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I think we have all seen how much different bikes looks when they are photographed by some one who knows what they are doing.

Figured I would start this up for us to share tips and tricks so that when we all post pictures they meet the objective of displaying the bike in a cool light.
 
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This is something I'm interested in. Thanks for bringing it up. Some of my thoughts/tips...
Personally I think bikes are hard to photograph. Unlike a building, car or even a person, there's not much mass or surface area if that makes sense.
In my humble, non-expert opinion I believe the best way to photograph a bike (to strictly show the bike) is straight from the side against a solid backdrop. Try and keep everything aligned so it doesn't distort the bike. I generally don't use the kickstand and place the handlebar against the backdrop to hold the bike up. You may have to photograph from slight front and rear angles to show some features. I do like to mix up the backdrops I use. Use the camera's automatic setting. I think that's the simplest thing to do to get a good picture. If you have a cluttered background it's hard to distinguish what's part of of the bike and what's not. Camera's, settings. depth of field etc.. is a whole other story. Photographing bikes amongst other bikes is really tough.

One of my favorite things to do is ride a newly finished bike around looking for good backdrops to photograph it.

The way I generally do it.
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Hi guys! I was here a very long time ago(5 years ago) under another name which I honestly don't remember. I built a bike that I loved, I still have it and ride it. Its the one pictured below, some of you might remember it. Since this a photo thread I thought Id share. I have a style I use to light what I shoot, mostly cars, it's called Lightpainting.

Here is an exmple.

Blackhand Cycles by Scotte Photography, on Flickr

Here is a shot I just did for udallcustombikes, this last week.

Camerons Colson by Scotte Photography, on Flickr

Id love to give some tips and things to think about for shooting bikes on a daily basis, but since this is my business I can't give away ALL my secrets!
 
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If anyone is wanting to get into Photography of Bikes or still objects like this..it is VERY easy to do. Investment in Good equipment is the most important..of course learning the way photos should be taken in relationship to how you want it to look also helps. PRACTICE PRACTICE...thats the key. And with digital photography...it's doesn't cost much to shoot until you can shoot no more. Once you learn the basics..then it's time to go to the imaging part which seems is the BIG thing now. Photoshop is the new best friend of many photographers. I started many years ago with REAL film and learned to shoot correctly because fixing it when you got home just wasn't an option.

Anyway...PAinting with light is fun...long exposures..small Aperatures...and a secondary light source such a flashlight. VEry easy to do..and playing with it is the fun part. A fish eye lens or a really wide angle lens will give you the super close yet very wide looking photo you see most of the time. Once again..invest in good equipment. A good lens is everything

Photography is a learned Art..it's fun and just about every stay at home Mom/ Dad is a Photographer now a days. If you spend the time learning....ANYONE can do it.

I do mostly Nature and Sports..but i did one shoot for a friend..not a bicycle..but a BIKE..think i may just get more into this Bicycle photography thing

bike1-1.jpg


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Rat Rod

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A lot of it has to do with lighting. I usually take my shots in the evening as the sun is going down with a solid (non busy) background.

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Here's an exception...took this one at about 11am, but the overall composition worked with the direct sunlight.

moto1_1200.jpg
 
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Painting is fun, I have never used a flash light it's a little to small of a source for me. I used to use this. Its a 20'x20' silk screen. mostly for cars though. I use a smaller source than that at the moment, I can hold it and and have much more control over the light I put on the subject. Cars are mostly something that I paint hand held though. Bicycles take being painted very well.


z4setup72 by Scotte Photography, on Flickr

Lightpainted 50 Merc

Oz Welch, 1950 Merc, Its not a model! by Scotte Photography, on Flickr
 
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This was a static light. meaning it never moved in the image. A wide open Ap of 1.8 at 50mm. The lens cost was all of $104. It doesnt HAVE to be expenisive to shoot well. it takes lots of real world experience. That being said, I have a few lenses that run upwards of 5,000 each. my favorite lens is a 14mm 2.8 Nikkor Prime, the industries only "Ultra Wide Rectalinear" Lens. It keeps straight lines straight and curved lines curved. It's not one of the cheap ones.

By the way, the shot I did of the Colson for Udallcustombikes above? It was done with the cheap, "Nifty-Fifty" or "Plastic-Fantastic" 50mm/1.8 from Nikon.

Static light, 50/1.8 at 1.8, handheld.

Skip Tooth Chain Ring by Scotte Photography, on Flickr

This is the 14/2.8, shes a monster.

14mm 2.8 Nikkor by Scotte Photography, on Flickr
 
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USABIKE1.jpg


USABIKE3.jpg


DId a couple shots today at a 911 Memorial In Tempe. Was an amazing scene yet very sad. All those Flags were beautiful....but to see it up close you know each flag means a death. Kinda gripping when you think how lucky we are to be able to play around with our bikes like we do. Now THATS real world experience right there..Flags flying to HONOR the MEN and Women who died.

So these photos i took..i put them in a program just to play around with it a bit.
 
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naturephotoboy3 said:
now those are some nice ..clean photos. Nice lighting. Good shots...and nice bikes. Very clean..do you like TOPAZ??? ha ha ..not sure what that is

Thanks, Ive been doing photography for a while. I dont use any topaz products (photoshop plugins), like that HDR effect you have on your pictures. I just use Adobe Lightroom and prime lenses.
Cheers,
J
 
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jasper87 said:
naturephotoboy3 said:
now those are some nice ..clean photos. Nice lighting. Good shots...and nice bikes. Very clean..do you like TOPAZ??? ha ha ..not sure what that is

Thanks, Ive been doing photography for a while. I dont use any topaz products (photoshop plugins), like that HDR effect you have on your pictures. I just use Adobe Lightroom and prime lenses.
Cheers,
J

AH..I WAS not familiar with TOPAZ. I have Photomatrix and a Tiffen program. The HDR is a fun thing to play with. Id never use it for anything i was going to sell. It's just a weird little gadget to have fun with. Some times it offends some of the not so laid back Photographers as you can see. I do like your bikes...nice shots.
 
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HDR is a cool technique, but I feel it has to be used in moderation and with a discreet touch... Like seasoning on a nice meal, its real easy to add too much salt :lol: To get the best results I usually bracket at least 3 shots and combine them in the HDR software. You should try playing with maps and levels too... lots of fun (for a photo geek :oops: ) and worlds of possibilities! And I cant stress what a difference a good lens makes i.e. prime f/2.8 or lower.
I really like the flower planter bike pic tho, its got a cool ethereal water color feel to it.
Cheers.
 
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