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Photographing Minifigures

sidersddsidersdd USAMember Posts: 2,432
edited May 2012 in Photography/Video
I've been taking photos of the new Lord of the Rings minifigs on my flickr feed:

I'd appreciate some feedback - suggestions for improvement in poses, shooting angles, cropping, lighting, white balance, etc.

My hardware:
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Kit lens - EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Canon 250D 58mm Close-up Lens

Anyone else have this camera? It's always seemed to shoot images that appear darker than cameras I've had in the past - regardless of what lens or lighting I have. Even when bumping up the exposure setting, I still seem to always have to monkey with the exposure and brightness even more once on my PC. I shoot the figs on a white poster board so that I can use that background to calibrate the white balance once on my PC.


  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,270
    How are you comparing "darker"? Are you shooting fully automatic and those shots come out darker than other cameras? Or are you looking at the LCD and thinking it looks bright enough but then the images look darker on your computer? I have a 7D and the LCD is misleading in that it is always significantly brighter than the images. Try using the histogram view to check if it is exposed correctly.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,664
    edited May 2012
    I've got the European model (400D), which is essentially the same apart from the badge. For close ups like this with a lit background, I normally dial in +1 or +2 for exposure, or make sure light meter is reading just from the centre spot. Otherwise you meter the background and the figure is too dark.

    The pics are very nice indeed, but I think you have cropped too close for the ones wearing capes. It would be good to have a little space around the cape, not so close to the edge. The other very minor criticism would be the placing of the capes. For Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf, they are not quite centred on the figure. Boromir looks much better. Apart from that, they are great! Your lighting is very good. You could do with a few more side shots of the hobbits.
  • Steve_J_OMSteve_J_OM Cork, IrelandMember Posts: 961
    I think they're very good given that you don't have a massive amount of gear to work with. Did you have to do much of a crop to fill the frame with the minifigures? Because some of them are a little soft, particularly around the faces, but that's only if I'm searching for constructive criticism I think.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,892
    Looking good, Dan...

    I dial in +1 EV when I take mine to brighten the dark colours a bit, and also post process in photoshop elements as described in the article I wrote a while ago to boost them even more.

    You have nice soft shadows... I think the only criticism I can make is that the top of the background is much darker than the foreground. I illuminate the curved white card from the top in my setup so as to ensure the background is evenly lit.

    Oh I do have another criticism... you are beating me to photographing them! I have the sets on
    loan as you may have read and I'll be creating my minifig gallery next week.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,892
    Looking at some closely, as Steve says, they are a little soft, I guess due to the use of the close up lens. I suspect you might get better results by ditching the closeup attachment and photographing at the lens's natural minimum distance and cropping. Kit lenses are usually pretty good in the sharpness dept., at least Nikon ones are, in my experience.
  • Dread_PirateDread_Pirate Member Posts: 184
    I found that Nikon lenses are much sharper than most other brands, even the ones included in the camera kits. As for the cropping I think they are just fine. This is not a crime scene shoot so why not some artistic liberties and if the capes are cropped a little no biggy, we all know what they look like.

    Have you ever noticed that the photos that seem to be the most interesting or the ones you look at for longer are the ones that are creativly cropped or that the subject is not in the center of the photo? Ever wonder why? Your brain fills in the missing details and it helps stimulate the imagination. Look for example the painting Starry Night by VanGogh you will notice that the buisiest parts of the painting are around the edges and the center is mostly vacant. Again it leaves your imagination working, and makes you think of a small town seen from a nearby hill.

    The cropping is fine even if the images are slightly plain. Tho I did like the ones that were posed.
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