Declines Collision Insurance

Knows he won’t hit anything.

Today’s photo features a random Stormtrooper and the LEGO Speed Champions set 76895 Ferrari F8 Tributo. Really impressed with the design and build on this one.

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

Having just built the Ferrari F8 Tributo set, I couldn’t wait to work it into a photo. Also wanting to participate in #troopertuesday, I decided to put them together in a scene. The caption came to mind, and I framed them to suggest the Stormtrooper strutting up to a luxury rental car.

Once again, I kept my set simple – just a piece of black ceramic tile and a black background.

Light

Having recently played with using white letter paper as a reflector, I decided to do the same today.

I used a pair of butterfly clips to hold the paper upright just out of frame, and a pair of recipe card to blocks any reflections off the clips.

Out of interest, I took shots both with and without the paper in place. To ensure a consistent exposure for comparison purposes, both were shot in manual mode at ISO 100, f/8, and 1.4 seconds. The difference is noticeable:

These crops show just how effective they were at lifting the shadows:

Subject Isolation

I isolated the Stormtrooper through use of colour and depth of field control. To do the latter, I pulled the Stormtrooper forward and angled the car so that the rear end was far enough behind him to be slightly out of focus.

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 (except for the central red line):

I centred the horizon vertically, placed the Stormtrooper at a rule of thirds line, and put the Ferrari’s roof along a rile of thirds line as well. I’ve left negative space up top, and filled some of the bottom half with a reflection.

Tech Stuff

Given that today’s shot was experimental, I modified my standard LEGO photography approach:

  • Different:
    • Manual exposure vs aperture priority (so that I could ensure the same exposure and measure the EV difference)
  • Same:
    • 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
    • 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.

Instead of focussing on the Stormtrooper, I decided to have closer look at the car. I really like the lines on it and may follow up with a photo study/review.

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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