I currently own a Nikon D40x and would like to start taking some nice stills of bikes, as well as people riding their bikes. I have the kit lens that came with the camera (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G). The second that things start to get a bit technical I get quite lost in the photography world, so I was hoping to get some advice.

The kind of photographs that I plan on taking would be similar to the ones found here: http://prollyisnotprobably.com/2011/10/beautiful_bicycle_mattchews_ca.php.

My questions are as follows:

  • What kind of lens should I get? I'm looking for crisp colors, big depth of field, and a lens that might be compatible with a better camera when I choose to upgrade.
  • Besides shooting in RAW, what are other things that could help me achieve these quality of photographs? What mode is best to shoot in? ISO? I'm definitely targeting images that are VERY similar to the ones posted in that link.
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Based on the sample images, perhaps you're looking for shallow depth of field? \$\endgroup\$
    – Imre
    Oct 13, 2011 at 19:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your title says "motion" but the examples are almost all stationary. These require quite a different approach. What are you looking for? \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Oct 14, 2011 at 18:16

2 Answers 2


Quite a few things going on here. I'll go over a few items that will help get you images such as this, but the questions you are asking could fill a book, so I'll keep it high level.

These images were created with a lens that is capable of a large aperture, such as f/1.8 that is found in the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens. That blurs the background, and actually gives a shallow depth of field.

It is likely that an amount of post processing in Photoshop or a similar program is required to achieve the coloring and contrast of these images.

Beyond that I would say that no special ISO was used or setting on the camera. You just would want to make sure that you are forcing your aperture to open up wide to a value such as f/1.8.

If you are concerned about compatibility with future camera bodies, and are interested in a lens that offers a large aperture at a "normal" focal length you may want to try the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D as a secondary lens.


If you'd like to take pictures of people riding them then you need to read up on panning. By panning you can actually capture some sense of movement, the problem when there's no movement you can end up with either an odd sort of pose or the it'll feel a bit flat.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Panning is the first thing I thought of when read "people riding their bikes". You can practice this technique on cars by camping out off the road near a stop sign, when cars aren't going quite so fast. \$\endgroup\$
    – jfklein13
    Oct 14, 2011 at 16:49

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