How to Take a Great Running Selfie and Get Insta Famous

I recently started building an instagram presence for my blog, why, doesn’t matter and I’ll get into it. But that means I need content to do that so enter the sweat sweetly runfie! Plus looking at instagram pictures can be really inspiring and making your own might keep you motivated, why shouldn’t you get in on the action? There’s no way these super beautiful running shots are captured by and out stretched arm. Before I started an instagram for sweat sweetly I liked to post each Sunday for the Nike Run Club app’s 5k global challenge. I mostly stuck to landscapes but the one time I did the arm out thing someone told me I had crazy eyes and I knew I had to up my game.


I live in an incredibly beautiful small town that I would be happy to share with the world plus it could make it easy to make my runfies pretty, stand out and be about more than just me. It also inspired me to start the series of half updates I’ve been doing so that’s great! It’s probably been pretty good at keeping me accountable though that’s not something I struggle with. But I’ve actually loved the process and look forward to my run photoshoot! Photography is a passion of mine, one I literally have no time for these days beyond blogging so taking a pretty picture is something I quite enjoy generally. So here’s how you get YOUR runfie on!

The secret is the right app

Once again I’m starting with the most important thing! I downloaded gorillacam on my iPhone which allows you to take multiple pictures over a period of time. You set the delay for you to get to your spot and then it will take the number of pictures you set it to. I’ve found it takes about one every second. Truthfully most of the pictures will be absent you or unflattering but in the bunch will be a couple of stunners, save those and post liberally. A few notes about the app it, I’m running it on a 6s by the way. It doesn’t seem to have a zoom function so get the camera close, that said it takes full resolution images so you can crop pretty tight. Give it the best chance though by tapping on the area you think you’ll be and getting it to focus there. It also has a flash function and you can use the front facing camera if you want. Those two buttons might not seem that related but… I can’t turn on the flash on mine unless I first engage the front facing camera then change it back and then magically the flash button starts to work, it might save you a headache in low light.

My Gorillacam set up

another great app is Procamera which I now use in my 11 pro max

Find a way to secure your phone

You don’t have to get fancy here and propping it up against a rock will work like in this photo.


But you might want to vary your angle too. I started with a couple of pipe cleaners which pretty much makes it possible to secure it to anything but it is a bit fussy. The easiest thing is to use your headphones to tie your phone to something. I still usually use the old school jack type rather than the short bluetooth ones and they work great for tying to trees, my water belt and road sign posts seem purpose built for this! I now run with a little tripod sometimes too!

Use some common sense though and make sure you and your phone are shooting in a safe spot or tie it really tight. That being said I tied my phone up on a beam on a bridge with traffic over a river for this one. Then make sure you tie it tight!


Like any picture frame your shot

It’s a good idea to find a little area where you can run back and forth in from of your phone and where ever the great shot is captured the background will rock! I’m lucky to live in a particularly beautiful spot on the South Shore of Nova Scotia full of ocean views, dense trees and picturesque country roads but you’d be surprised how a boring seeming background can lead to a great shot. I’m training for a half marathon right now and my area is actually a series of villages strung together each with their own sign. As my long runs take me to one community and then the next I’ve beed doing pictures with the sign of each one.

Your camera lens in your phone isn’t terribly wide so a wide bush in bloom, a few trees in a line or a brick wall can be a great urban background too. Try to avoid traffic unless you want it in your shot and then plan for it, hopefully some of my shots are at least inspiring you for backdrops. I’m not going to lie I’m pretty spoiled in this department! All of these were captured with in 5 km of my house, well not the first one that’s 2 km away from where we’re working and directly across the bay from my house. The second, fourth and seventh ones as well as the title shot are essentially at the end of my driveway, see spoiled!

You also might want to edit your outfit. I take off my ear phones, ditch the water belt and occasionally my jacket for the shot but that’s about it. I secretly suspect that all those shorts and sports bras in snow images on instagram are outfits changes just for the picture but I can’t prove it!

This was actually a warm day in February that included hill repeats, and the only snow I could find

Put something special into it!

I’m not insta famous (yet ha ha ha) but here’s a secret if you just run like regular in front of the camera your going to look tired, short, hunched over and a little pissed off. So in other words like you’re running! For a great shot you’ll want to keep these 5 things in mind:

  • Run tall
  • Put some spring in your step
  • Look up
  • Run happy
  • And smile wide!

Otherwise you’ll look like this!


I like to do quite a few jumps for great airborne shots,

a few safety shots like running away from the camera,

a yoga pose or ponytail adjustment just in case all the running ones don’t work out that day.

On an easy run day the hardest I run is usually for the photoshoot. However standing and looking like you’re running almost always looks like you’re faking it. Some days you’re just not feeling it and the ‘safety shoot’ might be the best choice.

The ultimate salty shot. Look how dedicated I am I’m the last one at the library. I ran until 10 after work in the dark!

Get creative though sometimes the ones that just include your bottom half or are a standing around and changing direction shots look great too. If you have an idea for a shot, test it out, noting ventured, nothing gained.

Embrace the blur and edit!

It’s hard to get everything crystal clear and crisp since you’re in motion. For me it’s always one foot but if you want crispness keep the camera further away and crop in. The next thing is you NEED to embrace the editing features built into your phone. Your phone isn’t going to take the best possible picture all on it’s own usually you have to tweak a little. My favourites include removing shadows and highlights, increasing the saturation, brightness and brilliance and playing with the colour cast. Check out this dedicated post I wrote on how to take better pictures with your smartphone for more info. This will do more than any instagram filter out there. If you are missing that feature on your phone or don’t know how to use it they are also all buried in the Instagram edit feature.

I was surprised to find just how much I enjoy taking and posting runfies considering I started sort of dreading it. So what’s your take on runfies, fun or super vain? Do you share yours? 


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