We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Film

A photography seminar is an ideal way to attract riders to your store.

What do cave paintings have to do with motorcycles?

Motorcycle trips are adventures. No matter how well you plan or how experienced the riders, something unexpected will happen. Maybe that’s why we all ride, because it presents opportunities to step outside of our day-to-day routines and face novel challenges, not only to see new things but also to experience new things.

Whether painted on stone with plant dyes and animal blood or drawn by electronic charges on a CD, we like to document our personal experiences. We want a record for sharing or maybe to remind ourselves that yes, we did that way back when. It also works as a great way to get late-staying guests to exit your party. "Hey guys! Come watch a slide slow of the 7,216 photos we took of our most recent trip to Alaska. We shot absolutely everything for 6,000 miles. You’ve gotta see it!" say that, and watch them disappear. Bingo!

The Digital Age

There are moments on every motorcycle trip that should be captured. Sometimes it’s a mountain vista of incredible beauty. Sometimes it’s your amigo’s hungover face at the campsite the morning after. Maybe it’s the flat tire that keeps returning like the undead to revisit your riding companion’s bike. His frustration can be your art, or it may be that he pops your camera-toting hand with a very small tire iron and squirts some Slime on your lens. But that could be fun, too — shoot it!

It’s almost like digital cameras were designed specifically for motorcycle travelers. They’re ideal for carrying and shooting photographs on a road trip. Sure, they work pretty much the same as a film camera, point, focus, shoot, but one of the major things that makes them different is the joy of instant gratification. You shoot. You see. No worries!

If you do miss a shot or someone has their eyes closed, you can see a problem and reshoot. No more missed opportunities. And no more film. No more development time and costs. You have virtually unlimited shooting capacity. You can shoot ’em up as much as you want, cowboy!

Basic Top 10 List For Better Trip Photos

As a result of digital technology, there has been a mad, crazy rush to shoot and record rides, rallies, events — you name it. So have you ever considered holding a photography seminar in your store? It doesn’t have to be extremely technical. In fact, it should be very basic.

From personal experience with our magazine, we know that people want more information about how to take great shots while out on motorcycle trips. And there are some basic tips which can be presented quite simply.

With The Sun (Right)

Against The Sun (Wrong)

1. Light: A bright, but cloudy day provides the best light because the light is very even, without the harsh shadows of a sunny day.

2. More light: When shooting in bright sun, try to avoid shooting on the shady side. Put another way, don’t shoot into the sun — shoot with the sun (see photo examples). Shooting into the sun is possible, but it is an advanced skill.

3. Even more light: The best light is usually during the early morning or sunset hours. This light often imparts an appealing golden glow to your photos.

4. Motion: Unless you’re an expert, shoot riding shots with the bike coming directly towards you or riding away. This helps avoid blurred motion. Don’t stand in the road to do this.

5. Panning: If you want to try to shoot motion from the side, pan with the bike for a few seconds before pressing the shutter. Catching a bike in motion takes plenty of practice.

6. Put your Passenger to work: They have a great view and can capture both the scenery and the bike riding next to you. Some great shots are taken this way.

7. Shoot too much, rather than too little: With digital photography there’s no excuse for not shooting something. Shoot anything and everything!

8. Experiment: Use the camera’s automatic modes, but try some of the manual modes to see what happens. Make the shutter speed faster to catch action, play with the aperture to change depth of field.

9. Maintenance: Always carry at least one spare battery and bring the charger. Carry more memory than you think you’ll ever use. You’ll use it. Carry lens cleaner and papers and clean the lens daily. Shots can be ruined because of a dirt ball or finger smudge on the lens.

10. Have fun: It’s your life … capture the moments.

Sharing The Knowledge

If you’re one of the many dealerships seeking to become a "destination dealership," a photo seminar is an ideal way to attract riders. If one of your employees is an expert or hobby photographer, here’s a way to get him/her more engaged and excited about work by giving him/her the opportunity to be the expert.

Or perhaps one of your loyal customers is a hardcore shooter willing to share wisdom in a seminar format. The idea here is to bring people in for the seminar by offering solid tips for shooting and sharing their photographs. Your customers will appreciate the chance to learn more. (We won’t even mention the onbike camera mounts, mini-video cameras, helmet cams and other goodies that you can stock).

Expanding Your Online Presence With Customer-Generated Content

All business websites quickly get stale without fresh content. This is an opportunity to amplify and energize your online presence. Engage your customers in photography and generate website traffic by providing a customer photos section on your website. Post photos of their trips and of the events hosted by your store. Part of the joy of the experience is sharing photos with other people, plus people love to see themselves online. You can develop a community of active riders who will bring repeat traffic to your website.

Digital technology has created a boom in photography. Although the connection may not have been obvious, you can leverage that interest to build floor traffic and generate excitement about your dealership. It’s a snap!

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