The rise of custom motorcycle culture has been fueled by photographers. The bikes have always been there—from the bob-jobs of the 1930s to the café racers of the 1960s. But over the past ten years, the internet has made it easier for photographers as well as builders to show off their skills.
Love it or hate it, social media is a great leveler. A handful of truly talented photographers have risen to the top, with growing fanbases—and growing demand from brands eager to harness their skills.
In the first of an occasional series, we’re going to showcase the work of the top motorcycle photographers. To kick things off, we’ve got Aaron Brimhall, Jun Song and David Marvier.
Where are you based? I currently live in Salt Lake City, Utah with my wife Sal and my dog Sammy. What bike do you ride? I ride a Harley Sportster, just like everyone else.
Where do you get your inspiration? When I’m thinking about the shoot I want to do next, a lot of it is inspired almost by a Nat Geo type feel, but not with animals. I always try and get a different landscape when planning a shoot.
How did you get started in motorcycle photography? It started when I moved back to Utah from Guam two years ago. I’d shot nothing but really colorful beach stuff, and I really wanted to do something different. (If you go back on my Instagram, you can see all the intense colorful photos on there.)
So I went back to where I started—when my friends and I would go riding, we would just stop at a random spot and start shooting. It was nothing really out of the ordinary. It was just something to do and I started posting on Instagram, and people caught on!
What equipment do you use? Canon 5D Mark III and a few lenses.
Your favorite shooting location? Hands down—Indonesia. The best scenery to work with.
If you had one piece of advice for readers who like to shoot bikes, what would it be? For me, everything looks better in motion. Also: try and be really consistent.
Where are you based? Salt Lake City, Utah. What bike do you ride? A 2014 Triumph Thruxton and a 1980 Honda CB125.
Where do you get your inspiration? I get inspired through beautiful landscapes and fortunately I’m surrounded by those in Utah. I’m a landscape photographer at heart, so my backdrop is as important, if not more, as the subject itself.
How did you get started in motorcycle photography? I’ve been an avid photographer over the past decade, and when I finally got my bike two years ago, it was natural to photo-document the places I rode to.
What equipment do you use? My workhorse gears are a Canon 5D Mk II and a 7D Mk II, with 35mm f/1.4 and 70-200mm f.2.8 lenses. Favorite camera is my Hasselblad 501cm. Also love my GoPro Hero 4 Silver. And last but not least, my iPhone 6, which I use more often than people think I do. It’s amazing what you can get out of this little camera.
Your favorite shooting location? I love to go shoot and ride at Big Cottonwood Canyon in Utah. This canyon is not only minutes from Salt Lake City, but also breathtaking no matter what time of the year you go up there.
If you had one piece of advice for readers who like to shoot bikes, what would it be? Stop putting cheap-shitty filters on your photos. I just don’t understand why people do it.
Where are you based? Bordeaux, South West France. What bike do you ride? A Yamaha YZF1000 Thunderace. Not super beautiful, but lots of power and THE perfect bike for the many long rides I do. It carries my equipment perfectly. I’m changing the fairing this winter for an endurance one, and repainting it as well.
Where do you get your inspiration? I used to work in fashion photography. I take my inspiration from there, and my base of technical knowledge comes from there too. But I also get it from other photographers, from videos, from movies….
How did you get started in motorcycle photography? I worked in fashion for a long time. I learnt a lot, but I needed to find a ‘scene’ more in line with my passions. I needed to get out of the studio, breathe in wild spaces, and shoot authentic and spontaneous subjects.
I started with Wheels & Waves a few years ago. That first photographic session got very promising feedback, so I’ve kept going ever since. Every year is getting more and more exiting, with more and more interesting people to meet and projects to shoot.
What equipment do you use? I use a Canon 1Ds Mark III and several lenses. For software, I work with CaptureOne, Photoshop and Lightroom.
Your favorite shooting location? I love shooting from my bike while I’m riding. But in general I like being outside, riding mountain roads or desert tracks. Indoor locations offer really soft and interesting light: the day runs in a super different atmosphere. The big upside of my job: an office in constant evolution!
If you had one piece of advice for readers who like to shoot bikes, what would it be? Don’t get blocked by technical aspects, and make it simple. The most important things are light, subject, focus, framing and color harmony. (It’s not easy to give advice…)
Thanks to Saint for their assistance with this feature. #ridefastridefree