Toy Photography exists across a whole range of different formats from action figures to vinyl’s and across to Lego and its the latter that is the centre of focus in this Behind the Scenes look at a shot titled “The First Order” by Wastu Aji. Wastu breaks down the process of the shoot and his editing process as-well as giving an insight his equipment that he uses to create his incredible portfolio of shots…
I didn’t collect Lego when I was a child in-fact it all started in the end of 2015 when I bought my first Lego mini-figure. I like Lego minifigures because they’re small, cheap, and easy to custom by mixing the parts to make a different character. And then I thought about capturing my Lego into photography. At first I did it by just putting the Lego anywhere in my house, and just photographing it. But then I thought about the concepts and stories of my photographs. So I started to use backgrounds and lighting to make them more interesting. I mostly take my photo at my house, because it’s easier to do in my living room, than going outside just to take some pictures.
Mostly I use my Sony A7II mirrorless camera and Cnon 100mm macro lens, but sometimes I use my Sony RX100II pocket camera. Actually it can’t take pictures of small objects like Lego, so I use a macro converter lens (Raynox) so it can take a closer focus. I know it looks ugly, but it works.
For the lighting I used 3 Godox TT600s speedlights with mini softbox diffusers, and Godox X1Ts trigger so I can control the power of my lighting. I always use a tripod for Lego shots, because it can stabilize my camera during the shooting, and I usually take slow speed shutter, so it helps. For the background I used my phone screen, displaying the image that I feel match with the shot. I posed the figure at the center of the setup, then composed it with the backgound.
I really like to shoot Star Wars Lego, because I can make cool or even funny scenes with them. Today, I want to show behind the scene of my recent shot entitled “The First Order”. In this photo I made a scene that showed Captain Phasma and four Stormtroopers. First I shot Captain Phasma. I placed it in the centre of the frame to make it as the main point. Then I shot the troopers, because I just have one Stromtrooper Lego, so I shot it with four different positions to be combined in editing process. I can take 10 to 20 shots of a scene, changing position and power of the speedlights, changing the pose of the figure, changing the settings of my camera, until i get the best shot of it.
After the shooting is done, I moved to my computer. I copied all the shots I made, picked the best shot and opened it in Adobe Photoshop.
First, I opened Captain Phasma image file. Then I placed the Stromtroopers images. I used pen tool to make selection of the stormtroopers image and separated it with the background. After that I placed the Troopers to Captain Phasma file, I put them behind her. Next I gave some effects like smoke, fire sparks and flare. Then I arranged them until I get a perfect composition and saved it as JPG image.
For color editing, I opened the image in Adobe Lightroom. I did some adjustment such as white balance, exposure, highlights, shadows, clarity and color correction. Then I exported it as the final image. – Wastu Aji
A huge thank you to Wastu for sharing his photographic process with us in this article and for giving an insight into Lego photography which is one of the largest sub-communities within the Toy industry. Be sure to check out the full range of Wastu’s work over on his page @wastuaji and leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts on the article.