How to Photograph your MOC for the National MOC Competition
Brickvention 2021 is fast approaching, and the public and expert exhibitions are already open to submissions. Because the event is virtual this year, LEGO builders and artists need to incorporate photography skillswhen submitting their works too.
We’ve put together a handy guide here that can help you take your modelfrom good to great in just a few easy steps.
Having a super snazzy camera can be a nice bonus, but it’s not actually required considering the capabilities of smart phones today.You’ll need a device with a decent camera, or a DSLR. A tripod is very handy here too as it gives more control and consistency with your photos so you can move and change little details til your setup is perfect.
The model you’ve created needs to be highlighted in the best way, so lighting is super important for capturing the features you want to showcase and the story you are trying to tell. When shooting your LEGO models, starting with a dark room and adding in artificial light with lamps (with or without lamp shades) and lights is the best way to control the image that you are capturing. Alternatively, choosing the best natural light in your home and setting up your MOC in that space can give beautiful ambiance too.
Your model is the star of the show, and as such, should be the only thing in your photos. When you’re setting your model up for photos, make sure there is nothing in the background. We recommend creating an infinity wall to give your MOC the best, most crisp environment for photography. You can create an infinity wall really simply with a large sheet of paper taped to a stable wall or backing board and curved under your MOC. I often use the reverse side of Christmas wrapping paper for a large white space that is affordable.
Autofocus is particularly handy when working with smartphones andcan help you capture the most unique elements of your build. If you’re working with a DSLR, lenses that give you good close range and fine detail will be advantageous.
Camera angles in your photos will be your biggest challenge when trying to convey your story. If your model is heavily minifigure
focused, it works best to keep your angles low and capture the storyof the figures from their point of view.
You’ve not got a lot of time to convey your MOC story when displaying it in pictures so your images need to be extremely well thought. When photographing your model, try and tell your story with it in 3 images or less.
7. Less is more.
Sometimes the models that make the most impact are the smaller scenes or creations that are photographed well. Try not to go too big for your virtual displays. Instead, focus on the details you can capture perfectly in smaller, more refined models.
8. Post production.
Editing and cropping your photos in post-production is not vital but can lift your images if their exposure isn’t perfect or you’d like to emphasise certain details. There are many free programs that can be used to do this, or subscription based software such as adobe suite.
With all these tips in mind, here are two examples of how to set up a MOC for photography.
Andrew has built an amazing street scape with his favourite minifigs drinking coffee on a park bench. He picks a suitable spot to set up his infinity wall in his office where the window can be darkened to control light.
He positions the buildings on his white paper background and seats his figs forward to highlight their story. He adds some lighting eitherside of his model to remove shadows by taking the lampshades off two lamps.
To get the right image, Andrew moves to the eye level of his minifigs and uses a tripod to set his camera up. His aim is to shoot up towards his buildings to give a feeling of being a minifig like the characters in his story. With a little bit of focus, he has found the perfect image. He then adds some steam to the coffee being held by his minifigs in an app on his phone.
Henry has built an epic robot mech out of LEGO. His model is strong and tall, standing approximately 40cm high. He wants to highlight the details in his greebling and the pose of the model.
Using an infinity wall, Henry positions his MOC and sets his tripod further back to capture the whole MOC. He also takes some macro shots of his greebling on the robot panels to show the intense chrome detailing.
Henry uses simple cropping in post production to remove the outlineof his infinity wall. His image is clear and professional looking.