The BIKE Magazine Photography Contest 2022 is underway, and this year’s competition is looking to be fiercer than ever. But with so many talented photographers after this year’s prize, it might sound impossible to score the perfect biking pic.
Luckily, this article is here to help.
Choose Your Category
The art of photography is a complicated one, with many factors to consider when shooting for that perfect photo. So, first, it is important to decide what sort of picture you want to take, before going out into the field.
The BIKE Magazine Photography Contest 2022 features 14 categories; Futurism, Pro Cycling, Road Cycling, Off-road Cycling, MTB, Cycling Holiday, Touring, Bikepacking, Sport, Nature, Architecture, Commuting, Tech Geek, and Open Theme. Each one focuses on a different aspect of biking, meaning your photographs for each category should also focus on that category’s unique characteristics.
Of course, every category is yours to interpret, but it is important to understand this interpretation, before going to the next step.
Choose Your Camera
Once you know what sort of image you want to take, your next step will be deciding how you will take your photographs. Modern photography offers a huge range of methods to take your photos, accounting for all budgets and technical know-how. However, every method has its pros and cons, and are worth looking into before going out to get that perfect shot.
It is fair to say that almost everyone in the modern world owns a smartphone. Whether it be the newest model iPhone, or an android from a few years back, smartphones have become the norm, and have given everyone who owns one the power of photography.
Smartphone photography is an exceptional choice for those new to photography, due to its ease of use and accessibility. Shots can be taken in bursts to capture movement, timers can be set to capture tricky shots, and there are many built-in programs to allow on the fly editing of aspects such as saturation, brightness, and contrast.
Smartphones also offer a large storage space, meaning you can take as many photographs as you need to capture the perfect shot. It allows for practise and refinement, to take as many shots as you need until you get it right.
As Salva Fonolla, the Special Award winner in last years BIKE Photography Contest stated in an interview in our June issue, ‘talent doesn’t work without practise’, meaning that if you want to make the cut and be in with a chance of winning, you will need to practise your photography skills. Practise makes perfect, and smartphone photography makes practise easy.
For those wanting the best image quality possible, however, your answer will lie with digital cameras. Many professional photographers in the current day opt to use digital photography when taking their photographs, due to the focus this technology puts in specifically to create the highest quality image possible.
Digital photography cameras, such as those produced by Nikon and Canon, offer a far higher image quality compared to smartphones, as well as more built-in options to allow more control of the images taken.
Despite the benefits granted by digital photography, there are photographers that swear by the magic of analog photography.
Analog photography consists of the use of cameras that take a finite amount of film, which must be developed after shooting. There is often no way of previewing these images before they are developed, and there is even less room for error due to the limited amount of shots on each roll of film. Furthermore, for many, it is difficult to control the outcome of these images due to the development process.
So, why would anyone choose film photography as their method of choice?
An article by Canva suggests that many of the difficulties presented by analog photography are actually a reason why analog photography should be considered. The uncertainty of the results, and the limited amount of shots per film, makes for photos which are wholly unique.
Therefore, analog photography is seen by many photographers as the ultimate test of skill; to take stunning images despite the limitations. The article suggests that film cameras provide insight into how photos are taken, as well as teach you a lot about light and colours, which can result in stunning photography.
Know Your Photography 101
With an idea in mind, and a camera in hand, it’s now time to go out and take those photographs.
Consider Your Location
Location is key when taking your photographs. The backdrop to an image can often be what defines it, whether that be the backdrop of nature or of man-made structures. What does the backdrop bring to the image? What information about the image does the backdrop bring? Comparing the locations of these two image makes the impact and meaning behind the photographs clear.
Finally, a knowledge of composition theory is necessary to take the best photos possible.
An article from ThoughtCo. lists the eight key elements of composition; unity, balance, movement, rhythm, focus, contrast, pattern, and proportion. These are essential to understand in order to take a photo, lest the subject be too close to the camera, the colours be too alike to distinguish anything, or the focus of the image be lost.
As last years Sports category winner Joan Aizpuru said in our August issue, place, moment, and technique are part of what makes the perfect photo. But another factor is luck. Being lucky enough to catch the perfect weather, the perfect lighting, the perfect angle. All to catch what you hope is the perfect photo.
So good luck!