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After working as a professional photographer in a motorcycle dealership for over a year I learned almost everything there is to know about capturing these two wheel machines. I’m happy to share with you most of what I learned and how to get the most out of your passion for bikes and photography.

The greatest thing about motorbike photography is, the hard was is already done for you. With over a century of design and engineering evolution, bikes naturally look amazing. Motorbikes are incredibly cool subjects with lots to offer. 

With that being said, there are still ways to dramatically improve your motorcycle photography. In this article I will talk about setting, angles, lighting and background. As well as my preferred lenses for taking photos of motorbikes. 

how to photograph a motorcycle

Best setting for motorcycle photography

This all boils down to what motorbike you’re taking photos of. For example, a 1000cc superbike may look a bit out of place photographed on the beach or in the woods. But that’s not to say you cannot achieve an awesome photo with that style of bike in that scenario. 

When setting up the bike for your photoshoot, we aware of your surroundings. Make sure the bike isn’t too close to the background, and will the background take the viewer’s attention away from the subject? 

If there are other bikes or vehicles in the background, ask yourself if these additional objects serve a purpose or are they distracting? With the picture below there are seven other motorcycles in the background. However neither of these are taking the focus away from the subject. 

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Best lighting for motorcycle photography

Chances are if you’re shooting a motorbike, you’ll be taking the pictures in an outdoor setting. If this is the case I highly recommend making the most of the golden hours. 

There are two golden hours every day. One when the sun first comes up and is very low in the sky. The second just before sunset. This time of day creates a natural warm light that isn’t too harsh. 

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Midday when the sun is highest is the most difficult time to photograph a motorbike. Providing the sun isn’t directly above your subject you can still use the light to your advantage. Play around with angles and the direction of which you point the bike and see what looks best. 

I have found that if you shoot at a 45 to 90 degree angle to the sunlight as demonstrated below you will get much better results. 

Best position for photographing a motorcycle

Once you have found the perfect location and know what time of day you need to be there, you can get to work on capturing some awesome imagery. 

Motorbikes are typically easy to manoeuvre by hand. You don’t need to fire them up and it takes seconds to position perfectly. I personally prefer to capture bikes from the side or at a 45 degree angle. 

When photographing them from the front or back, you miss out on most of their features. When taking a photo side on or at a slight angle, you get everything. Unless of course the bike has an under-seat exhaust. 

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Best camera angles for motorbike photography

The first thing I do when the bike is set up and I’m in position is drop to the floor. Putting the camera as low as possible adds more foreground and perspective to your shot. It also emphasises the awesomeness of your subject creating a feeling of power.

I’ll take a few pics from down below and then work my way up moving left and right to highlight certain features on the motorbike. Don’t be afraid to step back or move in close. Some of my favourite motorbike shots are close ups of the engine, exhaust or even fuel tank. 

motorcycle photography fuel tank

Also remember, the bike doesn’t have to be centred in your photos to make an awesome scene. As with the Triumph Speed Triple below it is off centre, and at the bottom of the scene. Taking up approximately 10% of the overall image. 

motorcycle photography angles

My favourite lenses for motorbike photography

My go to is always the Sigma 56mm f1.4 lens. It has done me well for almost every type of photography, especially working with motorcycles. I have used wider focal length lenses such as the Sigma 16mm f1.4 and the 35mm f1.4 Art lenses. However the 56mm always comes out on top. 

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With a wider angle lens you are forced to push in close to the subject which tens to skew the image. Taking a step back and using a longer focal length lens gives a much more natural feel to your pictures. 

Not to mention the 56mm f1.4 from Sigma is unbelievably sharp. Nothing else I have used compares to this and it has been a game changer since I purchased in 2021. 

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Motorcycle Photography Summary

When approaching any vehicle photography project consider all of the above. Regardless of what kit you use, you can make a great photo of any car or motorbike given the right location and lighting. 

The most important part about motorcycle photography is getting out there and having fun. The motorbike community is packed with enthusiastic people that love to chat about their machines. 

Whether you own a bike or not, head down to a local bike meet and I’m sure you’ll make a few friends. Maybe even some paying clients? 

Professional Motorbike Photography Services

Whether a private individual or large motorcycle dealership, please get in touch to discuss any motorbike or car photography needs. 

With over 300 motorbikes photographed for online listings I know what it takes to sell bikes faster. I can also supply all imagery for websites in a format that will help your business rank higher on Google. 

Get in touch today via the Contact Me page by clicking here.

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