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How to Shoot Awesome Ride Photos With Your Phone

Get ready for some serious adventure and photography inspiration! I am beyond thrilled to announce our collaboration with the incredible photographer Steve Tan and his equally talented partner Meaghan from Tandem Photography. I first met Steve at an Intro to Mountain Biking event that Essential Cycles and Colour The Trails hosted in 2020. I believe that's also when Steve got his first good look at mountain biking and shortly after, purchased his first bike. From there, the rest, as they say, is history.

So Who Are Tandem Photography?

Tandem Photography, owned by Steve and his partner Meg, is a photography and videography service that specializes in capturing the beauty and excitement of outdoor sports, including mountain biking. They are also pretty amazing wedding photographers. Steve and Meg are also avid mountain bikers (hardtail riders to be more specific) and Steve shares his experiences on his YouTube channel, Hardtail Life.

Steve and Meaghan - Tandem Photography

So what's this Collab?

Our first video together is all about "how to take better mountain bike photos with your smart phone". It’s packed with tips and tricks on how to use your phone's camera to capture the action and beauty of mountain biking. Steve and Meg, with their expert photography skills, are sharing their knowledge and showing you how to get the most out of your phone's camera. From using the action mode to experimenting with different angles, we have covered everything you need to know to take your mountain biking photos to the next level. So, join us on this exciting journey as we explore the world of mountain biking through the lens of a camera.

Take Better Photos with your Phone:

1. Use the camera's sport or action mode:

Some smartphones have a sport or action mode that is specifically designed for capturing fast-moving subjects. This mode will typically use a faster shutter speed to freeze the motion of the biker and prevent blur.

2. Experiment with different angles:

Try shooting from different angles to add interest and variety to your photos. Get low to the ground for a unique perspective, or try shooting from above to capture the biker in the context of the trail or terrain.

Getting the right angles when you're a short person
Getting the right angles when you're a short person

3. Use the rule of thirds:

The rule of thirds is a composition technique that involves dividing the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically, and placing the subject of the photo on one of the intersecting points. This can create a more balanced and dynamic photo.

4. Use the gridlines:

Many smartphones have the option to turn on gridlines in the camera viewfinder. These lines can help you to align the shot and make use of the rule of thirds technique.

5. Use the burst mode:

Burst mode allows you to take a rapid succession of photos. This can be useful for capturing the perfect moment when a biker is in mid-air or performing a trick.

6. Use the panning technique:

To capture a biker in motion, try using a panning technique by moving the camera in the same direction as the biker as they move through the frame. This can create a sense of motion and speed in the photo.

7. Use the editing tools:

Most smartphones come with built-in editing tools that can be used to enhance and improve your photos. Use the brightness, contrast, and saturation adjustments to make your photos pop.

8. Be creative:

Experiment with different techniques and settings to capture the action and beauty of mountain biking. Play with light, framing and perspective to create unique and interesting photos.

Bonus Tip!

I often end up riding solo, and although I have a gorilla grip tripod and appropriate phone holding attachment I forget to bring them with me 99% of the time. I have found that with some clever balancing skills and the help of the occasional tree branch rested against a tree or even my bag tied around a tree I can often get a serviceable video that I can either crop for the action or even screenshot a single moment. It's not going to give you perfect crisp and clear photos, and that's okay, if you have done all of the above, it should still give you some pretty cool action photos that you can post to your socials.

Shameless plug for my friends!

While smartphone cameras have come a long way and with the right techniques, you can take great photos, it's still worth it to hire a professional photographer for special occasions or important moments. Professional photographers have the skills, equipment, and expertise to capture memories in a way that a smartphone camera just can't match. Hiring a professional photographer ensures that you will have high-quality, timeless photographs that you can treasure for a lifetime.

Something as simple as a little foreground foliage can make a huge difference to the feel of the photo
Something as simple as a little foreground foliage can make a huge difference to the feel of the photo
Same feature with Steve riding and no foreground effect
Same feature with Steve riding and no foreground effect


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