“People say nothing is impossible…

… but I do nothing every day.”

– Winnie The Pooh  (by A.A. Milne)

Continuing with a look at our friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, today we see Pooh Bear and the big oak tree from the LEGO Disney set 21326 Winnie the Pooh.

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

With a TGIF theme in mind, Pooh is the perfect character to show relaxing while surrounded by his favourite food:

Light

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

I use a continuous light source, which in combination with my camera’s live view, allows me to see in real time the result of my light positioning and shaping.

This is a simple one light setup:

  • Key light: Litrapro with softbox, positioned with a Platypod gooseneck arm and Ultra tripod base
  • Reflectors: DIY with folded recipe cards, to provide fill and to help soften the light

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.

I separated Pooh from the background with colour, lighting, and (to an extent) selective depth of field. (unlike other shots in this series, I ended up stopping down to f/8 in order to get the text on the Hunny pot and pizza box in focus as well)

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 with the rule of thirds, using his eyebrow as both the anchor and my focussing point. I filled the space beneath him with his reflection, for both aesthetic and balancing purposing. I left the remainder as negative space to help define the focus area.

Tech Stuff

Instead of sharing the 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 another crop:

This makes me smile!

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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