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Shoot your bike – Part 1


Posted on July 29, 2010 by Andrew in Other. 10 comments

Thanks to the Simpsons, we’re all familiar with the concept of “beer goggles”. That’s when alcohol impairs our judgment to make something that’s not so great look amazing. But here at Pipeburn we suffer from the opposite problem, which we call “blur goggles”. This is where amazing bikes are made to look really average thanks to lack-luster photography.
So in an attempt to help you get your photography skills on par with your bike-building skills, we’d like to present to you the first in our two part series on taking better photos of motorcycles.
First up, what NOT to do.
Busy backgrounds. It’s easy to focus on your beautiful motorbike through that viewfinder and not really concern yourself with anything else. But when we look at the results, all we see is the weird-ass tree growing out of your bike’s seat. So when you set up your next shot, make sure that the scene behind the bike is not stealing your thunder, or better still, use depth of field to keep the bike in focus and the rest of the shot soft.
Poor lighting. The world’s best photographers all have one core skill in common – they know how to achieve a great look by playing with how their subject is lit. So instead of the midday sun, what about more interesting options like morning or evening sun? Or a street light at night? Or using an everyday concrete path to bounce light upwards from underneath the bike?
(The CB750 pictured below is an example of not having enough light. Nice bike and GTO though)
The no-brainer. Next time you feel the need to share your obsession with the world, why not spend a little more time making the photo look a bit special. As a general rule, if you end up with something that looks like a photo you’d see on Ebay Motors then there’s something wrong.
Poor Photoshop. If you’re going to use Photoshop to modify your shots after you’ve taken them, remember this popular photographer’s adage – “If you can tell the image has been Photoshopped, then it hasn’t been Photoshopped properly.” The example is so bad I can’t even post it on Pipeburn but here’s the link (be warned it may cause headaches).
Obvious clichés. Need we say more?