LEGO Photography 101
- Daylight LEDs
- Light Diffuser
- Copy paper
- Use one that contrasts with the MOC
A quick and cheap way to get a good setup is to order a lights and a tent from Amazon. I recommend this $40 kit that comes with two lights, a tent and several backdrops.
- Lots of light
- More light
- Temperature of 6,500 K is best
- Diffuse light
- LEGO is too shiny
- Wight background tip: try to light it separately (hard)
- Mind the reflections
All of these tips are for static (non-moving) MOCs. As far as photography goes, these are pretty easy. The hardest part is limiting the reflections off the LEGO bricks (but this is a lighting issue, not a camera issue).
- Tripod + Delay/Remove
- Stability is key
- Even pressing the shutter button will move the camera
- White Balance
- Especially if lights are not daylight
- Manual Focus
- Lower is better (I use 100)
- Technically this is the amount of light allowed
- Practically, this controls depth of field
- Shutter Speed
- I adjust this last
- I often need over two seconds
- I rarely use the flash on the camera (use a diffuser if you do)
For your first photo shoot, I would recommend allowing two hours, especially if you have not used the manual settings of your camera. After the first one, they go quicker with practice. I can set everything up and take photos in 15 minutes now.
Photo editing is worthy of its own article; I will just cover some basics.
In general, the better your photos are, the less you have to edit. At the least, cropping photos is almost always necessary. Always zoom out a bit more than you need when taking photos.
I recommend the following programs:
- Gimp (a free photoshop replacement)
- “Healing” tool to remove dust
- Nik Collection (free)
- Especially Viveza for ‘removing’ backgrounds and adjusting lighting
- Adobe Lightroom
Photo editing can easily take much longer than the photography itself. Again, give your self at least two hours the first time.
Having good lighting and using a tripod are key to taking good pictures of your MOCs. Nice pictures are key to showcasing your creations to others and getting noticed by the online LEGO community.
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