Change my mind. #spacecowboysaturday
There are currently 47 different LEGO minifigure versions of Han Solo – I wonder if this is the most for any character? The version that I used here with dark blue legs, vest with pockets, and (normally) wavy hair has appeared in four sets:
- 75159 Death Star – UCS (released 2016)
- 75205 Mos Eisley Cantina (2018)
- 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina (2020)
- 75295 Millennium Falcon Microfighter (2021)
Behind the Scenes
I enjoy sharing a look at the process behind my work and my creative journey.
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
- Subject Isolation
As is our tradition, we re-watched the original Star Wars movie on May The 4th, and its Western film themes came to mind as I was thinking about #spacecowboysaturday. According to the IMDB trivia for Star Wars, George Lucas even screened Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West for his crew to understand the look he wanted for the Mos Eisley. In one of Leone’s scenes, a character shoots another with a gun under a table – sound familiar?
And so I decided to feature a swaggering Han with a cowboy vibe:
My preferred style is low key photography: predominantly dark and dramatic scenes, with light emphasizing only specific areas of the frame.
For this shot, I used:
- Litrapro with softbox as my main light, positioned with a Platypod gooseneck arm and Ultra tripod base.
- Litrapro as background light, lying flat on the tabletop
- A pair of folding recipe cards served as DIY reflectors to soften the image and fill shadows.
The subject is ultimately what the photo is about and there should be no doubt in the viewer’s mind as to what it is.
Given my minimalist visual style, there is no question here.
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 crop mask and grid overlay. It looked almost exactly like this:
I composed using rules of thirds using the centre top of his torso as an anchor point. I placed Han walking diagonally into the frame to add a dynamic feel, and with him breaking the fourth wall with a grin to show his rogue personality.
I filled the frame below him with his reflection, and left the remainder as negative space for balance.
Instead of sharing the exact technical settings for this one photo, I’d rather share my standard operating procedure for, which can be applied to all of my LEGO photography 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.
The wavy hair catches the light so nicely! A closer look:
Time once again to close out with the before and after shots, showing how I realized my idea through deliberate lighting, subject isolation, and composition choices.