More Thoughts on LEGO Photography

I did a little experiment a couple weeks back because I wasn’t satisfied with the quality of my LEGO photography. In the process, I discovered that I have very specific ideas about what makes for good LEGO photography and Brickshelf posting practices. This is pretty long, so skip it if you’re not interested.

When you take pictures of your LEGO creations (or MOCs):

  • Use the right amount of light. It’s hard to see poorly lit MOCs, and over-lit MOCs are washed out and lack contrast.
  • Focus. If you accidentally take an unfocused picture, take it again before you upload it.
  • Unless you’re trying to be especially artistic, fill as much of the frame as you can with your MOC.

When you post your LEGO creations to Brickshelf:

  • Size down your dang pictures! There’s nothing more annoying than clicking a thumbnail and then getting about one eighth of the picture on your screen. Use the software that came with your digital camera, or iPhoto, or Adobe Photoshop, or The GIMP — something! — to output your pictures no bigger than 1024×768 pixels. (I like 425×318 for my minifig pictures because they fit nicely in this Blogger template.) If you want to provide high-resolution pictures of your MOCs, put them in a sub-folder.
  • Save your pictures in a compressed image format. Bitmaps (.bmp files) are uncompressed, and are a waste of bandwidth. Save your pictures in GIF, JPEG, PNG, or another “Web-friendly” format.
  • Give your files meaningful names. I know your camera might use something cryptic like DSC10416.JPG for its file names, but change them to something that tells your viewers what the picture shows, like spaceship_front.jpg or joevig_party.gif.
  • Control the order that pictures appear in your gallery by putting letters or numbers at the beginning of your file names. Numbers sort before letters, so if you want to use a specific picture for the folder thumbnail, you could use something like 00_spaceship_front.jpg. (I learned a cool trick from Antony Lau recently. Instead of naming new files you add to a folder by counting up, start with a number like 999 and count down! The new things you add will always appear as your folder thumbnail.)
  • Add a description and folder keywords when you create your folders. A description and keywords make it easy for other Brickshelf users to find your MOCs.

I’m sure I’ve missed a few things, so feel free to add your own thoughts by posting comments. :-)