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How to take great Race Pictures

The Zensah Winner is….

Kelly from Part of life is Having a Good Ponytail! She is running a 1/2 marathon in San Antonio in November and I have been following her. She seems so sweet and I’m super excited for her to win. Don’t worry, I’ll try to rally up some more cool giveaways! :) Also, if you use the code, FreeShip at checkout at the Zensah site, they will give you free shipping which is pretty cool! Thanks to everyone who entered and I hope you can all experience cool Zensah stuff.

Anyways, so I’ve had this post written for a while… and if you are just finding this post, this is me bantering about taking race pictures, but it may seem kind of mean if you don’t know me, I don’t mean it that way! Now, the big difference for me and some others who run, is that in running a race, I run for fun, and because I enjoy it. Yes, I do race on occasion, but mostly, I’m just running for fun. I know, I know to some of you this post doesn’t make sense because you are all racers and that is what you care about. For me, it’s all about having fun. Anyways, after I run a race, people always ask me how I take such good race pictures. Well my friends, first off, I’m SUPER flattered, and I wanted to share some ideas with you. Now, some of you might think that this post is totally ridiculous since the point of racing isn’t to get good race pictures, but if you are getting your picture taken and you want to plaster it all over facebook and your blog showing off your accomplishment, it might as well look good right? Well here are a sampling of my race pictures.


This was the finish line at the first and only marathon I’ve done, called San Diego crap festival. No pun intended. Well, I think at this point I was just happy to be DONE. So the smile was uber genuine. This wasn’t a hard race photo to get. :)


I remember the guy I was running next too on my right (a friend Charlie) warned me the camera was coming up! I was really focusing this race and wanted to PR so badly, if you don’t remember my anger at that race, for no reason, you can read about it here, but I was hurting right here, but since I knew the camera was coming I smiled very big. Charlie then yelled at me to keep going because I wasn’t that tired if I could smile so big. :)


This was my VERY first half! Last October, in Long Beach. How things have changed. I really like this picture because I look like I’m fast! Picking up those feet really work!

Now, after looking at them, I realized there are some steps you can take to make sure that your race pictures kick butt, just like you kicked the race’s butt.

The key to taking to taking good pictures is to find the photographers and SMILE big as you are running by. If you don’t smile you are going to look like you are either in pain, constipated, or dying. All of which may be true, but that isn’t the exact look you are going for and it will ruin your race picture. These pictures, if you choose to buy them aren’t cheap either, so you might as well try to make it look the best you can. As soon as you pass by the photographer, wipe that smile off and go back to dying.

First off, make sure you do your hair. This sounds very silly, but you do your hair for everything else, so do it for the race, or wear a hat. I realized that my hair flying behind me looks much nicer than if it is in a knotty, yucky, moppy, sweaty bun thing. I always make sure I either wear a headband or pin my bangs back as well so they aren’t sweaty and gross and flopping around in my face. It sounds dumb, but it makes a huge difference when you look back on your pictures.

Then, make sure to at least apply a little bit of makeup, unless you never wear makeup. I wear Bare Minerals so I brush on some powder since my I have a very red un-makeuped face to make sure everything is at least one color. Since I feel like I look like a baby bird without mascara, I also put on a little bit of waterproof mascara. You don’t take pictures without make up normally, so why do you think ones when you are sweaty and with no make up will look good? Eh? It seems unnecessary, but it helps a TON. I know, these tips aren’t for everyone, but hey, I’m just trying to help.

Next pick up your feet when you run by a photographer, almost  over-exaggerating that you are running. If you don’t, you’ll look like a glorified power walker. I have some pictures like that, where my arms are swinging big, and my feet, not looking like they are moving at all. Yea, those don’t make good profile pictures on facebook now do they, no one wants to say, oh I power walked that marathon like it was no bodies business, right?

Then we have the to wave or not to wave at the camera question. There are many pictures of wavers, sometimes you lose your mind when your running, and when you pass by a camera you wave. Now, I’ve done this before and the pictures turn our weird. You can either look like you are saying ‘stop’ with your hand up, or it looks like you don’t know how to run, and it just screws up your whole “form” thing, if that’s what your going for.

As for clothes, when you race, you should obviously wear something that is super comfortable and that you’ve won before. Bright colors are fun and make you show up way better than if you wear black, everyone wears black. Personally, I know that wearing pink is my thing, if you couldn’t tell. :) I love wearing pink, which is weird because when I was little I HATED pink. Race days usually equal a bright color that I’m super confident in and I know what chafes. :(

Then we have the number, this is key if you want to see your professional pictures because that’s how you’ll be tagged. Now, for me, I know my arms and legs are pretty skeletal. These are pluses for me. You know all that fast food I eat? That makes my stomach not so skeletal. This means photographs show that not skeletal area, especially in spandex. The number has a second purpose, you can pin it right over where your shorts might dig in or you might catch a little glimpse of all that fast food you have been inhaling (for me). Genius, I tell you. I pin mine a little lower, right over that little trouble spot and wha-la it disappears! That is the most clutch thing ever, and it makes you feel way better too. Well me at least. I also always crumple my number before every race, so that it doesn’t get trapped in the wind and takes the form of my body. Learned that back in the cross country days.

Do you guys have any good tips to make sure your race pictures come out good? I know when I ran San Fran with Aron, we worked so hard at getting some great race pictures! :) Smile and HAVE FUN! That’s what running and racing is all about anyways!!


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  • Reply Shannon

    OMG! I never thought about using the number to hide my pooch! Ahhhh! That’s amazing advice! Thx!

    September 23, 2009 at 9:54 am
  • Reply Zoë

    Yay to Kelly! And awesome pic advice! :) I, too, wear waterproof mascara and a little makeup to races…gotta look good winning the race, right? ;)

    September 23, 2009 at 10:16 am
  • Reply nicole

    This post is awesome! I’m so going tp use ur tips! Hair, make up and insta tummy tucks r great and simply genius! I can’t wait to test these ideas out in Chicago! :) this post is one of my favorites! Keep em coming gf! Xoxo

    September 23, 2009 at 10:19 am
  • Reply Annabel @

    wait wait you live in LB? and if so, why haven’t we gone running together?

    Cranky One Seeking Runner Partner,


    September 23, 2009 at 10:20 am
  • Reply KatieA.

    Hahahaha! Love the tips, thanks! :)

    September 23, 2009 at 10:21 am
  • Reply aron

    haha we were sooo concentrated on the camera in sf :) so fun!

    sometimes i smile, sometimes i could care less if there is a camera there :) waving does NOT work for me though!

    September 23, 2009 at 10:27 am
  • Reply Rebekah

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only person who wears mascara to races! Unfortunately, my race photos are still usually less than flattering. ;)

    September 23, 2009 at 10:32 am
  • Reply Morgan

    I tell people all the time how I wish I could look as cute and stylish as you do in my race pics! LOL! thanks for the insider info… I totally rock the waterproof mascara after seeing my eyelashless-ness in my 1/2 pics.

    September 23, 2009 at 10:32 am
  • Reply Marlene

    Love this post. I’m totally guilty of the “knotty, yucky, moppy, sweaty bun thing” and can’t imagine wearing makeup in a race. I would smudge it all over the place for sure.

    I’ve been known to strategically place the bib … it works, sometimes.

    I would NEVER have thought ot crumbling it. Thanks for the tip. I hate when it’s all straight & stiff and blowing around.

    September 23, 2009 at 11:02 am
  • Reply Jessica Benenati

    Great tips! Thanks :)

    September 23, 2009 at 11:06 am
  • Reply Joy

    Hilarious :D

    LOVE the tips!!

    Especially the one about crumbling your bib up so it’s not so stiff – genius!

    September 23, 2009 at 11:20 am
  • Reply Kristen

    Ha! I think about all those things…and then the pictures still don’t come out that great…
    I do make sure to look like I am having fun, I still struggle with making fun faces on the run and I am not sure if that will ever happen…

    September 23, 2009 at 11:29 am
  • Reply Lisa

    I totally love being able to use the race bib to hide my tummy. That’s one of the perks of the really big bibs like at RnR or Disney races.

    Another tip that I try to follow is to make sure there is some clear space in front of me when I see a photographer. That makes it easier for them to focus on you instead of just being part of the crowd.

    September 23, 2009 at 12:07 pm
  • Reply Kirbey

    This is my favorite post! Too bad I have been sort of stressing out about what to wear/how to fix my hair for my first half. I want to like my pictures. Thanks for the tips!

    September 23, 2009 at 12:19 pm
  • Reply Marcia

    Really? The Bare Minerals don’t sweat off and run into your eyes?
    Another thing I try to do at the big races is pace myself to the finish line so they get a good pic of just me!:)

    September 23, 2009 at 12:33 pm
  • Reply ilovesteaks

    GTTH! :)

    September 23, 2009 at 1:01 pm
  • Reply RunToTheFinish

    haha a professional power walker, I swear that’s my pictures!!

    September 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm
  • Reply Tara

    Great advice KooHO! I will be using it this weekend since I’ll be covered from head to toe in spandex…I wonder if I can get more than one bib…hmmmmmmm….

    September 23, 2009 at 1:40 pm
  • Reply Ms. V

    Um. Okay, there’s a race pic strategy? I always look enormous. How about something for that? Great post, and you always look darling.

    September 23, 2009 at 2:22 pm
  • Reply Jeri

    oh my gosh, I crumble my bib too. Everyone always makes fun of me, but I was a sprinter, and it legitimately made a difference when you’re running the 100 & 200 when .01 could be the difference in first and second place. Too funny. :)

    September 23, 2009 at 2:28 pm
  • Reply Madison

    Ahaha…this post is soooo funny! No wonder you have such good photos…you have secrets! So much effort though! It’s like all the stuff you said not to do, I do all the time. No wonder! Thanks for these great tips. Maybe one day I will get my act together and follow some of them.

    September 23, 2009 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply Mrs. Stethoscope

    I ran a race on saturday and as I came around a bend there was a woman (on the left) holding a sign that said smile at the camera, however the camera man was (on the right) so thats gonna look great

    September 23, 2009 at 3:57 pm
  • Reply N.D.

    hahaha great tips!! I am getting into running for fun and racing occasionally. I like the idea.

    September 23, 2009 at 4:25 pm
  • Reply Nicole

    I agree 110%! this is a cute post and i’m gonna do my best at posing for the camera come marathon time! and ofcourse i’ll think of you every time i see a photographer!

    September 23, 2009 at 6:47 pm
  • Reply The Laminator

    You’re such a natural at posing well for race pics! I think I need a whole course instead of just one post. Where do I apply?

    September 23, 2009 at 8:42 pm
  • Reply Stuart

    …do you hair!

    Ah if only…

    September 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm
  • Reply Running now

    Thoroughly enjoyed your post today, great to see you looking georgous and fit and refreshing to read your spin on the whole race day photo. Keep it up : )

    September 24, 2009 at 12:55 am
  • Reply Rachel

    Love it! You’re right abotu the to wave or not to wave. I waved in all my 1/2 photos and it looks like I have jazz hands. My husband saw the pictures & said, “Obviously you could have run a lot harder. You look to happy!” I need to get to a scanner to post. Will have to try the makeup tip. the makeup doesn’t sweat off into your eyes?

    September 24, 2009 at 5:52 am
  • Reply Jake A Harris

    It wouldn’t matter how poorly or how well I did in a race, if my photo doesn’t reflect that I was having fun, then I wouldn’t be able to justify my running 13 or 26 miles.

    Even if I did poorly and I look as good as you do in your race photos, then it won’t matter in a few years, the only memory I’ll have is that I was happy. For that reason, I think I’ll always make it a point to at least try to get a good shot.

    Your tips are fairly simple, but easily overlooked when preparing for and during a race.

    The “wear bright colors” thing is a great idea, and I’ll definitely have to give that a try.

    September 24, 2009 at 10:56 am
  • Reply Rachel

    This cracks me up because it is so silly, but I’m so into it! I’ve NEVER had a good race picture…I always look like a sweaty, chubby, uncoordinated mess! I used to kind of run with my arms up by my sides (weird, I know…it was just what came natural) and that definitely did not help the picture thing. At least I outgrew that.

    So I’m not sure if these tips will help me at all, but I’m going to try them!

    September 24, 2009 at 1:48 pm
  • Reply Dane

    One word: sunglasses. If your eyes are hidden you can’t be
    1. blinking
    2. showing your pain or exhaustion
    3. squinting etc.

    Trust me. I have had a few races pictures taken in my day.

    September 25, 2009 at 12:30 am
  • Reply rioruns

    You look cute in your race pics! My best marathon picture makes me look like a powerwalker, but I bought it anyways because it was my 1st full. My 1st race picture inspired me to start wearing sunglasses during my races. I’ll need to try some of your tips next time. :)

    September 25, 2009 at 5:16 pm
  • Reply Perfectly Imperfect

    The number to hide the pooch bit is fantabulous!

    September 28, 2009 at 11:23 am
  • Reply kymberli q.

    This is HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!

    September 29, 2009 at 1:12 am
  • Reply lisa

    I LOVE this post! It’s fantastic!

    September 29, 2009 at 3:15 pm
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