Here’s How to Take Great Pictures of Your Harley

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Harley Photography

Thanks to these tips, you don’t have to buy a fancy camera or take night classes to snap great pics of your Harley.

Let’s face it – few of us are what you might call professional photographers. Chances are, you don’t even own a camera and probably rely on your cell phone for picture taking. You have no clue what aperture or depth of field are. And that’s perfectly fine, because most of us aren’t looking to spend thousands of dollars on camera equipment or kick off a new career as a shutter bug. But we do want to know how to take great pictures of our Harley motorcycles at the very least, right?

Thankfully, you can actually do that without going to some trade school or buying a fancy camera. Thanks to a series of awesome tips from Harley-Davidson Forums member beary, which he was kind enough to share with us in this thread. The OP admits that he isn’t exactly a professional photographer himself, but he has learned a thing or two over the years he’s been taking Harley pics.

Harley Photography

“When taking a picture of the whole bike from the side, shoot it at tank level to get the best detail and profile. Front and back shots look better from about a foot above the tank level.

Same tip goes for zoomed-in shots of specific parts of the bike like the engine, oil bag or saddle bags. Of course if a look down angle shot helps show off the detail like engraving, then of course do it. But rarely does the angle need to be more than 30 degrees maximum.

Always try to take the picture with the sun or the light coming from behind you. Shadows loose the details of the motorcycle. I know that may require moving the bike around, but it is worth it to get good shots. 

Sparkling chrome looks great, but too much can be too much. Using the early morning or late afternoon sun can defuse the light enough to show off the chrome without taking away from the rest of the bike. I’m sure others here have some suggestions to help there. 

For selling the bike, I find that four profile shots are plenty to show the bike. But take the front and back shot from a slight angle to the side to give the shot more perspective. 

I find that unless the subject of your photo is the area around or behind the bike like the Grand Canyon or Monument Valley, the more simple the background, the better. I ride around looking for building walls because they lack detail in most cases that distract or confuse the motorcycle lines.”

Harley Photography

As great as those tips are, several other members, including booch, chime in with more.

“If you really want to see the bike, the less background the better. It is also good to keep the bike away from the background and shoot from as far away as possible with telephoto if you have it. This blurs the background.

Just before sundown or early morning gives the best light, it is less harsh. Bright sun causes lots of glare, especially on chrome or black bikes. A flash can help if you have one. But it needs to be deflected to cut the harshness and bounce back from the shiny surfaces of the bike. Also watch for your own reflection in the bike, unless you want that. I am constantly making that mistake.”

So if you want to take better pictures of your Harley, this thread is definitely worth the read. There are loads of great tips here for the budding photographer. Even if you don’t own a bunch of fancy equipment!

Join the Harley-Davidson Forums now!

Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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