It’s the beginning of a new season, and lots of new gear keeps arriving at the service course each day. We love to share photos of all our cool gear with fans of the team, so I have been taking lots of photos and sharing them on our social media pages. Now that the first of the 2017 team bikes is built up, a lust-worthy bright orange KTM Revelator Prestige, I’ve been taking photos of the complete bike. I’m writing this blog to share a few little tricks I use to make the bikes look good and your photos look like the shots from the pros.
So with out further ado, this is how I like to set up and take photos of my bike.
Step 1 – Location, location, location: Find the right spot for your shot. A beautiful back ground is nice, but make sure the focus remains on your beautiful machine. Watch out for distracting lines running through your photo…you should be focusing on the lines of your bike! If you’re shooting from a camera with manual settings, you can blur out a distracting background by shooting with a shallow depth of field. Set the camera to aperture priority mode, and open it all the way up (The lowest aperture number on your camera, which will be something like 1.8).
Step 2 – Lighting: This really should go without saying, but light makes the picture. Bike photos turn out best with soft light. Wait for a cloud to block the sun. Take your photos at sunrise or sunset. Think about where the light is coming from. If the light looks beautiful to you, it’ll likely look beautiful in your photos too!
Step 3 – Bike set-up: Here is the nitty gritty of the proper way to set up your bike, and there are lots of little things to get right. Following all of these steps will make you bike photoshoot look deliberately set-up. 1) Shoot the drive-side of the bike. 2) Put your bike in the biggest gear you have. Big chainring in the front and smallest cog on your cassette in the back. 3) Align the logo of you tire with the valve stem. 4) Put your cranks in the horizontal position, with the drive side pointing forward and parallel with your chain stay 5) Align the logos of your wheels so they’re legible. Usually the logo should be at the top. 6) Make sure your handlebars are pointing straight.
Step 4 – Positioning your bike: There are many different positions that are good for shooting your bike. Leaning up against a wall. Using the pedal to prop the bike against a curb. Leaning against a tree. Using a stick to prop the bike up. Etc. But my favorite, and the most fun to shoot, is “ghosting” your bike. To do this, get a friend to hold up your bike as you get ready with your camera. Have your friend let go of the bike, get his hands out of the way, and then take your photo of the bike standing up with no one around…like it’s being held by a ghost! Then make sure your buddy catches the bike before it falls, because no photo is worth a broken or scratched bike.
Step 5 – The shot: Once your bike is set up to your liking, take the photo already! I tend to think bike shots look better when you crouch down and take the shot at a level at or below the top tube of your bike. This makes your bike appear big and important, and we all know bikes are important!
Don’t avoid taking photos because you don’t think your photos are good enough. Any photo you take is better than not having a photo to begin with. My final advice is to have fun with it all, and to take photos of your bike often. Bikes are fun, and taking photos of your bike reminds you how much fun you had on the ride!
If you take a photo of your bike and post it to Instagram, tag it with #h24cycling and you’ll see it pop up on our website at the bottom of the page here: https://h24cycling.com/photos/