9 Tips for Photography by Bike
One of the most amazing aspects of riding a bike is the ability to truly immerse yourself in the world around you, seeing things you would not notice inside the closed-off box of a car. If you’re photographically inclined, you are sure to get some of your best shots while on bike adventures.
Carrying and using a camera while biking isn’t always simple, so we’ve put together a list of tips to make it easier.
1. Protect your camera
Camera bags are usually cumbersome and bulky, so consider alternate options for keeping your camera safe. Wrap your camera in a towel (handy for other uses along the way) and slip it into a sturdy, waterproof bag. Waterproofing is key and it’s a good idea to keep a heavy duty ziploc bag on hand, just in case.
2. Choose your camera wisely
Maybe your iPhone takes spectacular photos and you want to you like the Flickr app or Instagram filters anyway, so you can get away with this compact option. If you’re not traveling far or weight is not an issue, go all out with your full DSLR. You’ll love those photos later, provided the bulky camera won’t be a hassle. Think this one through and weigh your options or skimp on other gear to make room for your camera if it is a priority.
3. Inform the Team
If you’re riding with friends, make sure they’re cool with your photo program in advance so everyone’s on the same page. If you’re a strong rider, you can stop for a shot then hop back in the saddle and crank it to catch up with your buddies. If your friends aren’t the patient type, maybe this isn’t the best ride for leisurely taking photos.
4. Don’t be afraid to stop and dismount
We mean fully dismount. Secure your bike (if you’re urban) and wander. In the country, just go for it. Set your bike down and explore. Take your time to get that spectacular shot that will encapsulate the day. Don’t rush. Enjoy the process.
Avoid shooting while riding, it’s really so dangerous. When shooting, you want to be fully absorbed in the viewfinder/screen and to concentrate on your subject matter. That is no way to ride. It’s too tempting to get lost in the moment and lose control of your bike. A quick snap here and there doesn’t hurt, but keep it in check, especially if you’re not a hands-free rider.
When you do dismount, be cautious of traffic. Some of the best shots come from the middle of the road, and on rural roads it can be striking, but always be keenly aware of what’s happening around you and assume that no one can see you – so you need to be safe and move out of the way if a car is approaching.
5. Take a ton of photos. Edit later.
Clean up your memory card (unless you’re going old school; film is all the rage again) and give yourself plenty of room to work with. You never know what you’ll find out there and you don’t want to be limited by old junk taking up space on your card.
Be liberal with your shooting, and edit later. In fact, if you want to share your photos with friends, edit down to your top 10 strongest photos. That’s the best way to showcase your skill and highlight the amazing features of your adventure. It’s also easier for people to look though and fully appreciate a smaller collection.
6. Consider a handlebar mount
If you’re not looking to take exceptionally pro photos, a handlebar mount can be a nice option. These work best with light-weight point-and-shoot cameras. When properly installed, they can keep your camera secure through a full distance ride, allowing you to get some cool shots from an interesting perspective, just remember the viewpoint is lower so unless you want all bum shots, you might not want to shoot from the back of the pack.
7. Get ahead. Look back.
Speaking of bum shots, who really wants to see someone’s be-hind obscuring the beautiful scenery? If you want people in your photo, zoom far ahead and get your shot of the people approaching you. It takes a little more effort, but it creates a shot that is worlds better.
If you don’t want people in your shot, linger at the back or zoom far ahead so that the riders aren’t anywhere near where you’re shooting.
8. Get up. Get down.
Sure, your legs might be tired from pumping across endless miles, but don’t be afraid to crouch down for an interesting perspective. Hold your camera up high (or climb a rock) for a creative crowd shot or expansive shot. If your camera has a multi-shot option, use this feature as you move the camera around overhead then choose the best shot since it’s hard to see the screen when it’s overheard. Take some time to get it right and you could get a fantastic shot. This works particularly well at the start line or crowded rest stop on supported rides.
9. Have fun!
Enjoy the world around you and share it with friends later on.
SIDE NOTE: Don’t forget to fully charge your battery or bring extras along!