Ah, helmet hair.

#stormtrooperlife #troopertuesday

Today’s character is a frankensteined mashup with a Stormtrooper body, Han Solo head, and hair from Kai.

The desk in the background is borrowed from the Creator Expert set 10278 Police Station.

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

Following on yesterday’s office scene, and with Trooper Tuesday in mind, I decided to explore the idea of a Stormtrooper arriving at work at a staff headquarters. Surely they’d take their helmets off inside? Maybe grab a cup of tea?

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 adjust in real time my light positioning and shaping.

This is a slightly more complex three-light setup:

  • Main light: Litrapro with softbox, positioned with a Platypod gooseneck arm and Ultra tripod base
  • Background lights: Litrapros with grid, lying flat on a table top
  • 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.

Given my minimalist style, there is no question here. I placed an office desk in the background to provide supporting context, but the subject is clearly the stormtrooper.

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 his brow as the primary anchor point, and the typewriter sheet as the secondary. I placed him moving diagonally into the frame to create a dynamic feel, and with his gaze fixed off-screen.

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 a little closer look at the typewriter with with a tighter crop:

Even at f/8 aperture, the depth of field is so shallow!

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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