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There are better and worse photos of LEGO creations out there. What techniques give better photos? It seems hard to photograph LEGO blocks because they are shiny.

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    I'm a little surprised that none of the articles (in the two answers from the Bricks site) mention a polarizer! It's a good way to reduce shine under certain lighting circumstances. – anon Oct 28 '11 at 16:39
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    @anon which proves the powers-that-be were right to migrate the question here, as it's likely to gather way better answers. – Joubarc Oct 28 '11 at 17:01
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Mike Stimpson (balakov on Flickr) is an absolute maestro of Lego photography, and best of all he maintains a separate account - Balakov's Setups - where he shares his behind-the-scenes shots, showing his full lighting setup and more.

Here are a couple of examples:

Simple Trooper Simple Trooper Setup

Lunch Atop a Skyscraper Lunch Atop A Skyscraper - Setup Shot

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    Stimpson is TRULY a wizard!! His work is amazing! – jrista Oct 30 '11 at 17:12
  • That lunch on top of a skyscraper shot is epic. Wow. – dpollitt Nov 10 '11 at 1:43
  • @dpollitt It's part of his series of classic photos remade in Lego. Check it out, you'll love it! – Mark Whitaker Nov 10 '11 at 8:21
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The important thing is to use a bounce flash (indirect flash) to avoid reflections, which is what makes the most photos look so unprofessional and ugly.

There are some good explanations and tutorial on how to use a bounce-flash correctly, which would be way too much here:

In addition, when photographing small things (minifigs, for example) a very small depth of field sometimes looks good - take a look at these examples.

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    I agree about the bounce flash, but softboxes and lightboxes are other indirect flash methods that I think are super relevant to Lego. At any rate +1 – BBischof Oct 29 '11 at 6:03
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    I cannot seem to agree that shallow dof is always good. It is actually one of the major headache of macro photography - too shallow a dof. – Gapton Nov 24 '11 at 6:31
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There are some articles online specifically oriented towards taking photographs of LEGO creations. Indeed, the reflectivity of the plastic imposes some additional difficulties which you have to be aware of (especially black flat surfaces).

Here are a few tutorials and other general articles:

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Not a lot of experience with Lego (only few stop-motion videos) however what you need is:

  • A tripod for your camera
  • two light sources.

If you don't have light box, use a spot with some diffuser on it (milk bottle, white tissue,...) the goal is to have the light not comming from a single point but from a whide surface.

Place the camera, on the tripod, in front of your model and dispose one light on each side.

Now look into the camera for flare, if there is any, change the position of the light source (remember the light reflected from the surface will it your camera only if its come from the right angle, moving the source will send the reflexion out of the camera)

With some patience you should be able to adjust the light and get the shot your models deserve.

PS. if there is some unwanted shadow you can add another source of light or use a small reflector (a sheet of white paper is perfect)

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Since reflections off plastic should respond well to polarization filters, you may want to consider putting polarizing sheet on your flash(es) as well as on your lens. This is a classic technique that helps to provide good lighting without the annoyance of reflections. This is especially when you can't put the subject inside a light tent (like artwork hanging on a wall).

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In addition to the other great answers, there was a beautiful presentation put together by Luigi Priori, Shelly Corbett, and Julien Ballester at Skærbæk Fan Weekend 2017.

Sample page from presentation

It contains great inspiration and techniques. The full presentation can be downloaded from here.

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