How To Photograph A Lego | May Merriment Day 9Posted by Katrina Kennedy on May 9, 2011 in Blog, Photography | 18 comments
I love when brilliant creativity and photography skill collide. Dan Phelps represents that collision. You might know his website LegoADay. Toy Week wouldn’t be complete without him. Dan graciously shared his advice for capturing Legos. I’m getting my minifigures out and playing this week too.
Here is Dan’s Advice For Giving Lego Photography A Try:
“Become a LEGO. Just like child and pet photography, you’ve got to get down and dirty, and into their world. Remember, minifigs are only 1.5 inches talls, yet full of so much detail they are constantly amazing people of all ages. Put yourself in their shoes – what is their perspective? To capture that, is to do good LEGO photography. More times than not, I’m laying down on my stomach on the ground, in the parking lot, in the grass, in the dirt, to capture a shot.
Like all of photography, be prepared to take dozens of shots to get just one keeper.
Minifigs are portable. Bring them everywhere you go. If I’m going on a hike, or for a walk somewhere, and I know I’m bringing my camera, I toss a few minifigs in my camera bag (usually the Hiker, a Stormtrooper, and one or two other random ones that may fit the theme of wherever I am going). Just looking through my nearly two years of photos it’s easy to see many of them are captured far away from the confines of inside the house. My LEGO minifigs have been up mountains, to Colonial Williamsburg, the Atlantic Ocean/Myrtle Beach, the Chesapeake, and countless other national parks and hiking trails and outdoor areas. You never know when an opportunity will present itself.
Get outside. Don’t rely on a lightbox, or a similar setup. Putting them in the real world not only gives you many options, but makes you work harder to obtain that one great pic that relates a 1.5″ man, to a Buick.
Remember, we tell our children “it’s a big world out there.” Well, imagine what it looks like from 1.5″ off the ground. But don’t discount the opportunities inside your home. One of the funniest things that can be done is seeing what a minifigure would do when presented with something from our world.
Poses are everything. Anyone can stand a minifig and take a picture. But to really capture the idea that this little plastic figure is a person, you’ve got to make it look like a person. Head turns, arm positions, leg positions, leaning, etc – it’s all things we do naturally as humans. Make your minifigs act like humans.
Get a good macro lens. The majority of my shots are taken with a Tamron 24-75mm F/2.8 lens. It’s not a macro lens, but the closest focal point is pretty close. For the shots where I want to get really close, I have a 70-300mm Macro. If I didn’t have it, I couldn’t pull off half my shots as I envision them in my head because I simply would not be able to get close enough to create the scene.
Manage your depth of field. Like of photography, things in the background can ruin your photo. Be mindful of your full shot, not just what’s in directly in front of you. When you’re 1.5 inches tall, a lot of different things come into play that don’t when you’re standing up straight like normal. Plus, a little figure can easily get lost in a complicated background if it’s not thrown out of focus.”
Leave a little love for Dan in thanks for his generous advice. You’ll be seeing more of his creations all week. But now, get down on the ground and get shooting! Tomorrow we’ll talk about what to do if you don’t have a macro lens!