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As an adjunct to the Tangents blog, the intention with this forum is to answer any questions, and allow a diverse discussion of topics related photography. With that, see it as an open invitation to just climb in and start threads and to respond to any threads.

photographing motorcycles

hlyounghlyoung Member
edited September 2011 in general photography
Hi Neil,
Your work rocks!! Your web site is fantastic and your information is invaluable and so easy to understand. Thank you so much for helping to clear up so many of the mysteries of photography. I am an aspiring photographer who spends most of her spare time studying and doing the occasional shoot. Some day I hope my results will be as consistent as yours. I have a photo shoot coming up in a couple of weeks and would love some input. I ride with a motorcycle club and will be taking everone's picture with their bike. I have a D700, SB 900, TTflex and mini, a portable soft box, light meter, ect. Lenses are 85 1.8, 70 - 200 2.8 with circular polarizer and 24 - 70 2.8 no circular polarizer (am considering getting one). Lots more equipment, too much to list.

When shooting I'll make sure the sun is either behind or to the side for rim light effect (time of day will be 5 PM), any suggestions as to how to meter the scene and what lens would be best for the job. The effect I'm going for is more dramatic. Also, I usually place my focus point on the subjects face, hold down the shutter half way then recompose the image. Is this correct or OK to do? Camera will be in manual. Would love all the input I could get to help things run smoothly.

Thanks for everything you do to help the rest fo us be the best we can be!!



  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Hi there Heather ...

    It does sound like you have all the tools & toys there for this shoot.
    You're not under-equiped. Good.

    About the way you intend shooting ... run behind or to the side makes sense.
    This way you're using the sun as a second light source.
    The rim lighting will also help create separation from the background.

    Now, about your initial exposure. This is where it becomes more difficult to give specific advice, since you have so much leeway in how you want to interpret this.
    You can let the background blow out a bit ... or be (near) correct ... or under-expose and saturate the background a bit.
    All the while, giving correct exposure via the flash and softbox / umbrella.

    THe beauty of this is, for the same setup you can vary the amount of available light, by changing your shutter speed. (If you're shooting with manual flash, which I'd recommend here.) If you shot with TTL flash, you could cary any of the settings - shutter speed, aperture, ISO in order to change the available light. But your flash exposure might very well then not be consistent.

    Focusing and re-composing like that would be okay to do, if you're not too close, and not using too wide an angle lens at too wide an aperture.

    I think you're all set.

    Start off by getting a first decent & workable sequence of shots of your subject ... and then play with the settings, angles, composition, as well as the position of the lights.

    I think you'll be fine.

    Let us know how it went.
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