10 Tips for Beautiful Bike Photos

It's affectionately called bike porn: endless shots of beautiful bikes in beautiful places. We are big enough to admit, we look at it. We also make it. And while it is technically safe for work, it's not conducive to productivity.

We have learned a thing or two shooting the last 1,000 bikes we've made, so we wanted to pass along a few tips. That way, when you start shooting your bike, we'll have more pictures to look at. Below are our top ten tips to help you polish up your bike shots.

Macro

Clean Background: Resist the temptation to park your bike in front of a busy background. That graffiti-covered wall may be cool on its own but will likely obscure the bike. Click on any picture to make it BIG.

Background Color: Experiment with colors that are similar, contrasting or complimentary to the bike. This may seem obvious but can make the difference between an okay pic of a bike and a well-composed photograph.

Profile: Think and act like a bike for the full profile picture. Okay, really you just have be as short as a bike. Take a knee so your lens is no higher than the bike is tall. This perspective allows the bike to command the frame.

Component Close Up: Got a beautiful Brooks saddle or Copenhagen Basket Porter? Get in close to pull out those details. An asymmetrical or cropped frame is an easy way to showcase a particular component.

Micro

Hide the Non-Drive Side Crank Arm: First off, always shoot the drive side. Cranks are beautiful and can clutter the image when hidden behind the bike. To further clean up the image, orient your pedals so the drive side arm rests at about 5:30 on the clock face, and your non-drive side arm should hide nicely out of sight behind the seat tube.

Hide the Valve Stem: For total elegance, no detail is too small. Rotate the front wheel to hide the tube valve stem inside the fork blades.

Rolling Stone: To keep your subject from rolling away, try placing your keys behind either wheel. Use a few keys to create a blockade, and hide the cluster behind the tire.  From a few feet away they'll disappear.

Magic

Depth of Field: Try focusing on a single component while obscuring the rest. The singular focal point is often quite dramatic and displays the individuality of your bike.

Crankstand: Did you see last week's email on how to crankstand? Of course you did, but you can remind yourself here. Use the crankstand-on-soda-can technique for dramatic locations and gravity defying poses.

Crankstand + Photoshop: Drop that picture into Photoshop, erase the can and you're left with pure magical wonder. You're guaranteed to be asked repeatedly, "How'd you do that?"

Now that your armed with these tips, get out and ride. Shoot and shoot and then shoot some more. Submit your best photos for a chance to win goodies and glory. We will share them with our 20,000 online friends and send you schwag.

In the meantime, we are excited to share our photos with you. Visit our new tumblr blog, we promise it's guilt free.

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