Published on Thu Oct 12, 2017 by David Colbran

Shooting marathons is a lot of fun, but it's also tiring and tricky to do right. For me preparation is key. Here are my top 6 tips.

1. Fast Shutter

For sharp images, shutter speeds need to be 1/250th of a second or above - 1/500 is ideal. These guys move fast, any lower all images are going to blurry. Alternatively you may want to consider a panning effect, moving the camera at the same speed as the subject so it remains in focus with a blurred background. Also try and set your aperture at around f/8 – f/11 where the lens will be at it’s sharpest.

2. Correct Equipment

Ensuring you have the correct equipment is essential. Backups of everything are ideal and of course have plenty of spare battery packs and memory cards to hand and in a place where they can be swapped over quickly. Also use a monopod, rather than a tripod - much more maneuverable and less likely to trip runners over.

3. Weather

You are going to be outdoors for 5 to 6 hours. Check the forecast! Have a few zip locked plastic bags, in case of wet or muddy conditions. Also waterproof packs or camera cases to store the extra equipment. Protect cameras with rain sleeves if you can. Nothing worse than having to stop because of an equipment failure - look after your kit !

4. Location

Location, location, location. Event photography is all about the location, so even when familiar with a place, it is wise to arrive early and check sight-lines. Sit low to the ground on a curb or a chair for good angles. Don't forget about the background to the runners. Try and get in a landmark, failing that something nice and colourful - spectators, trees, balloon arches etc

5. Clothes and Comfort

Full waterproof clothes and boots. I’ve lost track of the number of photographers I’ve seen at events that are not kitted out for inclement weather. Especially in the UK, things can change pretty quick and often there won't be time to return to a car to get a forgotten jacket. Also a stool or chair can make things a little easier - remember often you will in the same place for hours, so make it easy on yourself.

6. Food and Drink

Bring along enough energy drinks and food to keep you going through the day. You won't have time to disappear off to the cafe or pub, so sort out your own supplies. Marathon runners don’t stop for lunch and neither do I.

Final words for successfully photographing marathons

Technically shooting marathons is tough. The goal is to get as many shots as perfect as possible to increase the chances of a sale. And while some companies ask you to 'machine gun' the participants - remember its quality that sells rather than quantity.

 Six tips for photography marathons for photographers

Liverpool marathon runner appearing out of the Mersey tunnel Event photography tips - Liverpool Marathon

Liverpool based sports photographer gives tips on getting great photos

Better event photography tips London Marathon

 

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Tags: marathons, marathon, sports, events

Author: David Colbran

I love photographing conferences. There’s always a lot of people mingling and networking and some interesting speakers. Check another busy day at the ACC Centre in Liverpool.

Conference photography at the ACC Centre in Liverpool

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Merseyside based expert David J Colbran has been working as an event photographer at some of the biggest marathon events in the world, check his tips for fellow professionals.
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