Taking photos and video is a great way to preserve memories of your motorcycle adventures. Telling stories about your motorcycle exploits is great, but having pictures/video to go along with them is better. You don’t need to be a pro photographer to take good pictures. A little thought and experimentation will go a long way toward getting impressive results. Getting better images to remember your motorcycle trip isn’t that hard, and doesn’t take too much work. Read on for a few tips on how to better capture your memories.
Don’t worry about gear: Better gear can result in better photos, but not always. You need to have a quality device to take good photos, but just having a good camera won’t guarantee good photos. Too many people assume they can just buy a top-of-the-line camera and take top-notch photos. Truth is, most smartphones take better photos than many digital cameras did a few years ago. Common point and shoot cameras available today take quality images and can yield fantastic results. Remember to tell a story with your photos. Composition trumps all.
Remember who you’re shooting for: Who are the photos for? Keep your audience in mind when planning/shooting photos. Pictures for a publication, stock service, etc., will have different requirements than photos taken for friends, family, or yourself. While photos for professional use need to be technically correct (aperture, light settings, focal length, etc.), photos for personal use are all about capturing memories and have more leeway.
Focus: The most important aspect of any photo is clarity. Most cameras do a pretty good job with autofocus, but it’s something to keep in mind when shooting. Software can be used to adjust crop and exposure settings, but an out-of-focus photo is useless. There’s absolutely nothing that can be done to fix a blurry photo.
Step aside: Photo composition is all about light and angles. Sometimes just moving a few inches left or right can make a world of difference. Try it next time you take a photo. Just take a picture, slide left or right a little bit and take it again. Don’t forget to move vertically too. Take pictures from different vantage points. Shoot high, shoot low and see what you like. Oh, and get closer.
Blinded by the light: Lighting can be the difference between a dull, lifeless photo and one that jumps out and captures attention. But, sometimes desirable light isn’t available. So what do you do? Again, some of this depends upon who you’re shooting for. If you’re taking pictures for yourself and some friends, take the picture anyway. Who cares if the light isn’t perfect – capture the memory. If shooting for a magazine, website, etc, you’ll have to look further. Flash might be the answer, or maybe you can move your subject to better light. Regardless of who you are shooting for, if you are taking a group photo, try to make sure that light is fairly even across your subjects. Having half the group in shadow and the other half squinting in bright sunlight seldom yields an acceptable image.
Shoot more: Back in the days of shooting with film, photographers had to be mindful of how many photos they took. How much film did they have? How much would it cost for film processing? Digital photography eliminates those worries. Pro photographers take far more photos than they show, then they only show their best. Take more photos than you think you’ll want. You can bring an external device or use a cloud service for more storage. You’ll thank yourself years later when looking at the photos of your adventure!
Forget the bike: OK, don’t forget the bike, but be sure your photos aren’t only of your motorcycle. Don’t forget about the people and the sights, and don’t be afraid to take standard “tourist photos.” Take photos of everyone on the trip, including yourself. Photos of your bike in front of a famous landmark are cool, but photos of you and your travel companions (and your motorcycles) are cooler and tell a much better story.
Just take it: Sometimes, just remembering to take out your camera is the hardest part when you’re on an exciting adventure. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to take a picture. Make sure you don’t get too involved with your photo taking and miss out on enjoying yourself. You don’t have to take a photo of everything, but make sure to grab at least a few shots!
Post processing: After taking a picture, you can still do more to get a better image. You don’t have to use Photoshop or Lightroom. There are a variety of free software options to manipulate photos. Cropping and correcting exposure are two of the most useful ways to get a better image. Just be sure to not go overboard.
Photos, like most art, are subjective. Two people will look at the same thing and have a different opinion as to whether it’s good. So, shoot for yourself. Take pictures that you like. Look at them after and think of what works and what doesn’t. Could you do something different to make the photo better? Not every photo is going to be perfect. That’s why the pros take so many pictures. Remember, they are only showing the good ones. Take the picture, learn from it, and work to improve.