It’s no secret that Ashley & Jered Gruber are a fantastic photography team. Lucky for us, they have a passion for cycling and share this through a steady stream of pictures on Instagram. You can also fill your heart with cycling love by going through the photo archives on their website Gruber Images. A total treat.
On my rides I often stop to try and capture my moment of cycling joy. It’s not easily done.
I used to just photograph my surroundings. I would brake mid track, grab my phone and quickly take a picture before riding on. These pics never really worked out. I then started taking pictures with a subject in them, mostly my bike. I would set my bike up against a nice background and take the photo. Sometimes I would use ideas on angles and settings I got from Instagram. Some of which worked out quite well.
But now that I am following Jered Grubers cycling photography tips, my pictures are actually getting a lot better. Sure, it takes a bit more time, but the result is worth it. To illustrate just how effective his tricks are, I have added cycling pictures from my own archive in which I have tried them out. Click on this link to read the full article by Jered on Bicyling.
Trick 1. Shoot Early or Late
The light is softest in the morning or evening when the sun is lower in the sky. Position yourself with it off to the left, right, or behind you so it illuminates the rider.
When visualizing a shot, divide it into nine segments like a tic-tac-toe board. Place the rider along the lines or where they intersect. Avoid positioning your subject smack in the center of the frame.
Choosing good lines is as essential in photography as it is in cycling. When taking a picture, incorporate the background features so ubiquitous in cycling—long stretches of pavement, fences, trails, even power lines. They draw the viewer in.
Sometimes the rider isn’t your main focal point. If you’re in a beautiful part of the world, the location might be the star, and the rider becomes a special detail in the picture. Don’t be afraid to go back later and crop the image closer to eliminate background clutter that takes away from what you’re trying to convey.
Trick 5. Use the Sky
If you’re on a really steep hill, which crests and falls quickly afterwards, lie on the ground just below the crest (off the course!) and get the rider or race coming over the hill. If it’s a perfectly blue sky, you can capture an image with an entirely blue background.
Note: I haven’t had a chance to try this trick yet. We don’t have many steep hills in the Netherlands. We have windmills though!
Look for natural ways to frame your shot. One of my favorite techniques is to shoot through trees after a switchback, which accomplishes two things: I’m above the rider in an interesting position, and I’m framing the shot with the branches.
Try to take a different perspective: Go high, go low, move very close, move far away—the key is to find an angle that turns that basic standing shot into something more compelling. When in doubt, crouch low, lie on the ground, get up on a grassy bank above the road, or hop up on a small wall. Your unique viewpoint can make an ordinary shot spectacular—don’t miss out on that chance. (text by Jered Gruber @Bicycling.com)