Help with motorcycle photography.

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by djtroy, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. djtroy

    djtroy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Ok here it goes I signed up on this forum looking for some serious advice. I am currently working at a motorcycle dealership and I am looking to purchase the right lighting to shoot motorcycles. I am looking for advice on what to buy. Looking to buy a basic kit and don't really want to spend more than $500 at the moment on lighting.
    We are switching locations soon and eventually, we will be building a big dedicated photo booth with white walls and floor with a 10x5 overhead softbox. I need lights and flashes now that I can use when we move to the new location too.
    I have attached a few photos and you can see the glare issues im having with the current light setup. Im a beginner at best so any tips would be great. I literally know the very basics. I cant attach photos yet but you can go to the web site www.purepowersports.com and you can see the photos ive taken since I started there. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


     
  2. djtroy

    djtroy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Also I shoot with a Sony a6000 and is that a camera that works or should I upgrade?
     
  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    16,716
    Likes Received:
    4,207
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    The camera is about the least of it. Lens is more important.

    The big dedicated photo booth with adjustable lighting is the way to go. You might find the need for more large softboxes that sit on the floor, as well as reflectors and scrims. You can build it all except for the strobe lights.

    Just make everything so you can dismantle it and move it when the time comes.
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    42,159
    Likes Received:
    12,986
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Head over to eBay and search for Speedotron. $500 should get you at LEAST 4-5 M11 or M90 heads, power pack and a few modifiers. Add a few inexpensive MiC umbrellas and/or softboxes and a trigger to this set and you'll be off to a good start.
     
  5. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    11,871
    Likes Received:
    4,741
    Location:
    NoVA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    For now, could probably go with a cheap continuous light set. You could pick up one of those three light kits with a backdrop for about $200. I'd then buy a second boom stand and maybe another light or two for the backdrop.

    The biggest thing that will help you is reflection control.

    I'd want a large continuous white background, then two large panels on 45° to the bike on either side and a long white panel directly in front of the shooting area should keep reflections clean.

    Without ever having shot a bike before, I would probably do like you said, one large light source from above. But you want to make certain that the way you build it/position it, sits slight in front of the bike, and the angle of the edge will allow light to evenly light the front surface.

    I'd add a camera axis light directly onto the bike if it needed extra fill.

    The front panel might also help create a nice gradient on the pipes, where the top lights would make the pipes start white have a strip of black in the middle where it's refection directly back to the camera/void. But it may not be necessary since the top lights will be keeping your foreground bright as well and the lower portion of the pipes will reflect them.

    I'd setup something like this:

    lighting-diagram-1515685284.jpg
     
  6. djtroy

    djtroy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thank you guys im going to check this out
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    41,376
    Likes Received:
    15,661
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    You're selling $9,999 to $23,000 used bikes and want to "invest" $500 in lights... that's what's called false economy. You're trying to rebuild a complete motorbike with a pair of pliers and a Crescent wrench. You need much more than lights; you need the experience to actually USE the stuff. And, as well, you need stands, clamps, and fabric reflectors on frames.

    Your product photos are not very good..loads of strong,strong purple color fringing and inky-black, non-filled lighting. The angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. Your entire inventory of beautifully-painted motorcyles look unappealing.

    If you want photos that inspire people to WANT the merchandise, then the photos have to be at least journeyman quality. And they are not at that level yet because you clearly do not have the required lighting gear or knowledge on how to light products. I looked through the site for 10 minutes and at 15 different bikes; none of them appealed to me at a visceral level.

    Yes, Tirediron is right...if all you have is $500, you can pick up some used Speedotron pack-and-head lights...but you ALSO need $900-$1,500 worth of grip gear in order to deploy the lights. "Grip gear" meaning stands,clamps,spigots,and similar associated paraphernalia.

    Your biggest problem is a unfamiliarity with the best practices and comminly-agreed upon professional methods of how to shoot shiny, painted motorcyles, in order to show dimension, and to make the products look appealing. I do not want my post to come off as harsh, or mean, or in any way disrespectful, but you've come here asking a question akin to, "How can I rebuild a crashed Honda Goldwing on a $ 200 budget,and make it as good as new?"

    You guys have what? A million dollars in inventory, and want to invest $500 in order to help it sell better? Do you see the point I'm trying to illustrate?

    You stated that you came here for "serious advice". I'm trying to give you just that. Not photographic advice solely, but also business advice. Look at the price of the stuff you're selling, and then look at who's trying to do it, and on a less-than-shoestring budget. A business consultant would likely tell you what I'm telling you. I look at the dealership's size, and the inventory, and the budget, and want to facepalm.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. djtroy

    djtroy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit

    Ok I get it my photos suck ass. I have literally been working there for a month. I am on here looking for information on what we need. I didn't say I was going to spend a total of $500. I said I wanted to buy some stuff that would help for now while we were getting ready to move to the new location. I am looking for advice on what I "need" to make my stuff look better. I didn't really get one bit of advice from yu other than my photos are garbage. Perhaps you might save some of your time calling my pics crappy because I pretty much knew that and that's the reason im on here obviously. If I thought they were great I wouldn't be looking for lights and advice. So how about you justify to me why I should spend 10k on lighting. Im all ears and money is clearly NO object.
     
  9. djtroy

    djtroy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    How about specifics like the posters above who gave me some great advice.
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    41,376
    Likes Received:
    15,661
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Uh, sorry but you DID INDEED limit yourself to a $500 budget. Your wrote that dollar figure out. You don't want to spend more than $500. You want advice? Buy a book on lighting, like Light, Science, Magic, and spend a year learning the trade. Beginning to learn. Or, hire a professional photographer who knows how to do the work you want to do, and WATCH HIM, and learn how to do this craft properly, with traditionally understood methods. And let's get this clear: I did not say your photos "suck ass": that's how YOU described your own work. I stated that I looked through the site, and that your pics are not at the journeyman level. QUITE a difference in attitude and in wording. I chose my words VERY carefully, but you apparently got butt-hurt.

    I gave you "great advice". Your budget is way too low. The $500 basic kit you stated that you want to buy--that will not help your photography...you NEED a bunch of stuff to actually HOLD the lights and reflectors in position. But...you have set the budget at $500. Sorry if you think the truth is rude; I know more about lighting and grip gear and Speedotron than most anybody here, and I'm telling you: you're cheaping out and $500 will not buy the STANDS and the reflectors and the grip arms and clamps to HOLD what you actually NEED to have to get these pictures looking good. And yes, your photos are not even journeyman level. What do you want me to say about the photography you linked us to? Do you want me to blow smoke up your tailpipe and tell you that for five hundred dollars you can improve the pictures by buying just a basic, $500 kit? How much do you think actual photography tools cost?

    You say that "Money is clearly no object," and yet, you came here and stated ."Looking to buy a basic kit and don't really want to spend more than $500 at the moment on lighting."

    You wrote, : "I am a beginner at best..." and that's cool. This is the best "tip" I can give you for now. Focal Press Book: Light Science & Magic: An 9780415719407

    Spend the $33 or so, and learn what reflection control, fill light, main light, specular highlight,diffuse highlight, and other basic photographic lighting terms mean, and you'll see how to begin to improve the photos. I know you've been there only a month. This is not the kind of issue where people can give you "tips and tricks" that will make you a competent product photographer. You asked for tips. My tip is to buy the above book, and to learn what is wrong with the current photos.

    I'm sorry if you're feeling like you were disrespected. Imagine if this question came up on a motorcycle forum. How would YOU respond to the following question: "I want to race at the Isle of Mann next year. What bike do I need? I have a budget of $2,000. Can you give me some tips? I am a beginning rider, only ridden a Honda CB 250 and some minibikes."

    And please, re-read my original reply, where i wrote, "you need stands, clamps, and fabric reflectors on frames." And please re-read, carefully, my suggestion that "...you ALSO need $900-$1,500 worth of grip gear in order to deploy the lights. "Grip gear" meaning stands,clamps,spigots,and similar associated paraphernalia."

    Those were actual buying tips for you. If you call B&H Photo and talk to a sales associate, he will help you through the purchases and equipment needed to make your photos look better. He can explain what stands, and clamps, and reflectors, and fabrics and frames actually are, and why you want to have them.

    Last tip: forget the massive overhead lightbox setup your employer wants to have. Angle of Incidence equals angle of reflection. You need to spend some money on a _movable_ lighting setup. Hire a professional photographer who can shoot motorcycles, and WATCH HIM actually work for a day or two, and then spend some money to get the needed, professional-level tools. My advice is to get advice from somebody who knows what it actually takes, and it is more than "tips", it's more than $500, and it's more than a big light-tent-like ceiling light.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  11. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    42,159
    Likes Received:
    12,986
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Derrel gave you excellent and valuable advice. What you have to realize is that properly lighting anything takes not only equipment, but experience and knowledge, and something as complex as a motorcycle with all the curves, compound curves, highly reflective surfaces, etc takes a LOT of skill. I wouldn't presume to be able to ride a motorcycle with the skill that I'll assume you can, but I can light the hell out of one! The point I totally glossed over, but Derrel nailed is that you can spend $50 on lighting, or $50,000 (and you could easily spend $50,000) but without the underlying knowledge; it would be like me buying a 1200 Ninja, $5000 racing leathers and thinking I'm going to hit the freeway at 120 MPH... :lol: I don't necessarily agree that the overhead SB is a bad idea, but it will take a while to learn how to use it and might not be the best use of initial investment money.
     
  12. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    11,871
    Likes Received:
    4,741
    Location:
    NoVA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit

Share This Page