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If you have an interest in shooting bicycles as a theme, but need a little inspiration to get started, look no further. Here are my creative tips to help you find new possibilities and solutions for a more rewarding experience.

1. Make Bike portraits

Whether taking a portrait of your bike or a candid shot of someone else’s, there are two things that are important. The light and the background. Soft light, in the morning and evening is best in order to avoid harsh shadows. A plain background is ideal but a colourful backdrop can also really enhance the composition. Also, look for opportunities to emphasize depth to help put more focus on the bike.

2. Capture people riding bikes

Capturing fast moving subject matter can be tricky. Photographing every Tom, Dick and Harry riding a bike may be good practice, but try to discern what makes one photo more interesting than another. Look for stories. For some dynamic shots, consider using shutter speed priority.

3. Shoot bikes from a distance

A great way to add context to your photos while leading the eye to your subject matter is to capture bikes from a distance. Generally these are more wide angle shots which means more information in your photo. Try to avoid distractions, like bright colors and disruptive backgrounds.

4. Shoot while riding

For a more engaged look, consider shooting will riding a bike. Taking photos in the bike lane is the crux of my Rear View Wheel series.

5. Close in on components

Bike components can be an excellent motif. Look for components that have character, texture, and simplicity. Vintage bikes are best. A rotary shifter on a mountain bike ain’t gonna cut it. Since components are small, try some macro photography and work in Aperture priority to get a nice depth of field.

6. Find different perspectives

If you feel like your photos are getting a little stale or all look the same, change up the perspective. Look for opportunities when up above. Shooting low on the the ground is an easy option to give your photos a different look.

7. Look for tunnels

Bridges are great because they always give you a nice depth of field. But underneath can be pure gold. Tunnels of all kind can be an unexpected place to capture some great shots. There are plenty of patterns, wonderful lines, textures and stunning plays of light to help capture silhouettes.

8. Let it rain

Scenes will transform when it rains. It will make people do some interesting things, like ride with an umbrella or crash through pools of water. If you’re not comfortable bringing your camera into the rain, wait until it stops. Scan the streets for puddles and you may find some nice opportunities for some great reflection shots.

9. Use backgrounds

Backgrounds can be either a distraction or a benefit to your photography. They can help determine what story you are trying to convey. If you see an interesting backdrop, put your focus into that and see if you incorporate the bicycle in a meaningful way.

10. Look for light

Good light will take an ordinary scene and make a great photo. Look for interesting plays of light. Search for splashes of light, contrast between light in shadows. This is a helpful exercise if you ever feel stuck, uninspired or if you’ve shot the same place over and over again without any great results.

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