I love The Mandalorian’s silver beskar armour – this is one of my favourite minifigures and I have featured it several times already. Introduced earlier this year, to date it is only available with the LEGO Star Wars The Mandalorian set 75299 Trouble on Tatooine.
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
With #mandomonday rolling around again, I was inspired by his mic drop statement in Season One, Episode Two:
“I’m A Mandalorian. Weapons are a part of my religion.”
So I armed him with a beskar spear and blaster in hand, with his amban rifle slung on his back as he strides with purpose.
My preferred style is low key photography: predominantly dark and dramatic scenes, with light emphasizing only specific areas of the frame.
Today’s lighting setup was pretty typical for me:
- Main light: Litrapro with softbox, positioned with a Platypod gooseneck arm and Ultra tripod base
- Background light: Litraprod with grid, lying flat on a tabletop surface
- Reflectors: two DIY bounce cards, to provide fill on the subject and soften the light
Just a quick note about my exposure here. As usual, I’m shooting with aperture priority centre-weighted metering, with exposure compensation to taste. Given my preference for low key photography, my camera’s metering often shows between -1EV and -3EV. In this case, with the highly reflective spear and silver armour, my final exposure showed -4EV! Had I blindly trusted the camera, I would have never come close to my desired look.
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 style in this photo, there is no doubt.
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:
To give the scene a dynamic feel, I placed Mando moving diagonally into the frame while turning his head back to look outside it.
I composed using the rule of thirds, using his visor as an anchor point. I filled the frame beneath him with his reflection, leaving the remainder as empty 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, with a Trick
Macro photography allows us to see small objects in spectacular detail. For me, LEGO minifigures are perfect subject material.
Trick: you can use a Minifigure Neck Bracket with 2 Back Studs (item #18986), along with a Tile, Modified 1×1 with clip (item # 2555) to sling a weapon on a mini figure’s back:
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.