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Shooting from the Saddle: 3 Urban Photography Concepts


The process of urban cycling photography is not as easy as it seems. Our guides understand the challenge of simultaneously riding, looking at the terrain and judging a good vantage point. The following are some fundamental photography concepts that should help you. It’s all about perspective.


1. Lighting your Shots
Natural Lighting –
Putting the sun directly behind your subject isn’t a good idea, unless you are trying to make a silhouette. Having the natural light at your back is a good way to improve your photo. However, if your shots are looking flat or over exposed, try positioning yourself so the sun lights your subject at an angle.

Flash – The sun casts shadows on the faces and bodies of riders. Using flash fills them with light and creates richer, dynamic images. It seems counter intuitive, but you could turn off auto mode, and turn flash on.
2. Composition
Rule of Thirds –
The imaginary lines which divide the image into thirds. By placing the subject on the intersections of these lines it helps balance your photo mathematically. Viewers eye tend to drift to these focal points.

Head Room/Lead Room – Well-composed shots leave space above the subject, and also in the direction the subject is facing or moving.

Birds Eye/Worms Eye View – Great way to give a fresh way of looking at the world. Try to create images that defy expectations.

Isolate and Emphasize your subject – Avoid distracting elements like light poles, ugly buildings, parked trucks or unimportant signage. Anything that competes with the main subject (the cyclists) is something you want to keep out of your photo. Zoom in to capture details.

Zoom – Optical zoom uses the true lens and produces better-quality images. Digital zoom uses in-camera processing, which you want to avoid. The hash mark on the zoom meter is the farthest you should go.


3. Awareness
Look More/Shoot Less –
Capture the ride. Plan it out in advance to acquire wider range of shots using the concepts listed above. It may help to mentally group these shots by location. Focal points should our guests as well as any important landmarks. We want high quality portraits and action shots that customers will repost and share with their friends. The more you shoot, the more you learn what works and what does not. Do not be afraid to experiment because mistakes can sometimes give you a great image.
Take your time, ‘open’ your eyes, and capture as much detail as possible.