This should totally be a thing! ☕️🥞🍳
Who’s in!?! 😛
Today’s scene is a mashup of hobbits (Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin) and John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club movie poster.
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
Building on yesterday’s crossover scene featuring Pooh-bear, Frodo, and Sam enjoying second breakfast, today is another pop culture inspired mashup based on this mid-80s coming-of-age teen drama/comedy:
Why not a Second Breakfast Club? Surely hobbits would be the founding members. Limited by minifigure articulation, I managed this as my best homage to the movie poster.
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
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 considered the group the subject, and emphasized them equally with lighting, depth of field, and prominence. The blurred background greenery suggests the Shire, without distracting from the group.
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 rules of thirds, using the top of Frodo and Sam’s heads as anchor points. I filled the space beneath the group with their reflection, for both aesthetic and balancing purposes. Finally, I left the perimeter as negative space to help define the focus area.
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 a little closer look at Bilbio with with a tighter crop:
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.