I take LOTS of photos while cycling. And occasionally I even take a good photo or two.
But when riding in Cyclosportives or along famous climbs there are often professional photographers along the route. The first few times I tried to avoid them even raising my hand to block the photo. But I have been converted.
As it can often lead to some pretty good shots. The pros will usually be standing in a prime spot with great scenery – or a 10% grade sign like the Mont Ventoux picture at left.
The Pros also do a great job of slightly tilting the landscape so it looks even steeper than reality – see 2nd and 3rd photo above. Don’t admit this to anyone looking at your photos though.
Here Are My Top Tips For Being Photographed By A Pro:
#1 Remember to Beat Your Friends
Most events take photos at the finish line.
This photo of Martin and I was at the finish line of the 2007 Cyclo Tour du Léman (174 kms around Lake Geneva). Notice how I carefully won by a foot! It’s on film now for eternity. Sorry Martin but I kicked your butt.
#2 Make It Look Like You Are Ahead of Everyone
I scan the routes ahead looking for photographers. I then ensure I am not behind anyone. Sometimes this entails speeding up …. but slowing down and letting the old guy go who’s wheel you have been sucking works VERY well.
In the photo on the left from Sunday’s Gruyere Cycling Tour, I slowed down and let a guy that was at least 70 speed away. In the photo on the right during La Marmotte, there are in fact perhaps 6000 riders ahead of me!
#3 Fake That You Are Strong
In June I rode the Morzine d’Aulps Cyclosportive during a heat wave. Almost 7 hours in I found myself 2/3’s of the way up the legendary Col de Joux Plane totally bonked, completely out of gas.
I stopped to breathe at a hairpin and suddenly saw the photographer. We eyed each other warily.
Then I got back on the bike and jumped out of the saddle while he loudly cheered me on. I turned the corner and immediately collapsed again. But an OK photo (despite my therapeutic sock)!
#4 Don’t Buy the Really Lousy Photos
Buying photos costs money – of course. Often the pro photos are pretty useless. And sadly, most of the shots of me descending seem like a crash is imminent.
The photo on the left is me during the 2008 Mont Blanc Time-Megeve – apparently riding over a field.
This race had about 10 photos for sale …. and this was the best. I passed.
#5 Save Money With A Team Shot
Nearing the top of Alpe d’Huez, I yelled at the photographer for a group shot “ensemble s’il vous plait!” of Martin and I. Damn – that sock again!
#6 Remember to Smile
Of course, my favorite. Doreen Conquers Alpe d’Huez.
#7 It’s Cheaper to Take Your Own Photos
It’s far more satisfying to take a good photo than to buy one. Cycling in the Swiss Alps Above Murren:
LOL Great rainy day post William 🙂
A few other tips:
1. Make sure you grab the photographers business card when climbing famous mountains on non-race days, and ensure that the card doesn’t fuse with melted power bar wrappers in your back pocket rendering it too disgusting to read!
2. Get the digital version so you can photoshop out chain ring tatoos and nearby riders who are in fact only doing the 40 km ride, and
3. Make sure you have some bling swinging around your neck while climbing
When I climbed Galibier, there was a pro, but it’s very VERY expensive. I think it’s possible to take the same photo myself, for free…
But it’s a good “souvenir” (cycling groups, sockets…)
Bast – yes sometimes the photos are too expensive. But the Gruyere one last week was only about 8 euros – not bad for Switzerland
Slogfester: Yes, the photo of you (4th at top) still includes all the guys with the green numbers (the baby route!!)
When we did Izoard this year my card absolutely melted
Ha ha ha, I am lucky to have such a funny husband. I love the thought of you sprinting for 7 seconds for a great photo before collapsing.
I have a ‘top tip’ for myself after seeing that Alpe d’Huez photo — if you’re having a bad hair day, just keep the helmet on!!
excellent tips, seriously
I would just add one thing : if you don’t want to buy any photos, lousy or not, please do not throw away the photographer’s card that he will slip in your pocket even if you do not take it yourself …
Ha – great tips! When I had this picture taken by the Photo Breton guys near the top of the Galibier, I purposely got out of the saddle and grimaced to make it look harder than it was. I love the photo now 🙂
Arlyn – well done! great photo
that photo was taken very near to the 3rd small photo above. I chose my “game face” but getting out of the saddle is the preferred strategy. 🙂
Sprocketboy – You caught the missing tip. I knew it was coming, but for once I did not want to make fun of myself. Thanks for your help ;-D
Will – Great idea for a very nice blog entry.
Eric, if I could ride the way you do I wouldn’t have to make fun of your photography to compensate!
Great post, Will! I really enjoyed the tips. Indeed, taking your own photos is the cheapest way to go. That is, if you have a trusted someone positioned at the “right” spot to take the shots. Just remember not to cycle too fast the next time you hand that camera of yours to my dear husband. 😀
#3 Fake that you are Strong.
As well as standing out of the saddle make sure you put it into the big chainring for a couple of seconds as you go past the cameraman