While many hardcore builders like me cringe when we have to wade through atrociously cute photos of stormtroopers in unlikely situations while trying to get our LEGO fix on Flickr, there are photographers who take what is essentially LEGO product photography — just minifigs or out-of-the-box sets — to a whole new level. Vesa Lehtimäki has been posting stunning photos of LEGO Star Wars figs and sets for a few years, and has even released a book, LEGO Star Wars: Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy published by DK.
One of my favorite scenes from the book features an off-screen moment in which Boba Fett delivers a carbonite-encased Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt. With just a few minifigs and stellar lighting, Vesa brings the scene to life.
When most of us photograph a new creation, we’re satisfied if the photo has clean lighting and a nice backdrop. Some builders, however, take things to the next level. Over the past several years, we’ve seen a number of builders apply their superb photography skills to our favorite plastic toy, including Vesa Lehtimäki and Joe and Will Merzlak. Rob D. is a new addition to the ranks of those builders taking breathtaking shots of LEGO, and he’s got some great building skills to boot. One of Rob’s latest photos, portraying an underwater scene of the new LEGO Deep Sea theme, is featured in the current edition of Blocks, a LEGO fan magazine, but my favorite has to be the shot of Rob’s LL-962 spacecraft being maintenanced.
Having good photos of your creation is almost as important as the build itself. Tyler Clites takes us on a step-by-step tutorial from photographing a creation to putting in the final touches. If you want to learn tips to improve the presentation of your creations, this is a great reference. You can also check out previous tutorials by Nnenn and Fredo.
Last year, I wrote about how collaborating with others can really help a LEGO model shine. As TR wrote yesterday, there’s a wonderful community of LEGO builders who help and support each other (even when we argue), and we’re all better for each other’s company.
This beautifully shaped and colorful microscale destroyer dubbed HMS Arizona by A. Yates Industrial is an excellent case in point. I’ll start with the first picture he posted, which had rather poor lighting and a background full of seams from the paper he used to cobble it together:
Next, he posted a new photo, with clean lighting on a single large sheet, from a slightly higher camera angle that shows off more of the ship’s detail along its length. The ship’s stand is also virtually invisible underneath:
In response, Pascal offered to put A. Yates’s latest version on a space background. Within a few minutes, Pascal had sent A. Yates the results:
Pascal writes, “This photo was really easy to work with because it’s well lit and on a contrasting background. I have a ton of public domain NASA images on my laptop, so I just needed to select a nice nebula and an earth photo to create the new background.”
It never ceases to amaze me just how wonderful the collaborative spirit is within the LEGO building community!
Russian fan Mister Fedin (Fianat) has created this stunning bit of steampunkery, heavily influenced by the much-hyped Bioshock Infinite game which launched just yesterday. This flying city block may have a rather traditional steampunk color-scheme, but Fedin has used it to great effect. I particularly love how this wonderful architectural menagerie includes elements influenced by LEGO’s own modular city buildings, yet with some lovely twists. I also simply must mention the lovely photography and choice of backdrop here: it really makes this model shine. Don’t ever underestimate how much a bit of good photography can improve your model’s presentation.
Speaking of photographing your LEGO models well, brothers Joe and Will Merzlak do some of the coolest “on-location” LEGO photography around. Their latest, a hulking beast of a vehicle called the Goat, looks prepared to drive through positively any sort of terrain, and actually seems to be doing so.
This scene by James Pegrum is wonderfully atmospheric, depicting the origins of the Great Fire of London, which ravaged the city for four days in 1666. More than simply building a cool diorama, though, James has carefully planned his photograph to take advantage of the terrific lighting and the placement of his structures, to keep the entire image within his creation, giving it a fantastic sense of calamity.