Healing Bike: Camera & Lighting Behind the Scenes

It was a very quick shoot, done and dusted in about 15mins. That’s pulling up at the location, get the bike out and prepared, setting up camera gear, lighting it, shooting it and then dismantling it all.

I pre-visualised the location I wanted to use with this bike and waited for the right time of day to shoot when the sun was disappearing behind the buildings to cast shadows. My intention was under expose the background by around one stop of light and light the bike with strobes on wireless triggers.

I setup a large gridded soft-box (gridded to stop light from falling onto the background wall) to the right of the subject as my main light, and a bare strobe (zoomed in to the narrowest beam) on the left of the subject. The aim was for a soft light falling over the bike with a defining kicker light from the left.

Initial lighting setup for Healing bike shoot

The test shots were looking good however the front wheel was falling into darkness because the soft-box wasn’t strong enough to light it and the left strobe was zoomed in and unable to send a wider light to it without spilling onto the wall and casting shadows.

I added the second kicker strobe (also zoomed in to focus the beam of light) and pointed it directly at the front wheel. This gave the extra defining light I needed to separate the bike from the background.

Final lighting setup for the blue Healing bike shot

With some minor levels adjustments, progressive blurring and using the patch tool to remove some distracting elements, here’s the resulting image.

Final shot for Healing bike shoot

Bike Project: The Beginning

I had an opportunity this weekend to make a start on the MacDonald bike collection. I’m investigating styles for the end book so I took a bike out and photographed it against some interesting backdrops. Most bicycle books and magazines have the typical white background but I’m wanting something more from this project. I want to be able to create beautiful artwork that can draw people in, even if they are not interested in bicycles. The challenge will be capturing an image which does not distract, but complements the subject. Here’s my first attempt of many many more to come.

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