#troopertuesday

When you tell the new guy he’s been assigned to the Imperial Mounted Division 🤣

Today’s poor trooper is a First Order Stormtrooper Executioner, from the 2018 Star Wars set 75197 First Order Specialists Battle Pack.

His, er, horse parts are borrowed from the Collectible Minifigures Series 18 Cowboy Costume Guy.

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
  • Light
  • Subject Isolation
  • Composition

The Idea

Just another whimsical idea here for #troopertuesday. I hadn’t featured this First Order minifig yet, and had just taken delivery of the Cowboy Costume Guy, so a mashup felt right.

So I put the bits together and placed them on my piece of black ceramic tile.

Light

My preferred style is low key photography: predominantly dark and dramatic scenes, with light emphasizing only specific areas of the frame.

Wanting soft light on my subject, I set up my lighting like this:

  • Main light: Litrapro with softbox, positioned with a Platypod gooseneck arm and Ultra tripod base
  • Background light: Litrapro with grid, lying flat on the table top
  • Reflectors: DIY with a folded recipe card and letter sized paper

In post, I added a two stop vignette to further emphasize the subject.

Subject Isolation

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 approach, there is no question as to who the subject is here.

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 crop mask and grid overlay. It looked almost exactly like this:

I composed using the rule of thirds, using the front of his shoulder as an anchor point. I put him in profile to show as much as the horse as possible, and in motion to make the scene dynamic. I filled the frame beneath him with his reflection, both for aesthetic and balancing purposes, and left the remainder as empty negative space.

Tech Stuff

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.

This is as close as I can get with my system – the only crop is to make the image square. Now let’s get in a little tighter with a crop on the trooper:

Love the contours on this helmet – very smooth.

Wrap Up

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.

Best,

Scott.

Published by Scott Murphy

Photography for the love of it.

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