It’s just another manic Monday…

I wish it was Sunday…

Today’s LEGO minifigure is a mashup, with the warrior helmet from the currently available set 75267 Mandalorian Battle Pack, and the Bruce Wayne sand blue suit from the retired 2012 set 6860 The Batcave.

Behind the Scenes

I enjoy sharing a look at the process behind my work and my creative journey. Writing about it daily is new for me, but it seems to prompt a level of critical thinking that leads me to a deeper understanding and to new ideas.

Photography has long been my passion. With the level of technology available to us today, it’s easier than ever to take a technically competent photograph. And yet, some images still clearly ‘work’ more than others.

With LEGO photography, where we can often control almost every aspect of the scene, I believe that investing time and mental energy in the creative process can help make that difference. So I consider four fundamental things in making an image:

  • The Idea
  • Light
  • Subject Isolation
  • Composition

The Idea

People of a certain age may recognize my use of lyrics from The Bangles hit song ‘Manic Monday’.

I was feeling behind today in putting together a #mandomonday shot and the song title popped into my head. So I imagined a Mandalorian crossover into our world, with him running to the lyrics from the song:

“Have to catch an early train

Got to be to work by nine”

I kept my set simple – just a piece of black ceramic tile, which I find useful for shooting low key scenes as well as for its reflections.

Light

In contrast to some ambitious lighting efforts recently, this one was straightforward.

The setup was simple enough: 

  • Main light: Litrapro with softbox, positioned with Platypod gooseneck arm and Ultra tripod base
  • Background light: LitraPro lying flat on the floor.

Subject Isolation

Given the all-black scene, subject isolation was easily achieved through brightness and colour. Really not too much more to say about this, other than the background light I added for visual interest and to emphasize him further.

Composition

I try hard to get as close to the final image as possible in camera. To help with this I compose in live view with my mirrorless camera’s rear display, using a 1:1 crop mask and grid overlay. It looked almost exactly like this:

I chose the keep the subject small in the frame, with the intent to create a sense of vulnerability. I put him in ‘motion’ diagonally across the frame to add a dynamic feeling, and exaggerated the arm swing to emphasize his hurry.

My anchor point was the bottom left rules of thirds intersection, where I split his reflection bot horizontally and vertically. I just liked the symmetry.

Tech Stuff

Instead of sharing the exact technical settings for this one photo, I’d rather share my standard operating procedure for LEGO photography, which can be applied to all of my shots with but few exceptions:

  • Tripod mounted mirrorless camera set to ISO 100 and triggered with 2 second delayed shutter
  • 120mm macro lens shot at f/8 and manually focused using magnified live view
  • Aperture priority centre-weighted metering with exposure compensation to taste
  • Post processing the RAW files with custom white balance, luma curve, saturation, contrast, sharpness, vignette, levels, and dust removal

Up Close and Personal

Macro photography allows us to see small objects in spectacular detail. For me, LEGO minifigures are perfect subject material.

I’ve already featured one of the Mandalorian tribe warriors as I admire the helmet design – I like it here once again.

Wrap Up

Time once to close out with the before and after shots, showing the result of transforming my idea through deliberate lighting, subject isolation, and composition choices

Best,

Scott.

Published by Scott Murphy

Photography for the love of it.

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