Five Simple Tips for Great Race Day Photos!

At the Inaugural Disneyland 10K, 2013.
At the Inaugural Disneyland 10K, 2013.

Whether you’re a competitive racer or a recreational runner, one of the most unique aspects of participating in the exciting events of the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend is capturing all the fun on film! From the magical backdrops, to the showcasing of a carefully-crafted running costume and of course, those emotional moments of triumph and accomplishment at the finish line, here are five tips for race day photo success:

#1: Wear Your Race Bib in the Correct Position

While this may sound like a no-brainer, this is probably the #1 reason that runners miss out on great race day photos! Follow the directions supplied by runDisney, and be sure to wear the bib pinned to the front of your body, without any decoration blocking your bib numbers. For official race photos, this is how your pictures are identified, so the easier it is to see your bib, the more of your photos will be found, even if you are not the central focus of the image.

#2: Practice a Default Pose

Having a standard pose to strike at a moments notice will come in handy if you happen to lose track of where you are on the course and are caught off guard by a photographer. This advice also goes for any character stop pictures you may make – there’s nothing more awkward than a photo where you look uncomfortable! Bonus points? Match your default pose with the character of the costume you are wearing, and if possible, use a prop to make an impact! What’s better than lifting a frying pan like Rapunzel, or “reading” a book like Belle?

Tipping my Hat to the Chipmunks! This pic was taken on my iPhone! Disneyland 10K, 2013.

Extra tip: be sure your default pose is (A) appropriate for a family-themed race 😉 (B) Non-obstructive to other runners (C) one that keeps your bib numbers clear, visible and easy-to-read (reference tip #1 for more on that)

#3: Wear  Shades

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 12.56.49 PM
Running though Angels Stadium! Plus…photobomb! 😉 Disneyland Half, 2013.

Now, with the early race start of 5:30 AM, it’ll be dark when the race first begins, so if you have a pocket or belt to stow your shades, you may want to stow them – but once the sun rises in Anaheim, there are a few stretches of the course where you’ll definitely want to protect your precious peepers – and, honestly, pictures with your shades make for less “squinty” snapshots.

#4: “Double Up” on Favorites

If you’re planning on stopping to take pictures with characters, you have three options – relying on Marathon Foto’s services, using your own camera, or both! Personally, I opt for both, and have my picture snapped by the photographers, as well as “backed up” on my smartphone, since sometimes there either is no photographer around, one picture doesn’t turn out, and most importantly – instant (free!) access to your photo to share ASAP.

If you are planning to carry your own camera or phone for pictures, be sure to have it queued up/made as simple as possible for the character greeter who will be taking your picture.

#5: Have Fun!

Running through Sleeping Beauty Castle! Disneyland 10K, 2013.
Running through Sleeping Beauty Castle! Disneyland 10K, 2013.

On top of everything, having fun and enjoying your Disneyland Half Marathon event will not only make your experience more enjoyable, but it WILL show in all of your photos, too!

For some runners, making the most of the race day photo adventure includes checking out a map of where photographers are stationed beforehand is helpful (this is available in a flyer format, which can be picked up at the MarathonFoto expo booth) but personally, trying to run, remember where photographers are and take in the experience is a bit of a juggling act! Plus, sometimes scheduling changes mean more or less photographers, so to that I say, “Hakuna Matata,” and just live it up – your smile will make any picture that much better!

Extra Tip!

While you’re making memories and having a blast, remember to always be courteous to your fellow runners. If you’re approaching a course photographer, be sure you’re not blocking or dangerously crossing the path of another runner – safety is always first! This also goes for finish line photos – grabbing hands, or linking arms with a running partner might make for a fabulous photo, but be aware of your surroundings so you’re not clothes-lining someone else, or creating some other sort of dangerous situation.

Any other questions? What tips would YOU add to this list? Share your favorite Disneyland Half race photo in the comments below!

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory



  1. Love the idea of a “default pose”! And good point to make sure that it leaves your bib visible because now that I think about it what would be a “standard” pose for my DL 10k costume would probably cover my bib…hmmm…may need to think this one through!

  2. Krissy, thanks to you and Didi for putting the Blog Hop together, I had a great time doing my post for it (Medals). I feel like I have met a whole new group of Disney runners and bloggers. This was a great article. After a dozen races at WDW I concur with most everything. As for #1 it irks me to see a runner with their bib on their back. Really??? Come on now! 🙂 I love the default pose idea. I guess mine has always been a thumbs up (lame!), I guess I need to come up with something for the Disneyland Half!!!! Thanks again….

  3. I LOVE race-day photo ops! I second you on always having a pose ready — the special poses for certain characters are always fun, but I always have my go-to poses when I unexpectedly see a photographer on course.

    I would also add pulling your shoulders up and keeping your back straight, which you should do anyway for proper running form, but also because some of the MarathonFoto guys/gals are at really odd (read: unflattering) angles!

    Also, my other advice..SMILE. No matter how much pain you’re in! 😀

  4. These are GREAT tips. I’m the worst at photos – I usually leave the camera in the much more capable hands of Greg – but I think even *I* could muster some good ones with these suggestions.

  5. Fellow blog hop 🙂
    Great tips! I’ve been reading a lot about how difficult picture taking can be but your post made me feel a little better. And I’m really glad you added the part about wearing sunglasses because I am not a sunglass wearing girl, I VERY seldom wear them so I would have never considered them important to take with me.

    • Thanks, Marina! Glad you enjoyed the tips – LMK if you have any other questions – the pics are one of the most fun parts of rD races for me 😀

  6. Great pics! I’ve never tried to stand in line for a character pic yet. Is there someone there to take a photo on your own camera/phone in additional to the official photographers? So far for the finisher photos, I’ve always been denied taking a photo on my own camera to keep the lines moving. :\

    • Christine – there is often a character greeter along with the photographer, who I usually hand my camera/phone to 🙂 For the finisher photos however, you’re correct – it has to be only the official one.

  7. Great tips! I like the idea of having a default pose. 🙂 I always forget where the photographers are so living it up and smiling during the race is definitely a good tip too! P.S. I love your running costumes!!

  8. I am TERRIBLE at thinking of new poses, which is why I’m giving a thumbs up in every race picture and wedding photo booth picture ever taken. I suppose that means I’m in permanent-default pose mode. I’m going to steal some of your poses. By the way, one day, we should link up at one of these races and run together if our race plans ever match up. . . .

    • Nothing wrong with a thumbs up!! 🙂 And yes! Would love to run together…we can do crazy poses, too!

  9. No wonder you always look so terrific in your race photos Krissy! In addition to your uber cute costumes, your poses complete the look. 😀 I agree with you about the sunglasses; though the thought may seem foolish when the stars are still twinkling at 4 am, the famous California sun is unforgiving by 7. Also, I’m so glad you included a tip about runner etiquette- I think we’ve all been tripped up by over eager paparazzi seekers! You always look like pure fun out there on the course Krissy, maybe form and ability should be added to your list!! Thank you so much again for agreeing to co-host the hop!

    • Aww you are too sweet, D! I can’t wait til we’re at a race together again, and thanks for letting me help you.

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