Taking photos on your motorcycle tour used to be simple. But trends and technology have moved on a lot over the last year or two.
For years, vloggers had us believe the only way to capture stunning footage of your motorcycle tour was to strap an action camera to your helmet.
And for a while, it was the only way.
But over the last year or two, things have moved on.
As technology advanced, gadgets and gizmos trickle their way down to the public, and we too can take advance of it.
After the action camera boom of the last decade, we started to see shifts in what people wanted to see.
Traditional action camera footage became less prevalent on social media as 360 cameras began to flood the market.
The popularity of drones came, went, and then came back again.
So as we go into 2022, what gear do you need to take amazing photos of your motorcycle tour?
Well, the simplicity of the answer might just surprise you.
Capturing Photos Of Your Motorcycle Tour
As a photographer, I’ve dabbled with most of the gear available on the market.
I’ve tried various cameras, smartphones, action cameras, 360 cameras, drones, pocket cameras and a whole host of software.
But for 2022, we’re stripping it back to basics.
All of our action cameras and 360 cameras were sold on eBay – as was our main stills camera and drone.
For 2022, a minimal set-up will be gracing our bags.
Reduced weight brings more versatility. And that’s not to mention way fewer batteries, USB cables, and accessories – all of which are a pain in the arse on a motorcycle tour.
Below, we go through our new, lightweight setup for 2022.
Using A Fujifilm X-T4 For Epic Photos Of Your Motorcycle Tour
I’ve been a staunch advocate of Fujifilm cameras for a while now. Where many cameras are awash with a thousand buttons, scrollers, and joysticks, Fuji cameras are simple and tactile.
When taking photos on tour, you often don’t have time to mess around finding options in menus and submenus. You need to point and shoot.
And that’s where Fujifilm cameras excel.
Not only this, but they feel good in your hand. Like iPhone’s, Fuji cameras are a joy to use – simple, clean, and uncomplicated.
There are higher-spec cameras out there than the Fuji X-T4. But most of them cost a lot more, weigh a lot more, and are more complicated to use.
For the price and spec, the Fuji X-T4 is unbeatable.
Top 10 Reasons We Like It:
- Great image quality
- In-body image stabilisation (IBIS)
- Excellent video quality
- Light and compact setup compared to most
- Quality lenses
- Customisable camera body
- Tactile user experience
- Flippy screen (adjustable)
- Reliable auto-focus
- Looks good, feels good, and is a joy to use
Airbourne Photos & Footage Of Your Motorcycle Tour
A few years ago, I took the plunge and spent almost £2,000 on a DJI Mavic 2 Pro. And I was blown away by it.
But in the real world, it cost so much money that I was petrified of flying it.
And despite its small and compact size, it wasn’t quite small or compact enough.
In a backpack, the drone, remote, and batteries were still a burden to carry. And still surprisingly heavy.
So for 2022, we made the shift over to the DJI Mini 2.
Whilst the Mini doesn’t produce the same quality of video or photos, the quality is good enough. And it’s less than a quarter of the price of the Mavic 2 Pro, which means I’m less afraid to break it.
But more than that, the DJI Mini 2 is tiny! It literally fits in the palm of my hand. And when touring, it fits comfortably in my jacket pocket.
I have extra batteries if I need them. But the Mini can also be charged on the move by plugging it into my bike or by using an external power source such as a power bank.
This eliminates the need to carry batteries should I choose to leave them behind.
Top 10 Reasons We Like It:
- Weighs 242 grams
- It really is tiny
- It’s easy and manageable to fly
- Has QuickShot modes
- Uses a 12 MP sensor
- Chargeable on the move
- Around 25 minutes flying time per battery
- It’s quiet compared to many drones
- Excellent image and build quality for the price
- Auto downloads clips and photos to your smartphone
Bring Home Stunning Photos Of Your Motorcycle Tour
It’s all well and good buying the kit mentioned above. But more important than the kit is knowing how to use it!
Taking a photograph is easy, right? You just point your camera at something pretty and press the shutter.
Well, yes, it is technically that simple. But if you want to make your images and video truly beautiful, there are some things you need to know.
Storytelling Is The Secret To Awesome Photos Of Your Motorcycle Tour
If you’re new to photography, storytelling is the most important thing you need when capturing photos of your motorcycle tour.
It doesn’t matter what camera you have, what bike you ride, or even where you are in the world. If you can’t make it into a captivating story, people will switch off.
Telling a story is the most important aspect of documenting your motorcycle trip.
You Don’t Need The Best Gear
Don’t get sucked into the mentality that expensive gear yields better results. It doesn’t.
And that’s because the camera doesn’t create the image or the story. You do.
With this in mind, concentrate on telling the story rather than camera gear, and you’ll do just fine.
If the products above are a little out of your price range, just use your smartphone. Phone technology is getting so good that you can easily create decent videos and photos using nothing more than your phone and a little imagination.
Show Rather Than Tell
Nobody wants you to tell them about your trip. They want you to show them. Your audience loves the human experience.
Your job is to get the viewers attention and then keep it by leading them on a journey that takes them from the start of your journey to the end.
Videos, photographs and commentary all play their part in telling your story.
Take Photos Of Your Tour – Not Your Motorcycle!
I’m sorry to tell you this, but nobody cares about your bike!
I know you’ve spent £20,000 on your Ducati and you love it. But everybody has already seen that exact Ducati a million times before.
And don’t forget, not all of your friends and family will be avid bikers. For most of them, your bike will just be ‘a bike.’
By all means, show it. But show it in context.
Show More Than Just The Road
As with showing too much footage of your bike, don’t show us too much of the road.
Yes, a GoPro attached to your chin will give us that rider-focused view of exactly what you were seeing at the time. And that’s great!
But we don’t need to see 1,000km’s of you hurtling through France on toll roads.
As mentioned above, it needs to have context. Otherwise, your viewer will be wondering why they’ve been looking at a road for the last half an hour.
Take Photos Of The Mishaps During Your Motorcycle Tour!
As mentioned above, people love the human experience. Of course, people want to see the roads, the breathtaking scenery and the most incredible sunsets.
But they also want to see you get a flat tyre. They want to see your struggle to change it, and they want to ultimately see you overcome the hurdle.
People want to see that moment when you fall off. They want to see when you get lost. They want to see you rise above the challenges of touring.
And whilst they do want to see the pretty bits, that’s not all they want to see.
Move The Camera To Document Your Surroundings
As mentioned above, if you’re using a GoPro, it doesn’t have to be permanently fixed to your chin.
Get off the bike, put your camera on a rock, and then film yourself riding past it.
Try filming your buddies, and then get them to film you.
Different camera angles keep your audience engaged – so consider shooting behind you or panning left-to-right.
Put your camera on the ground as your ride past. Or put it somewhere high, so the camera is looking down on you instead of at eye level.
Finally, capture something other than yourself or your bike! Document the scenery to show us where you are. Or show us a stylish shot of the lovely meal you’ve just been served or that ice-cold beer with droplets running down the side of the glass.
Taking Photos Of Your Motorcycle Tour: Keep It Simple!
I once attached five GoPro’s to my bike and hit record at the start of my ride out. My logic was sound in that I wanted to capture the ride in pretty much 360 degrees – which I achieved.
However, editing that footage afterwards took me months! Literally months.
To make it worse, I’d also recorded myself talking, which meant that the commentary had to match the footage or it didn’t make sense.
In the end, I got so frustrated and confused that I ended up just taking the best bits and putting it all to music.
The moral of the story? Keep it simple!
Yes, use different angles. But use just one camera at a time and accept right from the start that you can’t record the entire trip.
Don’t Record Everything From Your Trip!
This is another mistake we all fall into. We become so scared of missing something that we try to record everything.
But the truth is, not all of your tour will be worth watching.
If you have a 200-mile stint on a motorway, do you really need to record it? No, you don’t.
Take the camera off, save the battery, save the memory space, and save yourself hours of editing when you get home.
Editing Photos From Your Motorcycle Tour
This is where people start to get all anxious!
The truth is, you will need some sort of software to edit your footage.
Professionals use it to colour-grade and blend and add effects.
But even as an amateur, you will need to chop and change your clips and photos and put them in some sort of order.
Do you need to spend hundreds of pounds on this software? No of course not.
Professionals do because they need the functionality, and they need it continually.
But as an amateur who won’t need this software again until the next trip, your best bet is to take advantage of the free trials that most software programs offer.
Plan Whilst You Shoot, Not Afterwards
The final thing to remember whilst documenting your motorcycle trip is to think whilst you shoot.
There’s nothing wrong with taking hundreds of photos and video clips and then piecing them all together when you get home.
You absolutely can do that, and it will be fine.
But if you can, try to pre-visualise what you want the result to be whilst you’re shooting. The end result will be way more coherent and much more professional.
Get Creative With B-Roll
If you’re wondering what B-roll is, it’s footage to supplement the main shot. In terms of video, it’s usually used to set the scene and tell the story.
So if you were in a forest, you might take some stylish shots of meadow flowers or a running stream. Or you might set the camera up to focus on a sign that reads “Welcome to X Town” and then have you riding into the shot and past the sign.
B-roll footage can also be used to show the atmosphere of a place. If you were riding in the mountains, you might use it to capture fog or a thunderstorm. And you can also use it to record sounds such as a waterfall or birdsong.
B-roll is an art in and of itself and will improve the more you practice it. And whilst it isn’t essential, it’s a good way of telling your story and adding that cinematic feel to your footage.
How To Take Amazing Photos Of Your Motorcycle Tour: Conclusion
Whilst it’s tempting to go out and buy all the best gear, the fact is it serves only to weigh you down and overcomplicate things.
Keep it simple!
Get yourself a Fujifilm X-T4 and a DJI Mini 2 instead. Learn how to use them, get creative, and revel in the freedom your lightweight powerhouse of a setup allows you!
Good luck, and happy travels!
So now you know what to do, you need to know where to go! Here are some suggestions:
- Motorcycle Touring In The Jura Mountains
- Motorcycling In The Vosges: Make It A Priority!
- Touring In France: Don’t Dismiss It!
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Top image via Brandon Erliner-Ford