How to Nail the Perfect Race Photo

Race photos: Either you love them or you hate them and a lot of times, it's the latter. Scrunched-up pained faces, sweat stains, awkward angles—it's enough to make you run and hide from race photographers for good. But that doesn't mean you really have to. Here, pro race photographer Brian Knight of Swim Bike Run Photo in the Washington, D.C. area, explains how to nail the perfect race pic in five simple steps.

Step 1: Stand Out From The Crowd

In a big road race, what you wear will set you apart—and may help you catch the eye of a photographer on the sidelines. Anything from costumes to tutus to neon-hued tops can make you stick out among the masses, which could mean more camera time for you (and more photo options to choose from in the end). Just try to avoid fabrics that tend to reveal sweat marks. Nothing like a pair of giant pit stains to sully your celebratory arms-in-the-air finishing shot.

More: Race-Day Costume Ideas

Step 2: Perfect That Posture

"Gravity does weird, weird things to the human body, and the camera tends to capture it all," says Knight. "Even the fittest athletes can look terrible at more than one point in their running stride."

While a few bad shots out of the bunch is a given, you can increase your chances of a money shot by doing a quick posture check as you approach a photographer. Lift your chin, square your shoulders, and lengthen your stride. "Having good posture and a good stride can really make a nice photo," says Knight.

More: 9 Core Exercises That Improve Running Form

Step 3: Just Smile

Even if you're at mile 17 of your marathon and you've hit the wall—and then some—try to muster up a little energy to crack a smile when that lens is on you. Or at the very least, fake it.

"I look for smiling faces. And it's amazing how runners go from tired, slumped, grumpy-looking shufflers to smiling, upright, long-striding runners," says Knight. "So dig a little deeper, if only until you've passed the photographer, and see what happens."

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About the Author

Sarah Wassner Flynn

A Rockville, Maryland-based writer, Sarah Wassner Flynn is a lifelong runner who writes about the sport for publications like Competitor, Triathlete, New York Runner, and espnW. Mom to Eamon, Nora, and Nellie, Sarah has also written several nonfiction books for children and teens. Follow her on Twitter at @athletemoms.

A Rockville, Maryland-based writer, Sarah Wassner Flynn is a lifelong runner who writes about the sport for publications like Competitor, Triathlete, New York Runner, and espnW. Mom to Eamon, Nora, and Nellie, Sarah has also written several nonfiction books for children and teens. Follow her on Twitter at @athletemoms.

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