Some Lego Photography

With Helm’s Deep still hanging around I thought I’d try my hand at a more “theatrical” photo. So I put a CTO filter on one of the flashes I use and voila:

Helm's Deep Toss Me

Have a closer look on Flickr – just click on the image. I’m happy with the result especially since I got it pretty quickly. Someone visiting the site asked for more info on how we take the photos so here goes- BrickKnight Lego photography in a nutshell.

Background: As you can see in the photo above I used a black background, normally I use a white one. When I first started I tried paper but it wasn’t static enough, you had to get it just right and then if you moved the paper the minifigures would fall over and you were back to square one. So, I use Ikea Linnmon table tops. One horizontal as the base the other vertical as the background.

Camera and Lens: I use a Canon 6D with the Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro lens. Canon stuff is great obviously and the 6D is incredibly cheap at this stage for a full frame camera. It’s nice to have a full frame camera for the extra light you get and with the smaller space I have I can be closer to the Lego I’m photographing. A macro lens is a must have, it lets you get the little details.

Lighting: As I posted previously for lighting I use two Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites and the ST-E3-RT transmitter so I don’t have to have any wires connecting the flashes to the camera. This is nice since I’m cramped for space and have to take down and set up the equipment regularly.

Setup: I shoot through Westcott Optical umbrellas, I have a 32″ and a 43″, the size doesn’t seem to make much difference. I place these at roughly 45 degrees on either side of the camera and angle them downwards, placing them as close to the Lego I’m photographing as I can.

So there it is. As you’ll notice it’s not always the perfect setup, with only two flashes there are still shadows present but I don’t do the amount of Photoshopping that the Lego website does to have pristine (and somewhat fake) looking product photos.

Everything I’ve acquired for equipment was cheaper than it is now with the (big) exception of the Canon 6D. Canon usually has rebates going, the 100mm Macro lens should cost somewhere around $800. Obviously that’s a lot of gear. If you don’t have this much gear just keep in mind that the bigger the light source and the closer to the subject you bring it, the softer the light will be.

Lego Photography – Upgrades?

I added a new flash to my set-up for taking photos. Previously I just had one flash that was off camera by means of a cord. That is the set-up that has been used to take all the photos for the site so far, including this one:

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

Compare it to the newest photo below, where there are two flashes, wirelessly, though close enough to the camera that using cords would have been possible – note that these were taken days apart, so the set up and framing is different:

These still aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

I’m frankly surprised at the lack of difference, I had thought I’d be able to get rid of more of the shadows with the second flash. The only real difference I discern is the shadow under the engine of the speeder and the two flash reflections on the dome of the cantina compared to the one in the first photo. Both photos had flashes shooting through umbrellas. I’ll have to continue to experiment with the placement to see if I can eliminate the shadows more.
For those interested, this is the new flash, which has finally dropped in price after being out for two years – and it’s got so many features: Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite Flash (Black)