Suzuki Motorcycle Shoot

I've always been interested in shooting cars and bikes commercially, but had been intimidated by the scope of lighting and space required to do it right.

Recently though I'd got access to 2 broncolor Hazy's (hazies? hazi?) and thought they would be a good way to get that big, even wrap around lighting that huge shiny things like vehicles require.

Since my background is in photojournalism, I tend to try and keep my photoshopping very minimal, or at least not overtly time consuming so I wanted to try and get the light right in camera rather than cloning and replacing reflections in post.

For most of my shots I tried to keep both lights at the same output and equidistant to the motorcycle, in this case a Suzuki R GSX; the hazies were either side by side above the bike or vertical with one on the left and one on the right side of it. My big goal was even light and symmetrical reflections.

Because I'd spent time online looking at other setups and I'd planned out my approach to lighting the first few shots looked great! Unfortunately, I was so focussed on how neat and fun all the red shiny parts were I neglected to realise that though my images looked close to the big budget shoots I was attempting to mimic, the 3x4ft lights I was using still weren't enough to light the top and body of the bike well, while spilling light over to fill in the detail around the front/bottom of the tires. I let the nice reflections I could see on the rims lead me to believe I had enough detail on the full tire. I shoot raw and could definitely bring in the detail in post, but when you're shooting black wheels on a black backdrop, then messing around with dodging and burning, it can get pretty difficult to see where the tire ends and the floor, etc, begins.

The moral of the story:Get a bigger light source or bring in a few more lights for fill. The same theory applies though. if you want those sweet even reflections, use broad, symmetrically placed fill lights. For sharper reflections use a smaller light source or pull the lights back from the object to create sharper light like you would do if you wanted edge/rim lighting or to back light the bike.


Suzuki GSX motorcycle by Kristy Boyce
Suzuki Motorcycle by Kristy Boyce


I haven't done any work yet to even out the light in problem areas like the helmet, etc,.

I'll post more photos from this shoot and the other motorcycle and model! Later on.