2013 the start of another season for the Harley and the first of a series on Hogs and Hot Rods.

Two of my greatest passions that make my hairs stand on end, the sound of a Harley and the slap of a Hassy.

A heady combination when you get two great passions merging together at the same time, the mind just spins with creative ideas.

Just quickly, before we move on, this is a short story from my experience of capturing the character of a Harley Dude.



The venue was at Rivington Pike, Horwich, Bolton, a fantastic place for meeting bikers and biker chix. The sun was beating down that day when a stretched chop caught my eye with a guy leaning on a tree next to the Harley. Getting my camera ready for a close up shot of the incredible paintwork, i glanced at the guy. A real mean looking Dude, who clearly did not like having his bike messed with. I glanced at the licence plate, it said ” You can #@@$ the wife BUT don’t touch my bike”. Hmmm.

As i raised the camera to my face, i turned and focused on the mean looking Guy instead. Judging by the expression on this guys face, he wasn’t to keen on portraits either. So as he started to walk menacingly towards me, i kept the camera to my face and gave him 2 fingers with my free hand. His brilliant reaction was captured. He turned out to be a really nice guy, when i showed him the shots of his Harley.

Harley, get down low

Harley, get down low

Get down low and wide

Even when you have a live view option so you can really low down, you will have diffculty seeing the image, because of the actual angle itself, or reflections from the ground. So it’s time to get down on your muddy knees (again) only to be rewarded with a very dramatic image AND a telling off and sarci comments from the wife for coming home with muddy knees and elbows. HOWEVER, not anymore thanks to Flipbac. A great way to keep in the good books with “her indoors” and create great pix of your Harley. Go for a wide angle lens, 28mm or wider. There is a feature on making a fish eye lens in a previous blog, cheap as chips, or french fries to you posh chaps .

women biker chopper masuimi max baby doll harley davidson motorbikes 1440x960 wallpaper

Grab attention

Get attention to your Harley shots with some borrowed interest. Promoting an up and coming model is an opportunity for the portfolio on both parties. Using biker mascots into your images to tell a story, can add some humour. When you go to a Harley event, talk to the bikers there, even if they look a bit intimidating at first, you will find they love to show off their bikes (most of the time) and stories.

Prime lens

Short zoom lenses, or kit lenses you get with your camera are a very useful tool, however, when you are going in close for detailed shots of your Harley, a prime lens will make the difference between a good image and an image with WOW. It’s worth buying just a simple 50mm prime lens to add to your kit, i can recommend it will definately be a great investment to your kit and will always re-sell.

Reflections and water

When you are walking around bike events, look for reflections in the chromework of the Harley (there will be plentiful). Shoot from the side, so you don’t get your own reflection and manual focus on the precise part of the reflection. If you are shooting the full area of the harley, change your aperture a few times from wide open to F=8. This will have an effect on your depth of field. Having a rainy day is not the best for bikers, but to have an odd shower is perfect for photography, as it exaggerates details.

Catch the rain

Catch the rain

Hot Rods !!!

Now…attention to detail is paramount when shooting a Harley, but even more so with a Hot Rod. In this next video, pay attention to the wheels. Yes wheels are very important when shooting from low angles and it’s worth getting a little dirty in the process.

Get published

This year, set a purpose and meaning to your photography by getting published in a magazine, or even just on Red Bubble, whatever you are comfortable with. When you have a goal to achieve, it will drive you forward with your ambitions as a photographer.

Shoot in raw+jpeg

Get familiar with some software to enhance your Harley and Hot Rod images. Some effects like topaz, spicify, can really exaggerate your images. However, be mindful that you CAN control the opacity of these effects to a lesser value and better effect. Shooting in this mode gives you more options for editing later.

Take your mother shopping

Don’t be a selfish biker/hot rodder, be respectful at all times and before you go to your Harley or Hot Rod show, think about someone else, like say, your mum, take her a for a spin down to the shops.


2013 is bristling with ideas for our blog. We have introduced 3 new Galleries to inspire and created workshops to improve on your photography, starting in April with a tour of the Jurassic coastline of Dorset, plus a tour of the English Lake District in May.

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