Dustin Snipes

Bicycle Photo Shoot

A great way to add a sense of motion in a shot is by dragging your shutter and moving your camera with the subject to create a streaky/blurry background while keeping your subject (for the most part) in focus.

 Shutter Drag

A great way to add a sense of motion in a shot is by dragging your shutter and moving your camera with the subject to create a streaky/blurry background while keeping your subject (for the most part) in focus.


By “dragging” the shutter I mean, I am turning the shutter speed down (in this case 1/25th of a second) and following the bike with my camera as she rode by.
The camera was set to rear curtain sync. This allowed for the blurred parts of the bike to be behind her instead of in front of her. I set the aperture on the camera to f/13 to allow for the background so I can bring in more detail in the background so It will streak better.


I learned from experience that as long as you keep one part of the subject in focus that pretty much anything goes in terms of how long you keep the shutter open. The only constraint is how long you can keep your camera focused and steady on a part of the subject that you want to keep sharp (you can use a tripod or a monopod to help out).


In my case, I wanted her face to be sharp so I positioned my focus point and asked her to keep her head and body as still as possible as she rode by (fairly slowly) and I followed with my camera. I had her do this about 5 or so times at the same speed to adjust the speed of my camera to get the balance of the correct amount of blur with the right amount of sharpness on

Lighting

The first thing I did was expose my camera for the background and faced my model away from the sun so it would act as a nice edgelight. Next I had to fill her face with light because it was in slight shadow, because I exposed for the background and not her. I added a P65 reflector on a MobiLED head and a Broncolor Move 1200L pack set at low power with a high flash duration to provide a crisp and clear pop of light. This also helped with making the photo look a lot more punchier than it normally would have been without lighting up her face and body.

gennext-dustin-snipes- bike-setup

Background is important

We didn't have much time for this shot and also didn't have much time for scouting because this was the last shot of the day and the sun was coming down. I chose a wall of trees because it would give the background the streaks and texture to really “sell” that the bike was going fast.


This obviously would not work very well with a solid blue sky. So choosing the right background is key in making this happen. Anything will work as long as it has some kind of variation in color or light and contrast. The more variation the more pronounced streaks. Be sure to play with different settings to achieve longer streaks in your shot!

gennext-dustin-snipes- bike-bts

Some more Examples

Spread the word: