After getting inquiries on how I take the running pictures I post to Instagram and use in my blog, I started a five-post series on taking quality running photos. Today’s tip will include tips for brightening up your running pictures. In case you missed the three previous posts or would like a refresher, please check out the following links:


My husband had no idea what a monster he was creating when he gave me a GoPro Hero 4 (affiliate link) for my birthday about three years ago. Once I became comfortable using it, it became my camera of choice for my running action shots. You don’t necessarily need a GoPro for taking running pictures, though; and on social media I regularly see fantastic running pictures taken with phones. In fact, the newer iPhones and Androids probably take better pictures than my older GoPro; however, GoPros are designed for taking action shots, are small, and can easily be taken on runs.

Creating bright running pictures can be as easy as choosing the right time of day to run, finding reflective backdrops, or making sure to get the camera in the right spot relative to the light source. Try incorporating my five tips for brightening up your running pictures that I list below to naturally bring life to your photos…


1. Get the camera between the light source and the subject – In the following picture, I have the camera facing the sun which puts me in a shadow and even with editing, it’s hard to brighten up.


By simply turning my camera around so that the light source is behind it, the sun brightens not only me, but the scenery around me.


2. Allow the sun to shine through – Using the same picture as in the first example, it’s an okay picture if that’s the only direction you can face the camera to shoot the image you’re looking to capture, but because the camera is facing the bright sky, I’m silhouetted and that doesn’t really make for an interesting picture.


Just a frame or two earlier in the video, though, I hadn’t blocked the sun and it shines through giving this picture a unique and brighter look.


3. Create a silhouette with bright surroundings – Capturing a silhouette can make for a really interesting picture, but unless the surrounding scenery is bright, it can leave the picture dull and uninteresting (as can be witnessed two photos above). Water and glass buildings can brighten up silhouettes as shown with the sunrise reflecting off the ocean and water soaked sand in the picture below.


4. Move out of the shadows – Through trial and error I’ve learned not to take pictures where light is partially filtering through tree leaves. Either shoot in the full sunlight or full shade for optimal pictures. Full sun pictures are bright on their own and full shade photos can be brightened through editing; however, pictures with some bright and some dark areas are difficult to brighten.


5. Use your flash – Whether taking pictures in low light or brightening up a picture with the sun behind the subject, using a flash can salvage a barely visible picture, but beware, using a flash for action shots is easier said than done.


Now that I’ve given you some ideas, grab your camera and go have some fun!


  • Questions:
  • Do you take running pictures? If so, do you take them during your run or after you finish?
  • How often do you use a camera, not your phone, but a camera?
  • How do you use light to highlight your pictures?


Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the blue product link and then make a purchase, I will receive a commission for referring you. You will pay no more or less for the product; however, Amazon will show their gratitude for my referral by paying me.