This past summer, I had the opportunity of being a model for two of Ian MacLellan’s run photo shoots. Ian is a Boston-based portrait, travel, and adventure photographer, who is also an accomplished runner. He reached out to me to be a model for his shoots since he is expanding his running photography portfolio in hopes of gaining more athletic company assignments. Our first shoot was in Western Massachusetts with filmmaker Dylan Ladds of Dooster and runner Lindsay Smith. We explored the trails, cow pastures, and hills of Amherst, Hadley, and Belchertown, MA. My second shoot with Ian was a month later in Boston with fellow MA Volée team member, Lauren Lanier, along the Charles River and through the streets of Cambridge.
My takeaways? Here are five lessons I’d like to share with my bird family, in the event that you are invited to be a run model OR decide to stage your own running photography adventure!
Be prepared to fartlek.
Fartlek is a runner’s term for speed play. During a photo shoot, you have to start and stop A LOT. Sometimes Ian would ask me to run fast for 200 meters and other times run at an easy pace for five minutes. Both photo shoots turned into unexpected fartlek workouts, with periods of running and traveling between photo locations.
Work your feminine fierce face.
Don’t be afraid to tap into your inner lion. I read that shero Lauren Fleshman visualizes an image of a courageous lion when the going gets tough during races. A photoshoot can be a long day in the spotlight. When I felt tired or unfocused, I brought my mind back to the image of the lion and channeled my feminine fierce.
The moments you least expect, are often the most beautiful.
It wasn’t until after both photo shoots that I saw the pictures. I was surprised to find that some of the moments that I did not anticipate to have captured well, were in fact, the most powerful images. These photos were often taken by Ian without me even realizing it— the true mark of a stealthy professional photographer!
When in doubt, laugh at yourself.
In both shoots, Ian asked me to jump in place. At first I thought he was joking, but soon realized it was a photographer’s trick to change my facial expression. As I began jumping, I burst into laughter because the nearby cows were mooing at me, I lack vertical jumping height (as a distance runner), and I was reminded that I take myself too seriously.
Run buds are the best.
I highly recommend having a running buddy to be photographed alongside with! Both Lindsay and Lauren were a blast to fartlek, laugh, and run with. As a fellow bird, Lauren and I spent a lot of the shoot discussing our excitement over the growth of the Oiselle Volée Team, Roga Shorts versus Distance Shorts, and our own running stories. Run modeling is a wonderful way to make a new run bud and have the experience be captured along the way.
Deep gratitude to Oiselle for supporting the shoots with threads, Ian for his ability to capture the unexpected beautiful moments, and Lindsay and Lauren for being my run buds. If you have the chance, run model or set up your own running photo adventure— reach out and share what lessons you learn with the bird family!
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