How-to: Taking mountain bike selfies like a boss

Jeff Lenosky’s definitive guide to the trail selfie

How To

Sharing some of my knowledge with everyone on Mtbr.com through my monthly “how to” columns has been great. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to check some of them out and were able to pick up some helpful tips to use out on the trail. The style of my column so far has been to use self shot images along with text to break down skills into 5 or 6 steps so they’re easy to understand and remember.

Now that I have a few columns under my belt I figured I’d give you a little insight into the skills behind the skills. This month’s column will touch on how to take a great “selfie” because, honestly, what’s the sense of learning new skills if you can’t share them with the world via social media?

If you spend as much time riding alone as I do, becoming a selfie expert is a necessity in order to share your experiences. There are various ways to take selfies and lots of different styles. This month I’ll touch on a few of my favorites.

The Full Production

The Full Production Selfie

This selfie yields the best results but takes the most pre-planning and preparation. You will need to bring a camera preferably with a remote and some type of a device to hold the camera. My first choice for these is a GoPro with the iPhone app but you can use any type of camera you’re familiar with. If you have the ability frame your shot using a mobile app or remote screen it will help you get a much better picture. I like to use a small tripod called a Gorillapod which you can shape into all different configurations and clamp onto various objects. Try to be creative with your angles, after some practice you’ll start to figure out what works best and you’ll be on your way to being a selfie expert.

The Survivalist

The Survivalist Selfie

This technique can be used when you are riding with only the bare essentials for survival—your phone. Most smartphones these days take pretty high resolution video, you can put it to use by capturing some riding, then pausing the playback, taking a screen capture and you’ll end up with a photo suitable for your social networking needs. When using your phone to shoot video of yourself, you’ll need to be innovative and think of different ways to prop up your phone so it points in the direction of the action. I like to lean my phone against rocks or use a stick to stand it upright.

The Assisted

The Assisted Selfie

These types of pictures can be classified as selfies as long as you set it up yourself and your “assistant” looks like they’ve never seen a digital device before. I used my GoPro on a tripod for this shot while the guy helping me out, seen in the picture, stopped his lunch break to hit the record button my my iPhone app for me.

Faster than you

The I’m Faster Than You Selfie

The best way to capture a group ride experience is with a trail shot riding at the front of the pack. If you’re familiar with the trail, choose a smooth spot since you’ll need to take one hand off the handlebars. Make sure you smile and look like you’re not working hard. For maximum effect tag riders behind you when posting on social media sites.

Sweet Location

The I’m in a Sweet Location Selfie

The main point of this type of picture is to make it abundantly clear just how sweet the location you’re in is. Try to incorporate as much sun, mountain, foliage, dirt or trail into the picture as possible.

Not So Sweet

The I’m Not in a Sweet Location Selfie

These pictures are meant to capture a level of enthusiasm or commitment greater than what your friends especially non cycling ones would consider acceptable. It’s important to try not to look cold, wet or miserable even though you probably are at least one of those three. Bonus points if you actually document how cold, wet or miserable it is as. Advanced technique shown above using split screens.

The Billboardist

The Blatant Product Placement Selfie

This is an advanced technique that really should only be used by pro riders looking to promote the companies that support them. There are two main things to keep in mind when taking this kind of picture. First, make sure the product and or logos are in clear view and in focus. Second, make sure you look like you’re not trying to make sure the products and or logos are in clear view and in focus. In the photo above I’m just cleaning my bike… No big deal.

The Non-Selfie

The Non-selfie Selfie

More commonly known as a POV shot, it’s still a selfie and needs to be in your arsenal.

The Don’t Rememberie

I Don’t Remember This Selfie

This is pretty self explanatory and almost mandatory for any self respecting mountain biker. Bonus points if you drank craft beers or if the person in the picture remembers less than you do.

I hope you find this article informative and it helps give you the tools necessary to share your biking lifestyle with your friends and loved ones. As I stated earlier, unless there’s a picture it pretty much didn’t happen so get out there and start shooting—and post your best selfies on Mtbr’s Facebook page!

For more of Jeff Lenosky’s monthly how-to tips, click here.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Jeff Lenosky

Jeff Lenosky helped pioneer urban mountain biking, fusing his background in BMX and observed trials, then taking it to the streets. Featured in dozens of mountain bike movies, the New Jersey native travels constantly doing trials demos at bike shops, festivals and races, and even jumping in the occasional cross country or enduro race.


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  • Russel Jimmy says:

    This was a shitty article

  • DoeBoy says:

    LOL @ Russel Jimmy.

  • Rubberelli says:

    For one, although perhaps not in the technical dictionary definition, a selfie should obviously have been taken by the subject (I.e. – at arms length). Otherwise the word selfie would be a synonym of self portrait, which it is not. Two, the article doesn’t appear to be a how-to as much as a “types of MTB selfies” article. For instance, the full production selfie doesn’t at all address the two most difficult things to capturing this type: getting the framing right and triggering the shot at the right moment. Although it says to look at your shot first, that is what every person does taking every photo ever (except with gopros). You need to take a shot on the highest resolution and get a wide area in the shot with the intention of cropping it down later. As for triggering it, I don’t know. I know I could never go over a jump and fire a shot on an iPhone at the same time. Perhaps it should be like #2, trigger video and take a frame grab, but cropping it down later would look like crap.

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