How to take a Good Running Selfie

tips for taking a good running selfie

I take a lot of “selfies” on the run. You may have noticed.  And I’ve learned a lot of tips for how to take a good running “selfie.”


I was initially inspired by Xaarlin. Her posts included some great selfies along the Lakefront Trail and/or with her pup. And since my runs for the past couple years have been slower (for me), it’s been much easier to stop for a selfie break!



Anywho, if you want to try a mid-run selfie, here are my tips!

Put down your phone to get a good shot

Taking an actual selfie while running very rarely turns out well. It’s an awkward angle and likely shakey.

Find a “tripod”

I don’t have an actual tripod and but I do have one of those phone pogs that you stick on the back of your phone that pop out. To get a good shot, you need to prop your phone against something. Ideally, you want your phone to be between hip- and eye-level, but that’s not always possible. I’ll look for a fence, ledge, bench or light pole, but sometimes I’ll just prop my phone on the ground against a tree trunk. Or I’ll use my handheld water bottle as my “tripod.”

handheld Nathan water bottle

Beware of the wind

Sometimes it’s too windy and I can’t find a good spot to prop my phone without it blowing over – so be careful it doesn’t accidentally blow into the lake or river or it could fall and get damaged or who knows what. If you don’t have an Otterbox case, get one!

Find an interesting background 

As much as I think y’all love looking at me, it’s the background that makes the shot 🙂

running selfie Chicago sailboats harbor

Notice the light

You want the sun/light source behind the camera, facing your subject. Otherwise, it’s backlit and shadowy. Which isn’t necessarily “bad” or “wrong,” just try to be aware of it and use it in your favor if you can.

running selfie Chicago River

You need daylight

After the sun goes down (or even at dusk), it can be a challenge to get a good shot. You can try looking for streetlights or use your flash … but I haven’t figured out how to get a good shot.

If at first you fail, try again

And again and again. I usually don’t nail it on the first shot. But this can be challenging in the winter when your phone dies if it gets too cold.

Practice Makes Perfect

I’ve been taking running selfies for a while now. Like anything, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. None of my first few attempts are including in this post, if that’s any indication of how these have improved.

Run fast

If you have trouble hitting a good (photogenic) stride, speed up so you’re blurry and the background is the focus. This is also how your selfies will turn out if it’s dark outside, no matter your pace.


Be safe

If it’s wet, icy, or there is traffic (car, bike, etc), proceed with caution! It’s OK to fake running in order to not risk faceplanting or breaking something (like I am in the photo below). The Lakefront Trail is a great place to get a selfie, but between ice, wet surfaces, potholes, uneven terrain, and parts that slope down toward the water, it can also be a very risky place for a selfie. BE CAREFUL. No shot, no matter how amazing, is worth risking your safety or risking an expensive phone.

Chicago Lakefront Trail ice running selfie

Also, don’t run on cobblestones. You’ll sprain your ankle.

Don’t get robbed

No matter where you live, always pay attention to your surroundings and try to minimize the risk that your phone will get snatched while taking a selfie. This usually means waiting until there aren’t many people around, specifically, there aren’t any people who will be closer to my phone than me at any point. It might mean standing around, waiting for someone to go past, or, stopping short and running back to your phone if someone seemingly comes out of nowhere. Who cares if you look stupid, most people probably aren’t paying attention, and even if they are, won’t remember.

Check yourself

A bonus benefit of multiple run selfies are various angles – I can check my stride. Try taking video of yourself too.

running selfie Chicago river

Have fun

Yes, it can be narcissistic, and does the world care what you look like when you run? Who cares? Does the world really care about 99% of what is posted on Instagram?


Do you ever take selfies on the run? Any tips? 


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5 Comments on “How to take a Good Running Selfie”

  1. Oooh I’ve never thought of the run fast trick! I’m going to try that next time! These are great tips – I was just thinking I need to up my run shot game.

  2. Woah, that ice shot – amazing. I love these tips, I feel like my selfie game is really inconsistent and based more on luck than anything else. Thanks for helping me uplevel. 😉

  3. Great tips! I need to try some of them out. I really want to get a shot of me running with my dog and last time my husband and I were out we tried, but both of our phones died 🙁
    Next time I’ll use these tips!

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