In taking photos of bikes (bicycles), there seems to be a certain protocol in taking good photos. I checked actual bicycle companies to see what their main page had, if it had pictures of just their bikes, or pictures of their bikes with a rider on them. And it was obvious that the best and most popular type of pictures of bikes, is very similar to the photo above. With the people enjoying their bikes.
However, if you are trying to really sell a bicycle or truly highlight the bicycle, then there are ways to do it. One would be to have just the bike in the photo, but, a very plain or simple background:
Sometimes I see great photos of bicycles showing just certain parts of the bike, or narrowing in on some part of the bike that is the most interesting:
I really love the above photo because it shows how versatile this bike is. It is obviously a trail bike, but, look at all the ways you can pack things on this bike. This bike was made to be rugged, and for the owner to be able to take it on the trails far from the beaten path. Did we need to see all of the bike? No! All the tires look the same, so seeing just part of the tires works. Also, the depth of field that was used to take this photo made the background blurry so it still remains a simple background, but, yet gives you the impression that it is up in the mountains.
If you know someone who loves to do cycling, then this type of photo (above) is the perfect example of how to take a portrait of the person with their bike. Make sure you take them someplace that represents the type of bike they have. For example, if they are a trail bike person, then take them up into the mountains on the trail. If they are just a street cyclist, then take them on the street. If they seem to have one of those fast racing-type bikes, then show a photo of them going fast on their bike, like the photo below:
There could be some parts to a bicycle today, that are really important to people. For example, you may find someone who really loves their handlebars, or their chain, or some other part of the bicycle. Focus on just those items for your client, and do some creative things with lighting, to really bring out those details:
Bicycles are important parts of people’s lives. Make sure you get a good photo of your friends with that thing that makes them happy.