How To

Photographing a motorcycle

Custom Cycle Glass Block Test Shoot

Was hoping to "audition" some prints for Jesse James and I had a contact there who was looking for a photographer. A custom cycle shop provided three models of Chinese motorcycles. The are beautiful and I would honestly say I'd like one.

Anyway, to get a job with Jesse James I'd need to send photographs of my model and bike as proof I could competently light a motorcycle in a set. That meant I had to light the largest product I've ever done. Above, a very large rental canopy scrim on stands was lit from two 600ws strobes, serving as a big light source to get shiny surfaces bright. Fill was provided on a louvered strobe on a stand to camera right. Was having a tough time keeping it off of the back wall. Lights were fired off with pocket wizard strobes.

The glass block wall was built by stacking the glass several feet from a regular white wall, and strobes with gels were placed between the two aimed at the wall. It was not glued together but merely stacked up to about six feet tall. I was not thrilled about the mirror effect of the concave design of the block since it picked up the strobes in hundreds of little divots on the glass. A hard surface to try to keep light off of. Water in buckets was thrown around the bike to pick up the reflection of the bike and glass wall and the motorcycle chrome.

Technicalities got all worked out, but the model was not happy with the makeup artist, the makeup artist wasn't happy with the model. I didn't really get the look I was after with the model but I DID light the bike.....I photographed three different bikes, one in black with flames as with the main image, and an olive green which I used Topaz to change to monochrome.

They began downsizing just as I was about to send them the photos, so I never did present them for consideration. My contact was laid off, and that's the name of that tune.

2 responses

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (4 Apr 2012):

    really nice!!!

  • John Tanner

    John Tanner said (5 Apr 2012):

    Sorry you didn't get your chance because it's obvious you have a great talent for shooting a very difficult subject.
    Stay on it Vin your time will come.

    I've seen a lot of bike photography published that's not even close to the quality of your work.

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