Who hasn’t been looking for locations to take the best pictures of their bike? It’s something we’ve all done sooner or later, and it doesn’t matter if we’re on a new bike, one that’s been left behind or one we’ve been riding all our lives.
The normal thing when we go out with the bike is that at most we have the mobile phone on us, so it will be the tool we use to capture that moment (as long as you are not a photographic geek and you go with a reflex). In this list you can follow a series of tips that will guide you when photographing your bike and get its best profile.
There is no written rule when it comes to choosing the best location for our bike. Think about what kind of bike you have and according to that go looking for places. For example, if you have a Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin, its terrain is the countryside and not so much the city, so it makes more sense to look for roads and mountains. Same thing for a scooter: its terrain is the city so don’t take it to a field full of crows. Although we insist, for taste, colors, and photography can give a lot of play, as long as it is done with your head.
When choosing a background, you have to think that what is really interesting is the bike, not what is behind it. So you have to avoid choosing something that takes your eyes off your mount. Colours are important here too, so if your bike is green, for example, don’t go straight to the grass and look for contrast with a background that has a different colour, so that it stands out more.
Study well the composition of each photo
The technology on the mobile phone makes it very easy to take a photo in just a few steps. However, you must have some basic notions of where to place each element when taking a photo. In photography, there is a rule of thirds: imagine that we divide an image into nine equal squares and photograph the bike in the corners of the central square. That’s where our eyes usually go.
Help yourself to the objects around you so that they guide our eyes to the final objective, which must be our motorbike. For example, if we are in the middle of two buildings, these can help us frame the bike so that our attention goes to it. This is what is known as the vanishing point in an image.
Light is fundamental in photography
In photography a fundamental part is the illumination and depending on the time of day, if we are outdoors, we will have a warmer and softer or harder light. If you look for the first thing, the hour of the dawn or the sunset can be very interesting to find a softer plane. However, keep in mind that you will have more shade on the ground when the sun is over the horizon.
If you take the photo at the hottest time of day, between 14:00 and 17:00, is when the sun will be more above us and therefore the shadows will go directly against the ground and the light will be much harder. If you want to emphasize the contours of the bike, better choose the first or last hours of the day.
Clean the lens first, focus and shoot
Although it may be a bit of a truism, we use the mobile phone for a lot of things and not always with clean hands, so before taking any photo, clean the lens first (remember, better in circles). With the mobile we can select an object with our finger so that it stays in focus. It is always better to do this so that the camera understands what you want to photograph.
There is a manual mode in mobile phone cameras where we can select which parameters we can adjust like ISO, white balance, aperture or shutter speed. From there we can play with focus and depth of field. When we take a picture of your bike, it is interesting that the picture is in focus so that the background is in the background.
Framing can make our bike more powerful
A good trick is to bend down so that the camera is at the same level as the bike’s tank. This way the frame gets more presence. In fact, the more you bend over, the more powerful your bike looks. It’s a rule that’s also used in the cinema, when you want to make a character stand out with character.
Don’t forget that it is generally better not to take photos vertically. This way you will follow the horizontal lines that this type of two-wheeled vehicle already has. Browne himself advises that motorcycles look very good if they are photographed in three quarters, that is, that you can see both the headlight and the side of the bike. You can also take advantage of a stone or a piece of wood to place the goat’s foot on it so that our frame is not so inclined.
Try out different sites and plans
In the language of photography there are many more shots than the general one, so you don’t have to take all the pictures by taking several steps backwards. Maybe there’s an element of the bike you want to highlight. That’s when you could resort to the foreground, focusing on the part of the bike that interests you most.
If you’re looking for THE PHOTO, don’t just take a snapshot. Take lots of them, that’s the good thing about digital format, that we don’t have to limit ourselves to a film of 36 photos. Don’t stay in one location either. If you see more interesting areas along the route, stop and spend a few minutes, if you have time. The experience has also made us understand that many times the most spectacular places are not at first sight. You have to look for them.
This last point is in case you want to finish the photo to make it look even better. Photo retouching is something very common that all photographers use to improve their images. However, you have to keep in mind that Lightroom and Photoshop (two programs, to say the least) are not magic and not everything can be fixed easily. For example, if there was a traffic sign in the background of an image, we could have covered it up with the mirror of our bike, thus saving a lot of editing time.
In the final touches, if you only have a few minutes to devote to highlighting the colours of your bike, improve the lights and shadows a little bit to make it stand out more and add some more contrast if necessary. With all these tips you have a basic guide on how to start getting the most out of your bike and show it off on the social networks.