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Tips for taking pictures of motorcycles

 
  #1  
Old 01-27-2015, 02:19 PM
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Default Tips for taking pictures of motorcycles

I enjoy looking at pictures of motorcycles, plus I look at a lot of them for buying and selling. I have seen some really good artistic pictures and some really really bad ones. I am not a hobbyist photographer, but I've learned a few simple practical tips for getting good pictures. I will add a couple of tips, but I would really like to learn some tips from you folks who are good at taking good motorcycle photographs. Maybe this will even be turned into a sticky, but I invite all to contribute a tip or two.

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 a 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 your 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. Iím 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.

Beary
 
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:12 PM
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I see pics on CL all the time of bikes taken in a garage full of stuff crowding the bike so much you can't even see all of it.
 
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:21 PM
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Some good points there beary. I'll try to remember those the next time I'm out. I will quite often get some really good shots and then some really bad shots of the same bike but I can never seem to identify why some look better than others and your pointers might be the missing link. Thanks.
 
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by beary View Post
I enjoy looking at pictures of motorcycles, plus I look at a lot of them for buying and selling. I have seen some really good artistic pictures and some really really bad ones. I am not a hobbyist photographer, but I've learned a few simple practical tips for getting good pictures. I will add a couple of tips, but I would really like to learn some tips from you folks who are good at taking good motorcycle photographs. Maybe this will even be turned into a sticky, but I invite all to contribute a tip or two.

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 a 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 your 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.

Beary
Thanks for the tips. My favorite camera is my iPhone. I'm still looking for the perfect pic of my 09 Sportster and I'll try some of your suggestions. I still haven't posted any pics here and I'm looking forward to it. The next step will be to learn the process to post photos on line, primarily this site and Facebook.

Ride Safe - Ride Smart


"He Who Lives In Joy Does His Creator's Will".
The Baal Shem Tov, Founder of Chasidic Judaism... ca. 1750's
 
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:39 PM
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Hmmmmm. An iPhone is not a camera and a camera is not a phone. That's my tip.
 
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by chuckw2 View Post
I see pics on CL all the time of bikes taken in a garage full of stuff crowding the bike so much you can't even see all of it.
I have asked sellers to get some outside shots. Seems some people are very proud of the washer and dryer. "Oh, and could you leave the lampshade off the tank please?".

I am customizing an Evo, so I've been looking at a lot of customized Harley pictures. I saw one the other day that the background showed the motorcycle off perfectly. It had just enough texture to show the lines without distracting away from the bike. I wanted that background for my motorcycle shots, but I couldn't figure out what the background was. Turns out that the owner shoved a sheet of 4x8 plywood around the bike to take the pictures. He has several bikes in his shop and finds it easier to move the plywood than moving the other bikes out of the way. Looked professional to me.

I'm going to do that with my next bikes because it really enhansed the bike and that light could be controlled indoors.

Beary
 
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:45 PM
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Thanks for sharing some good tips. I tend to hide my bad photography with some editing in Picasa. I will try to remember these tips next time I'm out riding.
 
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Old 01-27-2015, 05:45 PM
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Good points especially having a clean background. Also keep the front wheel straight for side pics. Put a block under the stand to bring it upright.
Just my $.02.
 
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Old 01-27-2015, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by hogcowboy View Post
Hmmmmm. An iPhone is not a camera and a camera is not a phone. That's my tip.
Take some pics with an iPhone and a midrange camera. You can't tell the difference.
 
  #10  
Old 01-27-2015, 05:48 PM
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A topless model sitting on the bike will really bring out the details
 
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