the future, if I run again or get engaged!
Sana recently posted..Family Time

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17 Meghann February 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

A very smart person once told me the only guaranteed way to never lose your ring is to never take it off. I’m sticking with that advice :)

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18 Sana February 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Crap, I am going to be in trouble. I told my potential future husband to not spend too much money on the first ring he gets me.
Sana recently posted..Family Time

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19 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama February 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Great tips! I’ve done a few running pics that have turned out o.k. but like you said it’s trial and error. I wish I had a sports setting on my camera. That would make a world of difference!
Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..An Aha! Weekend

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20 Sarah February 13, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Interesting – I’ve never use a camera while racing; I’m still a little hesitant to do so. Do you find that people around you are fairly receptive, or get annoyed easily? I’ve only ever had pictures from the start and end points – it might be nice to try this one day.
-S

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21 Army Amy* February 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Great tips! I’m making a mental note to take pictures from different angles at my next race.*
Army Amy* recently posted..V-Day Flop

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22 Sarah February 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm

I have been wondering about your strategy for taking photos mid-race! Thanks for answering the unasked burning question! Great job on the run. You remain one of my running motivators as I’m just beginning. Thanks.

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23 Emily @ The Swallow Flies February 13, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Thank you so much for the tips. I’ve been trying to take photos during races but have struggled with blurriness. I’m definitely going to have to give these tips a shot – literally! :)
Emily @ The Swallow Flies recently posted..Take Me Back to the Start

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24 Cheryl @ eatplayluvblog February 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I’m always impressed by race photos, especially when I realize you take them and still run pretty darn fast! Makes it all the more awesome. :)

I really am thinking of relocating to be near that cauliflower pizza… haha!
Cheryl @ eatplayluvblog recently posted..Starting off on the right foot–sort of

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25 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday February 13, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I like that the sports bra has a pocket. That’s convenient!

When I ran the Disney marathon there were lots of people around watching and volunteering, so I just asked them to take my picture if I wanted it. Any other pictures I took I had to stop to take them.

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26 Emily February 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Fun fact. I don’t like pizza really. But I love it cold the next day!!!
Emily recently posted..A running PR, wool socks, early arrivals

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27 Emily February 14, 2012 at 8:30 am

thank you for all of the tips! I was definitely wondering about how to do that.
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