By Adam “Picasso” Sternberg
For 22 years I’ve been a professional photographer in Las Vegas, Nevada. When people ask me what I do for a living and I tell them I’m a photographer, they automatically assume I shoot weddings or concerts, but I actually shoot primarily corporate events. I have dozens of Fortune 500 company clients that I work with every year, to showcase and highlight their company retreats, corporate parties, seminars, conventions, expos, and so forth. One week I’m shooting corporate headshots for a major telecommunications company, the next week I’m taking pictures of a booth on an expo floor for a beef jerky company. Oddly enough, I really do love my job, and as bland as corporate photography may sound, it actually can be pretty exciting sometimes with all the variety it throws my way.
As passionate as I am about being a photographer, I have a love for motorcycles even more so. I’m currently the President of a Motorcycle Club here in Las Vegas (Eagle Riders MC); when I get a creative bug, I like to combine my two worlds and toy around with making some really awesome photos, many of which are hanging in our MC clubhouse. It was actually for this reason that I decided to do something really creative, that I knew would take a lot of work, but have a great result when it was done.
My idea was to have a beautiful blonde model (Selena D) in a shootout in downtown Vegas on a motorcycle. Now obviously we couldn’t make that happen as I personally don’t have the budget of a blockbuster movie production company, so we had to improvise a bit. We did the initial shootout on an abandoned stretch of highway during the sunset outside the city limits, with two assistants holding lights and equipment (one of whom was the owner of the motorcycle we used, a 2012 Harley-Davidson Street Glide…we call him “Cowboy”).
The second part of the shoot, the background, was on a high tourist-traffic area of Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. Shot at night, I actually had my wife block traffic so I could run into the street to get the shots I needed on a special tripod that allowed me to get very low angle shots. I was almost run over twice to get the shot I needed, but it was worth it!
I knew exactly how I want this image to look in my head; now I just had to put it all together in Photoshop. On these types of projects, I’m a bit of a stickler for detail. I spent three hours alone just cleaning up the neon signs to fix broken pieces that weren’t glowing. Another few hours cleaning up the road, the sidewalk and the buildings. Then came the work on the motorcycle. The technique of removing parts of an image is called “masking,” and I decided that the only parts of the motorcycle shoot I wanted were the model and the bike, so I masked out the background and made a composite image of the bike and the Vegas background. Then I had to make it look believable.
In all, it took about forty hours of work to make all the components of this image come together to where I was happy with it. The model, and especially the owner of the motorcycle, were all pleased, and it now sits in the poker room of our clubhouse. So if you ever wondered how some of these great motorcycle photos are shot, now you know! There’s a lot more that goes into it than aiming your smartphone…at least some of the time. 🙂
Adam Sternberg (a.k.a., “Picasso”)
www.shotbyadam.com | Instagram: shotbyadam
Model: Selena D | Instagram: selena_dead