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Motorcycle Photography: My Journey into the Motorcycle Industry

April 27, 2020  •  1 Comment

The last few years I've really been focusing on expanding my motorcycle photography portfolio. So much so, that I now regularly shoot for a number of local businesses, including a motorcycle dealer, as well as a respected brand that produces bespoke motorbike gear.

 

It all started with my passion for both motorcycle stunt riding and photography. Along the way it's led me to snapping photos of professional bikers on track events, to setting up photo shoots with bikers and even incorporating it into another great passion of mine: cinematography.

 

Funnily enough though, when I began writing this blog, I hadn't really planned to even cover this topic! You see, I get asked so often about my photography style or signature look, that I thought it was about time I talked about it in a blog. The thing is, I get easily distracted and find it almost impossible to cut a long story short, as my friend Caroline likes to point out! Well, one thing lead to another and before I knew it I had created a bumper issue blog.

 

I started out discussing Colour Palettes and Colour Psychology in images and how filmmakers use colour to influence how we feel, without us even noticing. But that evening, while crashed out on the sofa, I happened to watch The Last Thing He Wanted on Netflix. To my amazement, it used a similar colour coordination technique as I do in my photography. It inspired me to get in touch with and set up an interview with Anne Hathaway's stunt double, Michelle Cortes...which then led me back to my own motorcycle stunt riding years and the current work I've been doing as a motorcycle photographer. Have I lost you yet? Told you I get easily distracted!

 

So, in the end, I thought I'd chop up all the different topics into separate blogs. So here we are, starting at the very beginning: my teenage years and motorcycle stunt riding.

 

Daredevil Motorbike Stunt Riding and My Teenage Years as a Photographer

 

In my ‘A Decade in Review’ blog (Click Here if you haven't seen it) I shared how I started my career in the creative industry. Beginning as a graphic designer, I worked my way up to become an art director, before shifting my focus and putting all my efforts into becoming a full-time photographer.

 

But let me rewind even further, to when I was in a child. I was fascinated by stunt work in films and on TV, so much so, that every time there was a fire gag or a motorcycle jump on the TV, my dad would shout out “Stunt!” to get my attention. For quite a few years I was adamant I wanted to be a stuntman. I would often leap from the first-floor window in our home, or ride my pedal bike through a wall of fire in the garden, much to my parent's horror!

 

Later, I became obsessed with motorcycles and in particular, Daredevil stunt riding. My heroes were, of course, Evel Knievel and Britain’s equivalent, Eddie Kidd. My teenage years were spent riding off-road learning balance tricks, trying to wheelie, ramp jump and ride through fire with my Cousin Dave Field (who was equally as mad and much more talented than I ever could be). Along with our friend Paul Dimond, we would attempt to wow crowds at local shows, fetes and carnivals and, quite honestly, I absolutely loved those days!

 

Phil's pedal bike jumpPhil pedal bike jump Phil stuntriding through Fire on his motorcyclePhil stuntriding through Fire on his motorcycle

Above: Back in the day. From pedal bikes to motorbikes, this is me riding through a fire bale at a Stunt Show in Kent.

News Article clipping of Dave Field and Magnificent Seven Stunt Team on a Suzuki PE250 News Article clipping of Dave Field and Magnificent Seven Stunt Team on a Suzuki PE250 Above: From my scrapbook, very happy days with my cousin Dave Field. Here he is jumping the Magnificent Seven Stunt Team on a Suzuki PE250. The same PE that jumped 31 cars with Robin Winter Smith.

 

Needless to say, I never became a professional stuntman, but I’m still in awe and slightly jealous when watching the new generation of stunt performers in action.

 

At the same time I was hoping to be a stuntman, I was also a keen photographer, and was encouraged by my dad who kindly let me use his SLR cameras, which of course used 35mm film. A very close family friend, Peter Titmus, who later became our next-door neighbour, was a professional photographer and was also a big encouragement. He kindly allowed me to use his darkroom from time to time.

 

When choosing my options at school I was encouraged to look at a career in photography, as it was what I loved and was less dangerous than leaping from a helicopter into an airbag. Unfortunately for me, I was the only pupil in my entire year who chose photography as an option, so that was out of the question. Not to worry, it was replaced with Chemistry and French, for which I failed massively!

 

But all things come together for good and after a lot of determination, here I am working as a professional photographer, still riding a motorcycle (with both wheels firmly on the ground) and doing what I love...which includes a good share of motorcycle photography!

 

Phil Jones on his Suzuki GSX S750 motorcyclePhil Jones on his Suzuki GSX S750 motorcycleSuzuki GSX S750
Above: That's me on my old Suzuki GSX S750

Motorcyle lifestyle photography shoot of Triumph jacketMotorcyle lifestyle photography shoot of Triumph jacket
Above and below: Here I am on the wrong side of the camera doing my best Littlewoods catalogue poses.

Motorcycle photography image of Triumph Speed Triple 1050 S Motorcycle photography image of Triumph Speed Triple 1050 S Here I am testing my camera and doing a bad job of modelling for a DSLR selfie
 

It's important in photography to shoot what you love, and although I specialise in People and Lifestyle Photography, I've been really keen to create images for the motorcycle industry. For many years I've taken myself to Brands Hatch for the weekend to watch The British Superbikes. Brands is my local circuit, which I've got to know quite well. It's allowed me to experiment with shooting in different locations around the circuit, using various camera settings and improving my shots as a motorcycle photographer. If you're interested in learning, I wrote a whole blog on How to Improve your Sports Photography.

Professional Motorbike photography image of Sylvan GuintoliProfessional Motorbike photography image of Sylvan Guintoli

Above: Sylvain Guintoli British Superbikes

Below: Jake Dixon British Superbikes

Professional motorbike racing photography image of Jake DixonProfessional motorbike racing photography image of Jake Dixon

Professional motorbike racing photography: Scott Redding British SuperbikesProfessional motorbike racing photography: Scott Redding British SuperbikesScott Redding at Brands Hatch at the British Superbike Championship 2019

Above: Scott Redding at Brands Hatch at the British Superbike Championship 2019

 

Motorcycle Gear Photography for Hideout Leather
 

All this practising has now paid off and I'm very pleased to have added motorcycle photography to my portfolio. I currently create images for Hideout Leather who manufacture bespoke motorcycling clothing. Kate and her team made custom motorcycle leathers for Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation and are particularly known for producing Custom Handmade Race Suits.

 

As well as photographing Hideout Leathers entire range, I’ve also created lifestyle images for Hideouts new website and had the opportunity to meet and photograph some of the riders they sponsor at different circuits.

 

Photograph of motorcycle rider Louis ValleleyPhotograph of motorcycle rider Louis Valleley

Motorcycle racing photography image stock 600Motorcycle racing photography image stock 600

Above: Stock 600 rider Louis Valleley wearing Hideout Leather custom-made race leathers. 

Below: It's all the detail for Hideout Leather

Photograph of Hideout Leather Brand logo on motorcycle jacket in black and whitePhotograph of Hideout Leather Brand logo on motorcycle jacket in black and white

Photograph of Hideout Leather Brand logo on motorcycle jacketPhotograph of Hideout Leather Brand logo on motorcycle jacket

Photograph of Cafe Cruiser Men's Motorcycle Jacket by Hideout Leather Photograph of Cafe Cruiser Men's Motorcycle Jacket by Hideout Leather Hideout Leather Cafe Cruiser Jacket Photograph of ladies motorcycle jacket by Hideout LeatherPhotograph of ladies motorcycle jacket by Hideout Leather

I may be slightly biased, but the quality of their work is incredible. Prior to working with them, their website didn't really show just how good their work is: from Retro Jackets, Street Leathers to Touring Textiles. I hope my images will now do their clothing justice.
 

Below: Motorcycle lifestyle location images for Hideout Leather. There are so many women who ride motorcycles these days and Hideout custom-made service offers style and protection.

Motorcycle photoshoot for Hideout LeatherMotorcycle photoshoot for Hideout Leather

Motorcycle model photoshoot for Hideout clothingMotorcycle model photoshoot for Hideout clothing Motorcycle model photoshoot for Hideout clothing on Triumph motorbikeMotorcycle model photoshoot for Hideout clothing on Triumph motorbike

Below: Shooting on location at Bealach na Bà in The Scottish Highlands. Motorcycle photography in Scottish landscape for Hideout Clothing Motorcycle photography in Scottish landscape for Hideout Clothing

Motorcycle clothing photography of women's leathers by HideoutMotorcycle clothing photography of women's leathers by Hideout

Above: Lifestyle location photography for motorcycle clothing

 

Event Photography for Motorcycle Dealer Lings Triumph Essex
 

Event photography image for motorcycle dealer Lings Triumph EssexEvent photography image for motorcycle dealer Lings Triumph Essex To add to my client list, I've also recently collaborated with Lings Triumph Essex covering event photography and creating images for social media. As I write this, they are refurbishing the dealership in Dunmow and I can't wait for Lockdown to be lifted so we can continue creating bespoke images for this incredible brand. Of course, I'll keep you posted, but make sure you follow them and me on social media so you don't miss out on the exciting events they have planned for when things return to normal.

photograph of Triumph Speed Triple 1050 S Motorbike photograph of Triumph Speed Triple 1050 S Motorbike Lings Triumph Essex Triumph Speed Triple 1050 S

photograph of unveiling of latest Triumph motorbike for Lings dealersphotograph of unveiling of latest Triumph motorbike for Lings dealers  

Above: Launch of the Street Triple 765 RS at Lings Triumph Essex

Below: For the Ride. Triumph Social Media image.

Triumph For The Ride social media image of Speed Triple motorcycleTriumph For The RideTriumph For The Ride social media image, Speed Triple motorcycle

If you have any questions or comments or if you're looking for motorcycle photography images for your brand, then please get in touch. Or, if you're reading this as a budding photographer then I hope you learn one thing from this blog, which is to never give up on your dreams and that you too end up doing what you love for a living.

 

Links:

Hideout Leather Website Click Here

Lings Triumph Essex Website Click Here

 

In Part Two I'll be talking about Creating a Signature Look, Colour Palettes, Lifestyle Photography and answering the ‘Why is the watch worn inside the wrist’ question!

 

Part Two Click Here

 

 

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Comments

Gary (GazTankMotors)(non-registered)
Good read and I am going to check out your back catalogue.
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