How to take the perfect picture of a motorcycle for a classified ad

Taking a picture of your motorcycle to go in a for sale advert needn’t be stressful, follow these simple tips to nail it!

gs trophy 2021

TAKING a decent picture of your motorcycle for a for sale advert is vital to getting the money you want for your soon to be ex-pride and joy. A well-taken photograph will attract more attention on the website, entice more serious buyers, and maybe help you get a better price for the machine.

To nail the job and get the best picture possible is actually fairly easy. You don’t need any fancy equipment, just a smartphone with a half-decent camera, a bit of time on a weekend and somewhere to take the snaps.

Follow these steps to take the best pictures of your bike possible.

Unless it is being listed as a project, it shouldn't look like this!

1. Sort any little jobs before you start snapping

LED indicator hanging off? Misted speedo? Surface rust on your exhaust? All of these jobs should be sorted before you even reach for your camera. Get your motorcycle looking the best it can before you start taking any pictures.

2. Give it a decent clean

We aren’t talking about a bed bath with a mucky sponge and a hose down here. Get properly in, around and under the bike. Pay particular attention to the chain, wheels, brakes and fairing. Giving it a clean will help you spot any faults that may have arisen without you noticing, giving you a second chance to sort those before listing. It also, obviously, means your bike is going to be looking its best in the images.

That background here is extremely fussy

3. Location, location, location…

Snapping a picture of your bike while it is leaning against a moss-covered wooden shed just screams at the person viewing the advert that this is where the bike has lived its life. And even if it has, you don’t want to advertise that!

Take the bike out once it's clean and push it somewhere where you have a totally clear background to place the bike. A plain, light-coloured garage door is great, a nice layby with stretching views off into the distance behind the bike on a sunny day is even better.

The late afternoon sun and clean background make the most of the Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited

4. Natural light is the best light for a motorcycle picture

Unless you have a few thousand pounds worth of camera studio equipment, natural light is the one you need. The flash on your phone will likely not reach more than ten feet away, and it’ll cast shadows and highlight the bits you really don’t want to see.

Standing on the shaded side of the picture does nothing for the Honda CMX1100

And it’s not like we’re saying you need the brightest of sunny days to do this, so long as it isn’t too overcast or raining, pretty much any weather will do!

Likewise, taking a snap in your garage under fluorescent tube lighting isn’t the best idea. With the tubes mounted above, you won’t be able to see the most important part of the bike – the engine. Get it outside for the greatest effect.

The bike has been cropped out, it's not central in the frame and the horizon isn't level

5. Frame it up properly

There is nothing worse than seeing a picture of a bike where half the front wheel is cut off, the image is wonky or blurred from movement. Take your time and try and get the bike front and centre in the image. You can use the camera’s digital zoom to help out, although for the best quality move backwards and forwards until you have the bike dead centre in the middle of the frame. You don’t want to be able to see anything but the bike, get some of the background in for reference too.

Noce and level, centred in the frame and with nothing cropped out

A neat trick when taking a picture of a bike is to get low to the ground, not so much that the image is taken from the perspective of an ant, but enough that the bike looks striking and naturally attracts your attention to the subject matter of the image – the bike!

6. It’s all in the detail

Once you have the main images done, it might be worth taking some close-ups of the bike to help give a better idea of the condition. For these, again, natural light is best, although for some of the hidden parts of the machine you may want to employ your camera’s flash.

When taking the pics of the details, think about how they will show on the screen, try and keep decals and badges level so they are easily readable and instantly recognisable.

7. Keep it about the bike

We all love pets, but a bike advert with your dog or cat perched on the seat doesn’t say anything about the bike. It simply tells the person viewing the image that you have a pet.

Likewise, nobody actually wants to see what you look like sitting on the bike you are trying to sell. Get yourself out of shot – unless you have been papped by a roadside snapper on a well know bike route. If that’s the case and the image is worth adding, stick it in there!

Most sites are geared up for portrait images - give it what it wants - not this!

8. Orientation is key

There is nothing, and I mean nothing worse than seeing a bike advert with the images either upside down or at 90° to the rest of the images on the page. Either shoot them the right way up or use the edit function on the phone to orientate the images correctly before you add them to the site.

For this image, Yamaha-MT-09-2021-for-sale.jpeg will suffice

9. Give the pictures a name

Not, Dave, Keith or Mary mind! Most phones allow you to change the name of the image, and if you don’t have that function, you might have a laptop or computer that will. Adding a name to the image will help Google to know what the image is of. Once it knows this the image might show up in Google search results, increasing the likelihood of it being seen by somebody who is looking to buy just such a bike!

10. List it on the right website!

And last but most certainly not least, list your motorcycle on a website that is geared up to help you sell your bike as quickly as possible, and at the right price. The Visordown Marketplace is viewed by tens of thousands of people every day. And with a reach of more than 2m avid motorcycle fans per month, there really is no better place to list your bike for sale - and best of all, it's totally free of charge to use!

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