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Bike photography

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:47 pm
by Lots of steel bikes
A short while ago someone mentioned a couple of tips for taking better bike photos. Was it cranks horizontal and rear derailleur at full stretch? Any other tips? I think that bidon cages sometimes spoil the aesthetics of a bike. I'll never be a Ray Dobbins but I'd like to do a bit better.

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:01 pm
by GaryF
I like the rim decals to be in a similar orientation on both wheels as well as the valves. I like to see the biddon cage but I can see where it could be distracting. I like to see the RH crank arm pointing to around 2:30 o'clock or pointing down to continue the line of the seat tube.

Do I ever think of these things when I take a photo of a bike? No!

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:02 pm
by toolonglegs
Show us some of your examples to critic :P .
I haven't done many... quite like to do more but haven't got around to it.
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French 1940's velo / bicycle

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French 1940's velo / bicycle

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French 1940's velo / bicycle

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Simplex plunger/push-rod derailleur
French Cycling Components
Simplex Tour de France derailleur 1940's

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Simplex plunger/push-rod derailleur
French Cycling Components
Simplex Tour de France derailleur 1940's

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Simplex plunger/push-rod derailleur
French Cycling Components
Simplex Tour de France derailleur 1940's

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1984 Raymond Poulidor Bicycle

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:12 pm
by ldrcycles
toolonglegs wrote:
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Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:21 pm
by toolonglegs
:lol: If I can pull to bits one of these and reassemble it in a day...
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Don't think I will have much trouble with a SIMPLEx :P

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:30 pm
by Lots of steel bikes
[quote="toolonglegs"]Show us some of your examples to critic :P .

Well, this will be embarrassing!

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Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:37 pm
by toolonglegs
Location baby!... find a location that suits the bike.
If you have an SLR camera shoot it on a longer lense to blur out the back ground a bit and make the bike stand out a bit, it will also reduce the distortion that happens when shooting on a wider lense.
If you haven't got your own lighting ( most people )... shot it in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is a bit lower and the light is a bit warmer. It will make all the metal work sparkle.
Get photoshop or similar for the finishing touches :D .

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:44 pm
by ldrcycles
My most recent effort. I was hoping the location would suit.

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Or to follow the 'instagram' fad (although i did this on photobucket and i think it suits the bike)


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Oh and TLL, i took over a month to reassemble a SunTour VX GT once!

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:56 pm
by Clydesdale Scot
When this topic was discussed on LFGSS the comments were distilled to
Aesthetic examples:
Tyre labels in line with tyre innertube valves.
Quick releases both on non drive side.
Saddle horizontal to the ground
bottom of drops horizontal to the ground/or lined up to point at the rear brake. I read it in the internetz.
One neat strip of tape around the bar tape to finish of
hub logo on front hub should face the same as rear and read from the right.
-Rim labels should read from the right.
-Cable routing to be as neat as neat can be.
-Seat and bar tape to be the same colour. Or not. It depends.
etc, etc


Photographing
Valves both at the lowest point, highest point or somewhere else as long as they're in the same place. Can be hidden to astound if no tyre labels present.
logo on crankset should be upright
-Photograph should be from the right.
-Geared bikes should have chain on big ring.
-seat post should show sufficiently, but bars & saddle to be same height. (Rando-luv)
-pedals should be fixed in the ridden position, not at rest. (by tightening bearings just for the shot. Ha.)
-Angle of shot should be such that lh drop is all but hidden by rh drop.
-Downtube shifters should be parallel.
-Either lh crank to be in line with seat tube, or rh crank in line with chain stay, ahead or behind bottom bracket. In line with something anyways.
-Background to be unconfusing. And any lines to speak to frame tubing.

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:06 pm
by toolonglegs
^^^ now that's detailed :-) .

Nice pic with Massey Ferg :-) .

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:24 pm
by Clydesdale Scot
I like the clean appearance of the bikes on Speedbicycles.
But he doesn't follow all the rules^^

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:39 pm
by RobertFrith
The style guide is good in as much as it makes person actually think about the positions of various bits and pieces. Some of them are silly though; I like downtube shifters to be not parallel and pedals as ridden, daaaaaaggy!

I earn a crust as a phototgrapher (credentials here). You can write all the "rules" you want but good photography comes back to content, composition and lighting. The rules above apply mostly to composition.

Bikes are a really tough subject. A bike is bunch of skinny tubes with a lot of air in between. Air is invisible. You should give some, actually a lot, of thought into what is going to fill that space. Garage doors, brick walls and white, black or grey in a studio are the most popular options, they're the ones that provide the most reward per unit of effort.

Check out these two posts on Cycle Exif. They've broken plenty of rules but you have to agree the photos are beautiful. And it's mostly because the photographers have considered the location for the shoot, the lighting and the composition, which isn't always about the bike. Mind you, they're pretty nice bikes :wink:
http://www.cycleexif.com/chiossi-cycles-gloria
http://www.cycleexif.com/kinfolk-autumn-2

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:02 am
by Tinker
Can you create that white room look at home? Or is there some photo-shopping involved with those type shots?

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:35 am
by ldrcycles

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:03 pm
by Tinker
Fantastic indeed! Great insight into setting up a DYI photo shot.

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:57 pm
by ghostpoet
I was going to dob Frithy in, but he did it himself. If he can polish the t#rd that is Port Hedland, he is the man to speak to...great chap too.

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:04 pm
by frailer5
A fan of oblique composing/framing here. If you picture the bike being at the centre of a square box. Then envisage the box having intersects across every diagonally opposite corner, through the centre of the box; that's 4 lines. I try and do most (not all shots), in that rough line-of-sight. This tends to add some 3D to what is a pretty 2D machine.
The shots I put up of the Pegasus in 'Let's see what...' kind of show that, I think (Gallery link there). Not a big fan of the 90º/0º level shot. IMO, getting angles (vertical and horizontal together), is the main prerequisite. Then there's ugly stuff in the background to be left out/taken out.
Yes, early morning/late afternoon give better light, too, as suggested earlier.
These are all very amateur suggestions; I'm no pro.

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:33 pm
by RobertFrith
ghostpoet wrote:I was going to dob Frithy in, but he did it himself. If he can polish the t#rd that is Port Hedland, he is the man to speak to...great chap too.

Too kind. You'll notice I haven't been game to put up any of my bike pics though!
frailer5 wrote:The shots I put up of the Pegasus in 'Let's see what...' kind of show that, I think (Gallery link there)

No link, am I missing something? Want to see..

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:01 pm
by Stuey
Tinker wrote:Can you create that white room look at home? Or is there some photo-shopping involved with those type shots?


Yeah, with a light box....although I'm not saying TLL used one (and not Photoshop).

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:05 pm
by Lots of steel bikes
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1984 Raymond Poulidor Bicycle[/quote]

Very nice! Do you have a pre photoshop image you could show and perhaps share some of the photoshop techniques you used to get to the final image.
My apologies if no photoshop used.

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:09 pm
by frailer5
RobertFrith wrote:No link, am I missing something? Want to see..


Pegasus Link

Taken with a Fujifilm S1600, not a particularly high-end camera.

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:21 pm
by toolonglegs
Lots of steel bikes wrote:
Very nice! Do you have a pre photoshop image you could show and perhaps share some of the photoshop techniques you used to get to the final image.
My apologies if no photoshop used.



the pre-photo shop image would be a raw file... All I would have done is brightened it up. Cant remember exactly but probably used 3 lights... 2 on the background and one front on. The front on one would have blasted through a white sheet (as metal only reflects what it sees, you need a big white light source to get the nice reflections ).
Photography is my job as well http://icj.carbonmade.com/
But usually people :-)

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:21 am
by rkelsen
Raymond has no FD.

Probably didn't need one, eh? :lol: Very neat bike though! And the Kenevans too.

I had to make these comments although they contribute nothing to the topic. Sorry.

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:43 pm
by toolonglegs
:-) hadn't quite finished it when I took that picture. Took a long time to find a Bakelite front derailleur in one piece !.

Re: Bike photography

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:25 pm
by Ferrovelo
Great topic and tips guys. Some impressive examples too.
Very timely for me as Ive just finished off a bike and I'm waiting for some nice weather to try a get a few pictures before I hand it over to its new owner.

I agree that a great backdrop can make a big difference. A couple of my favorite bike pictures are ‘real’ scenes from my travels with the bike itself in the background rather than being the main subject.

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