Italian motorcycle studio

Ducati 998R in the ‘studio’

Making an Italian motorcycle studio

I was recently asked by a motorcycle collector who lives in the Middle East to photograph his bikes stored back in the UK .He’d seen my portfolio online and wanted a studio shoot. The collection is kept at a storage site near me and I know the owners so it made sense to build a ‘studio’ on site. For best results, and if money is no object a professional car or motorcycle studio would be an infinity cove which are few and far between these days as well as very expensive to hire. So I brought my mixed selection of studio lighting, stands, clips and clamps that I’ve collected over thirty years and we erected a black background in one corner of the unit to create an environment to shoot the collection.


Ducati 916

It’s always a compromise working this way as other lighting and daylight can affect the reflective surfaces but it works better with motorcycles than with cars which have more bodywork.

I used this technique to photograph a book ‘The Art of the Ducati’ a few years back, building small ‘studios’ all over Britain. Some copies are still available. :

I first hung a white sheet between two poles and a black lightproof background beneath.Two powerful flash heads backlit the top white sheet projected a bright rim light around the edge of the subject. Softboxes fill in the rest of the frame. I use an Elinchrom Ranger battery system to fire off the other Bowens flash heads remotely from the camera which allows for faster working not being tethered.

Ducati 1098R

The images are then cleaned up in Photoshop with any distracting reflections removed or adjusted and the background consolidated as a dense black to achieve the final image.I photographed fully lit versions but my favourites were the low key versions.

see the full size image here :

MV Agusta final image