Bought a motorcycle in lockdown? Hiding hands and folding arms in pictures could make you appear amateur, body language expert warns

Streamlined V2

  • Body language expert says hiding hands, folding arms, and rigidly grinning in pictures are clear signs of an amateur motorcyclist
  • Natural facial expressions (yes, even smiles) are better than scowls for the best professional-looking motorcycle photo
  • Wide stances and staring at the camera in photos are effective ways to evoke confidence 

The first eight months of 2021 has brought unprecedented growth to motorbike sales, increasing 17 per cent over the same period in 2020. 

Many new motorcycle owners, however, are yet to learn one of the major tenets that defines the motorcycle community they are now immersed in: securing a wealth of motorcycle pictures that look the part. 

To find out what new motorcyclists should be doing when they take their phone camera out on the road, Vertu Motorcycles enlisted the help of body language expert Adrianne Carter of the Face Whisperer to see what makes a professional-looking bike photo.

Below are the body language expert’s top tips:

Motorcycle photo dos | Motorcycle photo don’ts:

Keep your expression natural | Rigidly grin or scowl
Give the camera attention | Divert your gaze to far-off hilltop
Show your hands | Hide your hands behind your back
Relax hands and feet | Fold arms or put hands in pocket
Create a wide stance | Shrink away from the camera
Hold / lean on the bike | Perch uncomfortably on the bike
Show off plenty of the bike | Cut off the bike from shot

For those still unsure of how to take the perfect snap, take a look at her top five choices of how to take a picture with a motorcycle, below.

1.  The confident one: the ‘streamlined sitter’

A great shot for showing the details of the bike and your dominance of the machine with a strong body shape. Using your self-timer, you’ll get a good angle on the bike that also makes you look taller.

Says Adrianne: “Generally, the more space a person appears to take up (think tall people or images of people looking down at the camera), the more dominant and in control they are perceived.”

Whilst the straight legs strongly indicate “I own this bike”, the crossed feet add approachability by making the body shape smaller and more streamlined. It’s the opposite of manspreading!

The hand gently placed over the handlebar also denotes ownership, while the other hand on the leg demonstrates a confident connection to your bike. 

Overall, the relaxed elements (dangling hands and feet, slightly concaved back) keep you looking cool, calm and in control rather than trying too hard.

2.  The serious one: the ‘over the shoulder’ glance

While some people prefer to display their entire body in photos, this style suit the more subtle, serious types who prefer to pragmatically show off their new purchase. 

It can be done as a selfie – it takes a bit of flexibility (or a selfie stick, remember them?) and will make you the hero of the image.

As Adrianne comments, “Here’s a way to show off the bike without being considered arrogant. By simply checking over your shoulder you can acknowledge the camera and still make room to show off your purchase”. 

“The indirect facial expression doesn’t seek the viewer’s approval, while the close camera shot keeps the focus on the face and the front of the bike in equal measure.”

3.  The laidback one: the ‘lens lover’

The open stance and amenable body language serve up ample amounts of laisse-faire. This pose radiates relaxing vibes and avoids ‘mean biker’ cliché. 

You may need to rope in a friend or prop your phone up and set the self-timer for as long as possible.
While crossed arms can signify defence or obstinance, the loose hands help to communicate that you are comfortable and relaxed. 

“Hands seen in the image also serves to reassure the viewer, showing there’s nothing to hide here.” 
Elsewhere, the alignment of the slightly-tilted head with the hands not only gives a pleasing symmetry to the final image, Adrianne adds: 

Placing yourself mid-centre, keeping an open face (sunglasses or visor-free) and a broad smile all help to communicate your laidback confidence.

4.  The effortless one: the ‘pit-stop pauser’ 

This stance combines the need to feature the bike, strike a pose and humbly show off the magnificent surroundings. If you have an eye for a good location or spot a breathtaking backdrop, this is the one for you.

Adrianne says. “The spread legs create a firm base, making the body wider and bigger in the picture – both of which are distinct signals of power and dominance in the body language field. “

“We see more of this control with the hands gripping the handlebars – directing and in command of the bike.”

“Tilting the head is a positive cue – it shows the person is open to listening and engaged and negates any feelings that might be perceived as looking down on the viewer.”

5.  The relaxed one: the ‘eye contact engager’

The old “staring down the barrel of the lens” stance 

“This stance takes confidence to do well”, Adrienne comments, “particularly with the looking -down-the-nose eye contact.”

“Looking directly at the camera in an assured manner with the head slightly tilted softens the direct eye contact and creates an intimacy with the viewer.”

The best way to pull off this kind of stance is to simply go for it – a half-baked direct stare could come across as more feeble than fearsome. Try it lots of times and you’ll notice how subtle changes in your pose communicate a very different attitude.

Mark Goode, Vertu Motorcycles Brand Director, commented:

“Let’s be honest, when you have a new bike you always want to show it off, at Vertu we encourage that. The Vertu Motorcycle Club is our friendly community of riders and a great place to show off your new bike. Get noticed and say hello by using the hashtag #VertuMC.”

For further insights about Vertu Motorcycles, visit the Vertu Motorcycles blog.

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