Last Sunday I did my first real motorcycle shoot. I had some previous experience from taking pictures at a couple of events, but I never did a real shoot. It was a last minute call so I didn’t have the time to really plan it and things didn’t go exactly as I thought they would. Below you find the 5 things I learned.
1. Location is key
Location is everything. We knew we would shoot in a rural area, but I didn’t know any specific location. I checked Google Maps last minute and found an old gass station. I screenshot the location and off we went. On arrival we found out that Google Maps is outdated and that the gass pumps and most of the advertisements had disappeared, leaving us with nothing. Eventually we drove around a little and did find some locations with a view on the surrounding green hills. But everything I had in mind turned out to be different. I learned that location is key and that it’s always good to have 2 or 3 locations in mind if one should fail…
2. Test your setup
A part of the shoot consisted of sitting in the trunk of a car and shooting pictures while driving. I hadn’t done this before and I didn’t test it beforehand. I pretty much fucked up a whole series of pictures because I was sitting and stuck my camera out of the car shooting blind for a large part of the shoot. I should have done a couple of testruns and come to the conclusion that I should be laying flat and use the car as stabilization. This way I would also be able to look through the viewfinder…
3. Choose your time
The only option I had was to shoot in the middle of the afternoon, when the sun is high and the lighting sucks. This could have been a different shoot if it was done during a sunset or early in the morning. I knew this beforehand, but that doesn’t make it better. If you do a shoot like this then pick the right moment to do so.
4. It’s not all about the motorcycle
Shooting a motorcycle that is standing still isn’t all too spectacular. It’s a whole different story if you actually photograph the rider as well. Let him drive around, sit on the motorcycle and shoot some close ups and portraits.
5. Shoot more
While editing I saw so many possible pictures that I didn’t make. I have this all the time and somehow it’s unavoidable, but I should definitely shoot more pictures, try more angles, etc.
A list of gear I use for automotive photography.
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