Photographing the Harley

Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks

As an end of study assignment for my studio/object module (photography courses at kips.be (Ghent Belgium) we had to propose an object to photograph.
amongst the possibilities were ‘perfume’ or ‘jewels’ …
I wanted to do something more ‘tangible’ and proposed a Harley Davidson motorcycle. My mentor could choose if he categorized it as being a perfume or a jewel. I guess both of the categories apply.

The Harley is not mine, its a customized 1981 Electra Glide from a friend of a friend, and hardly recognizable from the original. François is the owner of the bike.

the subject

I had surfed a bit for inspiration too. There’s not so many studio shots of motorbikes on the internet, here are a few:

inspiration

I had made some preliminary studies in 3D rendering (thats still my main job). I had discussed with my teacher that it would be best to lit the subject indirectly, with a large soft box from above. Since we don’t have softboxes that big at school, I had to come up with something else.

the virtual world

and then the ‘thing’ arrived.
I had shown François where in the school we wanted to shoot the bike. (I had three other classmates doing their work in the proper school studio, so I had to move out to another class) And he just drove it trough the hallways of the school. All students were awake at once on this early saturday morning.

3R7A0589

So, what’s next? You see me setting up the tripod and camera.

3R7A0596

Checking on the framing, remote shooting with a portable mac, to be sure not to touch the camera in between shots. (I wanted to be sure I could compose different shots together in photoshop afterwards)

3R7A0600

Me setting up a flash light for indirect flashing on the cloth. The cloth will serve as a huge soft box area.

3R7A0603

The setup, seen from the backside, you can see the tripod in the back:

3R7A0607lores

A big thank you to Serge (classmate) for these splendid behind the scenes pictures!!!

These are the original shots used for composing the final image. Note the shot with the white paper on the floor, for extra light from underneath.
For those interested, the shots were made with the Canon 85mm f1.8 at f10 shutter speed 1/125, ISO 100. Three 600Ws monoblocks at 3/6 upto 6/6 power, indirect on the cloth above.

originals

then the photoshop layered file for compositing. I named the layers in english, for your convenience (dutch is not really an understandable language)

photoshop compositing

and then at last, the finals, click to see them bigger:

charlemagne-art-Links final

charlemagne-art-Rechts final

A big thank you to Anita, for bringing me in contact with the owner of the bike,
a big thank you to my assistants of the day – classmates Stef, Serge and Geert,
a big thank you to the owner of the bike, François, for driving about 60 miles to the studio, on a cold morning.

hope you’ve learned something.

take care, and see you soon,

Ludwig

3 thoughts on “Photographing the Harley

  1. Very clearly explanation ; step by step shown – it looks like a piece of cake which it obviously ain’t. The photographer did a hell of a job as we can see by the final pictures. The modesty of the photographer is shown in his gratitude towards his colleagues and the owner of the bike and the person of contact. Indeed I learned something here …the final result can be classified as a precious jewel touched by a perfume of good teamwork! Congratulations Ludwig !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s