Shooting my first Marathon

shutteractionsshutteractions Beginner GrinnerPosts: 21Registered Users Big grins
edited January 5, 2010 in Sports
Hi,
I'm shooting my first Marathon next week. I have shot a lot of action sports but mainly baseball, football and soccer. If anyone has information they would like to share with me regarding photographing marathon runners I would appreciate it. What is the best lens to use?

Thank you in advance!

Comments

  • BradfordBennBradfordBenn Constantly Amazed Posts: 2,506Registered Users Major grins
    edited December 29, 2009
    These questions are kind of wide open, I am by no means an expert but my question to kind of help the conversation. Are you shooting it to document the run for the participants, promo shots of the marathon, news coverage, fixed position or moving?

    Those can kind of answer a few questions. When I have run in some events, they have had five or six photogs that one runs toward and they snap away to get lots of people. They are typically all by the finish line. What ends up happening with some of those shots is that they are not the best composition they are just doing for bulk to be able to sell the pictures to the runners. So that is a different need than one doing promo or news shots.

    So while that doesn't answer the question, it might help others who know more than I do to point you in the right direction if they have more info.
    -=Bradford

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  • BuddyLeeBuddyLee I love lamp! Posts: 71Registered Users Big grins
    edited December 29, 2009
    I agree with what is said below. It really does depend on your shooting goals. I shoot a lot of running, cycling and triathlon. The running events are hardest if you are trying to get a photo of every person. Unless your position is dictated, find a good location with good background and shoot away. Some shots will have 30 runners in them, some will come out beautiful. Even if trying to catch as many runners as possible, shoot for emotion, something that tells each persons story as they run. Try to recognize if they are running with a buddy, struggling, etc and capture that the best you can. At least with runners, you have time as they aren't moving very fast. And always be patient. The best stories are at the back of the pack!
    These questions are kind of wide open, I am by no means an expert but my question to kind of help the conversation. Are you shooting it to document the run for the participants, promo shots of the marathon, news coverage, fixed position or moving?

    Those can kind of answer a few questions. When I have run in some events, they have had five or six photogs that one runs toward and they snap away to get lots of people. They are typically all by the finish line. What ends up happening with some of those shots is that they are not the best composition they are just doing for bulk to be able to sell the pictures to the runners. So that is a different need than one doing promo or news shots.

    So while that doesn't answer the question, it might help others who know more than I do to point you in the right direction if they have more info.
  • shutteractionsshutteractions Beginner Grinner Posts: 21Registered Users Big grins
    edited December 29, 2009
    More information
    Hi,
    thank you both for your replies. Yes I will be one of the photographers trying to get everyones picture to sell on a web-site. I will have a set position. I guess I'm wondering what lens would be best, should I use a flash for fill, should I use two camera, one with a 70-200 the other with a 24-85? and any advise you can give me.

    Thank you
  • jonh68jonh68 Major grins Posts: 2,720Registered Users Major grins
    edited December 29, 2009
    It sounds like you are going to be part of crew doing this. Without going to much farther, whoever you are doing this for will probably tell you what kind of shots to get.

    Using the 70-200 is a must. The 28-85 will be great for wide angle group shots. I can tell you just don't make things complicated. Unless you are covering the finish line, I wouldn't worry about fill flash, just shoot. Above all, just shoot how you normally do. Find a spot with the best light, background, and shoot away.
  • hope4aulhope4aul Beginner grinner Posts: 4Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited December 30, 2009
    As a runner, I have been most open to having my photo taken at the start of the race or at the end. There is almost nothing worse than seeing a photographer in the middle of a (long) race course! For a marathon, perhaps a mile out from the finish line might get some good emotions as runners will have started to pick it up a bit and bite through the pain.

    The general rule of thumb is that a runner can put forth a huge effort for around 90 seconds. Without doing the math, let's estimate that at 1 block prior to the finish line you will see runners give everything they have to knock a second off of their finish time or beat a person in front of them. That said, if you can be behind the finish line, be there!

    If you are marketing (selling) your photos to the runners, shoot runners who look strong. Runners don't want to be reminded of a weak race effort - keep in mind that this does not mean that those who end up walking are weak.

    As a photographer, I found that using a normal lens (say 55mm) vs. a longer lens (say 200mm), worked better capturing a single runner. The problem I ran into a the longer lengths was that it was too close and I would miss the runner. 55mm gave me enough room to play as runners approached me. As a previous poster mentioned, wider allowed me to shoot several runners together which is always good.

    My experience as both runner and photographer is that runners photograph better in portrait mode vs. landscape. Also, check out some running pictures. Good luck!

    Rochelle
    www.rochelleg.smugmug.com
  • MT StringerMT Stringer Major grins Posts: 225Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 5, 2010
    hope4aul wrote:
    As a runner, I have been most open to having my photo taken at the start of the race or at the end. There is almost nothing worse than seeing a photographer in the middle of a (long) race course! For a marathon, perhaps a mile out from the finish line might get some good emotions as runners will have started to pick it up a bit and bite through the pain.

    The general rule of thumb is that a runner can put forth a huge effort for around 90 seconds. Without doing the math, let's estimate that at 1 block prior to the finish line you will see runners give everything they have to knock a second off of their finish time or beat a person in front of them. That said, if you can be behind the finish line, be there!

    If you are marketing (selling) your photos to the runners, shoot runners who look strong. Runners don't want to be reminded of a weak race effort - keep in mind that this does not mean that those who end up walking are weak.

    As a photographer, I found that using a normal lens (say 55mm) vs. a longer lens (say 200mm), worked better capturing a single runner. The problem I ran into a the longer lengths was that it was too close and I would miss the runner. 55mm gave me enough room to play as runners approached me. As a previous poster mentioned, wider allowed me to shoot several runners together which is always good.

    My experience as both runner and photographer is that runners photograph better in portrait mode vs. landscape. Also, check out some running pictures. Good luck!

    Rochelle
    www.rochelleg.smugmug.com
    I shot a high school cross country state track meet. The way the track was laid out, a lot of the runners came by once and then came back to the finish line where I was set up. I also got to shoot the start because it was nearby also. So, I would walk over, shoot the start then return to the finish line. I used a 100-400L exclusively for the whole day. I also had a 17-40 set up on a 40D on a low mount tripod that captured some of the last second action as the runners were straining to get to the finish line.

    Since I don't have control over who bought what, I do know several of the starting line shots sold as well as some of the finish line shots. I don't know if any of the wide angle shot sold or not.

    It was also my first time to shoot this type of event. I think I wound up with about 4500 shots for the day (1A thru 5A Boys and Girls).
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