Let me start with the I am NOT an expert, I’m not even that cool on Instagram disclaimer, also thanks to a stalker I had to remove over 1200 followers (talk about a daunting process- took me hours and hours and hours over a week) and make my account private for over a year, so yeah… I don’t even have 1K followers anymore… anyway… I am a trained photographer and I spent over 2 years of my early career as a photo editor (thanks technology for making my career mostly obsolete and forcing me into something else) also I work in social media… by work in it I mean social media my career. I have spent a lot of time researching and analyzing what does and does not work so like I said I’m not an expert but I am experienced.
If you google better Instagram photos or Instagram tips and so on you’ll find A LOT of results… I’m not going to tell you to pick a theme or use a tripod – who runs with a tripod? or to only use a few filters. I tend to have a few favorites and I’m sure you do to but don’t only use them if you want to use another filter, just freeking use it, the world will not end and you will not lose 80 followers. I’m also not going to tell you to try to make all of your photos fit into each other, kind of like having a theme but more relaxed, still if you want to post a coffee shot or kid photo DO IT who cares if most of your photos are running related, you are a person not a robot and its refreshing to see real life isn’t it?
Some of the generic google tips may help you gain likes and followers but that’s standard advice and that’s easy to find. I’m here to talk specifically about running (and fitness) photos and how to take more interesting ones, how to edit them and about how you can add stuff to them (like running stats)
First up the photo. You can edit for days but if you are starting with a bad photo you are not making it any better…
Some general tips:
Try to use natural light – like the sun or the moon, lightning is super important! and of course if you are running in the dark your photo will be dark but in that case you won’t want to be making it brighter right? anyway yes you can lighten/brighten photos with an app however this tends to be most effective when you just need to lighten/brighten a bit, like below
It’s a subtle change, however if my original photo was very dark to begin with simply lightening it would not result in a good photo, it would make the image washed out and in need of further editing (contrast, highlights, etc) to be a decent usable image… aka complicated and for a meh result.
next up… Take A LOT of photos – for every good/usable photo that I post I’ve probably taken at least 10 if not 100 – no joke… ask around, especially people who post images you really like, I bet they take A LOT of shots. Think about it, if you are moving aka running you are going to get many blurry and or cut off images, not to mention odd faces and unflattering things like that. So take more photos then you think you need try different angles, part of your route and enjoy the run, you can weed though when you get home.
Try a self timer and or burst mode – I use the built-in one, prop my phone up on something set the timer and run past it… burst mode will get you a few extra snaps. Camera Awesome and LiveBurst are two solid apps for this but like I said I usually just use the built-in one, it works well.
Good photos are subjective and relative. The few things they all have in common is that they are properly lit, have a clear (not necessarily in focus) center of attention and speak to their targets. Capturing the moment, getting the image… that is hard part.
For running people tend to like to see action photos, with epic scenery, seen on my run type different and interesting stuff, medal shots, sneaker shots and the view from above selfie, you know where some of your clothes show. We runners also love stats, right? just me? didn’t think so… so integrating your run stats with a solid image from your run into a photo is usually a hit.
More tips? Ok…
Take risks Ok maybe that is extreme way of putting it, it’s not a risk to take a photo anymore, you don’t even have to pay to have them developed or wait a week but what I mean is try new angles, look at the square of your photo from a different perspective, play with the composition of the image. Check this link out if you are interested in learning more about photo composition, you may not be able to do all of this with a camera phone but still, ideas… the point here is to try a new way of capturing the essence of your run.
If you search though Apple’s App store for photo editing apps you’ll find a ton… a lot of them do the same thing, like let you crop, brighten, darken, add filters, text, graphics, and on and on – typical photo editing things – usually if I am posting to Instagram I use Instagram to ‘edit’ the photo… I’ll use an IG filter and the IG tools to lighten or sharpen as needed, I tend to not do much, less is more in my book – over processed doesn’t look good, sometimes it works but generally it’s icky. I favor 3-4 IG filters, 90% of my photos use the same 2 filters, boring? maybe… but I like them and they work for me, so although I’m not going to tell you to pick a few and stick with them don’t be shocked if you end up favoring the same few filters…
Outside of Instagram editing Snapseed is wildly popular and for a good reason, it is very good tool edits, especially for little edits. It’s good for natural edits that enhance already good photos and make them great. A little tweak here and a pop here and BOOM! Epic ness! There are at least 20 other decent apps that do the same thing, find the one you like, the one with the UI that speaks to you, the best app, like the best camera, is the one that you use.
Want to add stats to your photos? Miles? pace? distance? temps? look no further…
FitSnap will add all of your run stats to photos and has a bunch of different layout options and can import stats from running apps. (See below, this image is from their Instagram profile) you can leave out any of them, you don’t have to fill in all of the fields and you can add a little comment too… pretty cool app for stat adding.
The Nike+ app used too (haven’t used that one in a while so maybe it doesn’t anymore?) let you add stats to a photo, same with Strava – you can export your details with a photo right from the app to Instagram and maybe Garmin too? Or I could be imagining that one… If none of this is appealing to you try using an app like Quick, Typorama or one of the other 100 apps that allow you to add text to your photo and type it in OR if all else fails just add you stats in the Instagram caption.
and don’t forget…
HASHTAGS!! – People need to find your awesome photos! Some of my favorite hashtags are #WeRunSocial #InstaRunners #RunChat #RunHappy #RunnersCommunity #InstaRun and of course anything related to your gear like #PROCompression #Brooks #Headsweats etc.
Just remember to have fun and enjoy the run… the photos are just a secondary bonus.
The following are some of my favorites and suggestion from my Twitter peeps of runners killing it on Instagram:
Who is your favorite instarunner? Do you have any tips? Do you have a go to app for running photos?
This is not a sponsored post, NONE of the apps, people or tools mentioned asked me or paid me to talk about them.