I don’t have a proper camera, I just use my iPhone for my blog photos. And I have no traning in photography, but in the interests of making this blog look better, I have taught myself a few things about photographing bikes, and I still don’t always get it right. However, a number of techniques can greatly improve photos taken with just the phone. The following photo was taken directly after the photo at the top of this post and in the same light …Using the touch screen to select the point of focus makes a large difference. The same technique was applied in the following two photos …While the difference in lighting is not as dramatic as the first example, a difference is still obvious. The reflective surface of the bell also allows for some interesting photographic opportunities, which I did not really take full advantage of in this instance, but there are many possibilities if you have nice shiny components.
Consideration of the backdrop for bike photos is also important, as a large part of the photo ends up being the background rather than the bike, so it pays to make the backgrounds interesting and varied. I always like the beach, gardens or flowers and old fences as backdrops, especially if the fence has graffiti on it or is architecturally interesting. If you can get a nice winding road in the background, leading to the bike, and your bike is nice and shiny and the photo is taken at dawn, you have really hit the jackpot, I have never managed to do this yet.
Positioning of components of the bike are also important in order to get a photo that will appeal to cyclists. The cranks should be either horizontal or in the 10 past the hour position. If the crank the closest to the camera is in the back position, the bike just looks odd and the photo lacks a dynamic quality, as if the bike is being pedalled backwards. It’s also good to get the pedals flat, though I could not make mine stay flat in the photos above. It’s also important to take photos from the drive side, there is more interest there. These are things I often forget to do, and there are many instances in this blog where you will see examples of bad photography. I am learning as I go along. Sometimes, however, a good photo will emerge from a batch where mistakes were made ….
I made sure the pedals were in the right position before taking this photo, along with quite a few others, before realising that the drive train was on the wrong side! But I love the light in the photo and the way the reflective tyres are glowing. Such effects can be even more dramatic in darker conditions with a flash.
The best light to take photos in, though, is natural light around dawn or dusk, or on overcast or rainy days. There is a short window of time, when the sun is just disappearing or appearing, when your subject will positively glow through the camera’s lens, while looking quite ordinary when viewed without the camera. That is the time to start snapping!