I took a photo of the Venge for a post the other day. Now, I know what I’m doing and it still took five photos to get it right… I thought I’d share the progression of photos to demonstrate how I go about setting up my bike so it’s ready for a photo.
First there are a few holier than holy rules that simply should not be broken:
Rule number one (which I would have to work to break because I always ride in the big ring, ahem…): Big ring up front, middle to small cog at the back. Also, be careful not to photograph your bike on the big ring up front and the big cog in the back too – this is called “cross-chaining” – riding in this gear combination is not advisable and can speed up the wear and tear of your drivetrain… The idea is to photograph the drivetrain in a rideable gear combination that says “I ride strong” (even if you don’t). This is the only rule that cannot be broken – with one exception… The summit or climbing photo.
Rule number two: Drivetrain facing out toward the camera. This rule is not quite as hard and fast as the big ring rule, especially if it’s a “spur of the moment” photo. If you have the capacity to stage the photo though, this rule should be observed. Rule number three: That bike had better be clean. Obviously, “I’m awesome because I am/was out riding in deplorable “tough guy” conditions” photos do not apply the same way – in those instances a mucked up bike is appropriate and cool. Otherwise, give the baby a bath.
In any event, here is an illustrated progression of the photos (click to embiggen):
Here are a couple more that didn’t make the cut for various reasons but did turn out fairly well:
The photo above is actually better than the one I used in the post in a few ways… First, my saddle is perfectly level – you could shoot that with a laser and set your laser by it… The angle to the camera was a bit lower, closer to the ground, so the optical illusion that my saddle is a little off goes away. Also, I’ve got the crank arms in an “even more appropriate” position. Finally, because of the lower angle again, my handlebar looks snappy and aggressive, as it should. There were three reasons I chose to scrap this one for the post – 1) I liked the brighter sunshine coming in the window 2) I didn’t like the way the focus was lost on the rear rim and top tube and 3) the knotty pine in that bedroom is very old and still looks quite amazing but there’s a bit of an age/moisture stain on the window jamb that isn’t quite so visible in the photo I used in the post.
While this much attention to detail isn’t always entirely necessary, it sure doesn’t hurt… If you love your bike be sure to show her (or him) off properly (and if you don’t, you bought the wrong bike).