How to take the perfect running selfie

A few simple tweaks can turn your running snaps into enviable selfies to share with your friends.

by Rhalou Allerhand
Getty Images

Lighting is key

Get the lighting right, and you are 90 per cent of the way towards achieving your perfect running selfie. 'Ideally you want natural daylight, but if it is too sunny then head for a shady area,' says photographer Claire Pepper. 'Always have the light source in front of you – side lighting is unflattering and back lighting doesn’t capture well on even the best mobile phones.'

Utilise your smart phone

Many smart phones include details to assist selfie taking. 'Use one of the side buttons to take the photo,' says photographer Simon Way. 'A lot of smart phones including iPhone, allow you to use the volume buttons to take the picture. This makes it easier to hold steady.'

Attention to detail

Selfies should be spontaneous but it’s also worth taking a moment to check the background is free from clutter or strange reflections. 'Take a moment to consider the composition of your shot and whether it would work best in landscape or portrait,' says Claire. 'Try a few alternatives if you're not sure.'

It's also important to look around before taking a snap! 'Watch out for trees, dog poo or the elderly,' says Simon. 'No one wants to admit the reason you knocked over little Freddie is you were posing for a running selfie...'

Trial and error

It’s also worth experimenting to see if there is any difference in quality between the front and back cameras on your phone. 'Some phones have a much better quality camera on the back, so take two snaps and compare them to see if one looks grainier,' explains Claire. 'Also try taking the cover off your phone – some covers create softening around the periphery of the image or can affect focus, so give it a go and you might be surprised what a difference it makes. Also don’t forget to wipe the sweat off your lens!'

Find your angle

Different angles suit different faces so learn what works for you. 'Shoot from a little lower down,' says Simon. 'Most sports advertising is framed up from a slightly lower angle, it gives the sitter a slightly grander status.'

'Generally keeping your chin down is more flattering and turning your face to one side works for most people,' says Claire. 'Also try to keep your eyes on the camera lens as opposed to the screen, as it’s much more engaging.'

Get active

For an action shot, try putting your phone on a timer and running past. 'If you put your phone on time and burst mode you will have a few snaps to choose from,' says Claire.

Simon agrees. 'There is a reason why sports photographers click away at a zillion frames a second, one of them should be perfect.'


We see endless selfies online every single day, so why not use your time to experiment? Get arty and try out different things. 'Don't be afraid of a bit of rain,' says Simon. 'Yes, Apple puts touch paper inside your phone to see if you dropped it down the loo when it stops working, but rain in portraits can look epic.'

Post production

Once you’ve taken your picture, perfect your portrait with an image-editing app. 'A specialist app like Camera+ gives you control over every aspect of the image, as well as giving you the option to add borders and captions,' explains Claire. 'If you are bored of using the same filters all the time try the VSCO Cam app that gives you a really wide selection and the ability to customise them – you can achieve results that would take some time in Photoshop within seconds. If you want to zap a blemish try an app like Facetune but be careful editing your face – it’s easy to go too far and it can look quite obvious!'

Once you've perfected your running selfie, share it with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

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