rick fairless chopper suzie photographed by dallas advertising photographer, jason ulsrud

Rick Fairless’ Epic Suzie Chopper

I never even considered becoming a motorcycle photographer, but when I had the chance to create a Celebrity Showcase Portrait for Rick Fairless of Stroker’s Dallas, I jumped at the opportunity.

So today, I’m going to unveil the first ever Photillustrator Motorcycle Portrait of Rick Fairless’ Epic Suzie Chopper.

I’m used to creating awesome Family Portraits and Editorial Portraits, but an inorganic hunk of chrome, steel, rubber, and leather?

That’s out of my wheel house!

That is, until I created this very cool Motorcycle Portrait.

A Masterpiece and a Portrait

I’ve always said, “A Photo is only as good as the subject being Photographed”, and I believe that with every fiber of my being.

A mediocre subject will make the best of Photographers look mediocre, but a Great Subject can make the mediocrest of Photographers look Great.

Thankfully, I had a Great looking Subject, and I was reluctantly confident I could produce a Great Portrait.

rick fairless chopper suzie photographed by dallas advertising photographer, jason ulsrud

Going into this Portrait Project, I had a general idea of how I was going to pull this off, but not everything went smoothly.

Like most Portrait Projects I undertake, I set out to capture a series of Photos, I would later Composite together to create one Badass Chopper Portrait.

Let me show you what went into it, and the problems I faced.

Breaking Down this Composite

You might be wondering why I would choose to Composite this Portrait, rather than simply doing it all in camera with a single image.

And, if you are, I have a pretty good answer for you.

FIRST, I’m not a gear junkie and love the limitations of using a simple gear setup, which means, I better know my stuff.

If you want to become a great Photographer, limit yourself to the basics, and see what happens.

For this Portrait, I used my Canon 6D with a 24 – 105mm lens and one Einstein light on a C-Stand with a Boom Arm.

That’s it.

rick fairless suzie chopper in photoshop editing by dallas advertising photographerSECOND, I’m a control freak and there are simply some things you can’t do in camera and one single shot.

For starters, I like my backgrounds to have a bit of a blur, and because I’m using a 24 – 105, 4.5 lens, that becomes a little tough.

Also, Photoshop gives me the freedom to highlight specific elements either on the bike, or in the background, that would be difficult to accomplish without a 10 to 15 light setup.

And I just don’t have the time to do that elaborate of a setup.

Overcoming Problems

You might think being a Professional Photographer is about taking cool pictures, but it’s not.

Hell, a lot of people take some pretty cool pictures with their iPhones.

Nope, being a Professional Photographer is ALL about Solving Problems.

Every Portrait I’ve ever created, whether is was of living people, or inanimate objects, came with a problem or problems.

Of course, being this was the first time I’ve ever Photographed a motorcycle, I was expecting some problems.

In fact, I told Rick Fairless in the middle of the Photo Shoot, “BTW, I have no F&$king idea what I’m doing here.”

Not something I would recommend telling your clients in the middle of a Photo Shoot.

chopper 1

chopper 2

chopper 3

chopper 4

chopper 5

That’s a Wrap

Many of the problems I faced were overcome by me shooting a lot of different shots, using different light setups.

Ultimately, Rick Fairless loved the Portrait I did of his Suzie Chopper, and I was invited back to create a Portrait of his Pam Chopper, which I’ll share with you at a later date.

For now, this was the first, and I thank Rick for giving me this experience.

How would you have gone about Photographing this Chopper? How would you have handled the unforeseen problems?

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.