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How To Photograph A Bike

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How To Photograph A Bike

Old 05-25-16, 02:59 PM
  #26  
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The older photo posts on BF are slowly bit-rotting away as links break.

Some of 55/Rad's photo postings are still working.

Orbea Orca thread from 2008:







From the interesting Chrome-a-rama thread, 2006, a chrome Pinarello:




Here's the studio setup he used, after hours. Professional lighting.

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Old 05-25-16, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
The face of your camera lens should be vertical and should be at the same height as the bike.
This plus a long lens and shallow depth of field can work together nicely. The shallow DOF isn't necessary, but can put focus on the bike.

But I need to go and do this for my bike I posted in the MTB dropcar conversion thread. I only took one quick shot of the finished project and it's a wide angle looking down, so it's all out of proportion. Doesn't give a proper display of the build.

And of course timing the light is helpful. The old "magic hour" photographer's trick of dusk or dawn lighting to avoid harsh shadows. That or a cloudy day.
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Old 05-25-16, 03:03 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by w1gfh
Here's three others I thought were imaginative in terms of setting and "story". Can I help it if I like the old 3 speeds as subject matter? (credit goes to rideblog.wordpress.com...who also used to be a member here)

reflecting pools are a classic technique, although not many would think of using a basketball court! Extra points for that!

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Old 05-25-16, 03:04 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by w1gfh
this is a different category of photography. it's a beautiful photo, but it doesn't provide the detail of the bike we're looking for.

this is the kind of photo you might frame as opposed to using as the primary photo in a catalogue, advert, or bf post to highlight the build details.
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Old 05-25-16, 03:06 PM
  #30  
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https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...fect-shot.html



but sometimes the setting suits


I used this as it was less can be more, and the setting seemed right.

the build details had already been fully described

Last edited by Big Block; 05-25-16 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 05-25-16, 03:07 PM
  #31  
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More 55/Rad.
I found these with Google Image Search: site:bikeforums.net 55/rad and with more words like "studio"

~~~

Another good thread: C&V Italian Stallions ! 2008.

including



From road cycling Starting the OFFICIAL Steel club thread, 2006. Some of these are getting to be vintage.

Outdoors.


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Old 05-25-16, 03:08 PM
  #32  
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On a recent cloudy day, I took a few pics of one of my bikes. I like the background in general for the diffuse light and natural setting, but the colors really seemed to work out well for this bike...



As mentioned before, some detail shots with the background out of focus help a lot too...



I'll add that if you take photos in the shade or on a cloudy day, change the camera's white balance setting to match.


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Old 05-25-16, 03:09 PM
  #33  
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garage door backdrops are awful.

stop it.
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Old 05-25-16, 03:12 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by w1gfh
Here's three others I thought were imaginative...
definitely imaginitive. but they're more about the background than the bike. and one breaks the number one rule of displaying the drive side. so, they're a different kind of photography.

i do like this one a lot, and i think it gets everything we're striving for mostly right.

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Old 05-25-16, 03:23 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy
those are really pretty. i don't quite like the bike lean of the top one. sometimes it's hard to find the right tree with a more narrow base. and you bring up a great point about aperture setting and bokeh.
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Old 05-25-16, 03:33 PM
  #36  
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When you take garage door shots don't lean the bike so the handlebar and rear wheel touch the door. Stand the bike up so both wheels are parallel to the door and lent it against the handlebar.

Valve stem behind fork/rear stay, big/small, crank arm lined up with seat tube.
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Old 05-25-16, 03:36 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by eschlwc
those are really pretty. i don't quite like the bike lean of the top one. sometimes it's hard to find the right tree with a more narrow base. and you bring up a great point about aperture setting and bokeh.

When selling a bike, there is a lot of value to having the camera perpendicular to the plane of the frame, so as to keep everything the same distance from the camera and thereby keeping everything at the same scale and minimizing distortion... and I'm not sure that I'm using the correct terms... rats.

It also helps to use a long lens, both to keep the whole bike at the same relative distance from the camera, and to help put the background out of focus. This is where it helps to have a telephoto lens with a wide aperture.

here's another shot (of a different bike) with a pleasantly out of focus background...



and someone mentioned action shots?
This is more for general photography, but might provide a nice change of perspective for a potential buyer too...



to really impress someone, do it while riding no-hands on the rollers.
but seriously... find a quiet road, and do it early (or late) in the day to get the good cross lighting.


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Old 05-25-16, 03:39 PM
  #38  
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I think there are certain rules for informational photos but sometimes going up or down with the camera gives a nice perspective.



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Old 05-25-16, 03:44 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy
It also helps to use a long lens, both to keep the whole bike at the same relative distance from the camera, and to help put the background out of focus.
i never do that, because my long lens is cheap compared to my normal, shorter, wider lens. but i should get it out and experiment. i appreciate this tip, as more bokeh can lend a lot to a bike photo.
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Old 05-25-16, 03:47 PM
  #40  
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I try to get pics of all my bikes in the same position but have been working on other shots. I do that same pose for posterity. I got really good at Jeep action shots and outdoor shots but have a long way to go on bikes.

I took this because the bridge for the track had 1908 on it and I thought the tracks take you back as the old bike does. Just a test.



This one was I screwed up but didn't realize until I got home. I did a standard documenting type shot in the outdoors and there was water behind and I missed was trying to contrast the bright blue vs orange.



I have taken many pics without the bike looking for places and trying to get better. Recently I did the trip into town that has about 10 underpasses for the roads. I hope to make use of this. There is also great water and mountains but my phone does not cut it.


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Old 05-25-16, 03:50 PM
  #41  
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I really like the shots taken from the right rear position like the Masi above. Does anybody have thoughts on bottle cages..empty, loaded, or removed?
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Old 05-25-16, 03:51 PM
  #42  
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Uggghhh

I think I break all the rules.



The pedal can be handy with propping up the bike.

And, depending on one's ultimate goal, it can be as much about the background as the foreground.
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Old 05-25-16, 03:56 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by miamijim
... crank arm lined up with seat tube.
that's how i started out, as shown here with this '84 club fuji taken under a train bridge:



i thought it brought more action to the photo. (in art, diagonal lines represent 'action.')

but now i align the arms horizontally, with the drive side arm pointed forward. i think the bike looks much more natural this way.
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Old 05-25-16, 04:00 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by tmh657
I think there are certain rules for informational photos but sometimes going up or down with the camera gives a nice perspective.



I love both of these - probably because they're quite different from the norm. I especially like the heat waves blurring the rims/tires. Bravo!

I'm big on cropping (which is why my original pic still bugs me!), and in particular I like to center my bike in the photo if I'm doing a full-bike shot. Of course, cutting off any of the bike in a full-bike shot seems to be counterproductive and a big no-no. Obviously this wouldn't apply to close-up, detail photography.

However, I don't think too much about composition and the like every time I photograph my bike, but when I do...

Thanks for everyone's input so far, particularly about the depth of field stuff. I figured that might be something beyond the ability of my cameras

DD
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Old 05-25-16, 04:01 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by cliffordk
I think I break all the rules.
there's a flipper up here that posts all his bikes on craigs. he always takes drive-side pics unless it's obviously a lower-end model with an ugly crank, and he'll only post the nds. pretty funny.
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Old 05-25-16, 04:14 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by eschlwc
there's a flipper up here that posts all his bikes on craigs. he always takes drive-side pics unless it's obviously a lower-end model with an ugly crank, and he'll only post the nds. pretty funny.
Oh, that isn't a comment about my Franken-Litespeed is it... I'm deeply hurt

I suppose it depends on what your ultimate goal is. Selling the bike?

I think my bikes just like going Left
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Old 05-25-16, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tmh657
I think there are certain rules for informational photos but sometimes going up or down with the camera gives a nice perspective.



very nice! I think we need to amend the rules to include this statement: "Start with a beautiful bike".

I also note that a long-ish lens was used. As with portraits of people, I do think that using at least a moderately long lens helps. In addition to minimizing the distortion, it reduces the amount of distracting background.

The low point of view worked well too. I can't help but notice that there is some sort of magic going on at the bottom of the photo... how did you get your rims and tires to "melt"? I have to assume that there was some sort of thermal gradient?

Another detail that's not immediately obvious.. the light is rather diffuse, avoiding shadows and high contrast. Looks good!

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Old 05-25-16, 04:23 PM
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Cool - thanks for the link. Great stuff there

DD
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Old 05-25-16, 04:23 PM
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I'm just happy to get it in focus and not chop anything off LOL.
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Old 05-25-16, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
Oh, that isn't a comment about my Franken-Litespeed is it... I'm deeply hurt . I suppose it depends on what your ultimate goal is. Selling the bike?
i think my bikes just like going Left
when you mentioned breaking all the rules, i assumed that's what you were referring to.

nds photos should be all c&vers' pet peeve. why hide the best bits? shame? it's like expectantly opening up a playboy magazine and seeing the girls wearing burqas.

i did it too when i got my first road bike as an adult. i don't know why, but it appears to be human nature to point the bike to the left. i'll guess most craigs ads reflect this.
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