You can find inspiration for photography in the most unexpected places. If you recently can’t think of a good idea, take a look at your kid’s toy basket and dig out those Lego minifigures. They could be your next models!
By incorporating those little building blocks into your photography, you will be creating the most amazing stories whose beauty comes from the unexpected, uncanny, weird mix of real and mechanical, living and inanimate.
“With a bucket of Lego, you can tell any story. You can build an airplane or a dragon or a pirate ship – it’s whatever you can imagine.” – Christopher Miller
Take up an ordinary, everyday idea, such as traveling on a bus, and transform it. Instead of capturing a human, put a tiny little Lego figure and you will create an exciting concept out of a commonplace idea. He could be sitting next to a giant bag that threatens to engulf him, playing out a humorous little existential drama.
Just like any other kind of macro photography, Lego photography provides a deeper insight into things that we usually take for granted. By committing to it at least experimentally, you will get many fresh ideas and skills applicable to other kinds of photography too.
Check out a few tips that could make your ordinary shooting spree into a fun and exciting experience.
Make Lego minifigures your constant companions
They are light and won’t take up much room in your camera backpack. Plus, they won’t mind being brought everywhere with you. In other words, they are the perfect models! If you have multiple Lego sets, even better. Bring various characters from different storylines, as you can never foretell what kind of inspiration you’ll stumble upon.
Imagine you’re one of them
To get interesting and genuine ideas, you have to understand what it looks like to be small in a big, wide world. What is the viewpoint of a minifigure sitting in your bag? What’s his story? How does he see the outer world? Can anything possibly harm him? A bread crumb may look like a trifle from human perspective. But don’t just wipe it off – to this little guy it can look like a threat, unless he’s a Hulk or a Superman who’s lifting it off the table. When working with Lego, think weird, think funny, think in allegories in order to be able to tell a compelling story. Which brings us to our next tip…
Emphasize that close up
Most of the time, it won’t do any good to shoot a Lego from a bird’s eye view. It needs to be in the center of your composition, and that means you will be needing a good macro lens. The depth of field will give life to your scene and infuse it with drama. Remember – this kind of photography is all about getting micro, both from the technical and the artistic sides. You will want your figure’s tiny hands, feet, face expression to be seen and even emphasized. They are precisely what the allure of Lego is about.
Make the most of your environment
You can capture breathtaking scenes with your Legos both at home and outside – it’s up to you. But I strongly advise you to try both. As a photographer, you probably aren’t afraid of getting some dirt under your nails. Place a figure on the ground, in the mud or beach sand. Lay down to capture an adequate angle, try to feel what it’s like to be that figure. Feel free to play around, since that is the meaning of photography.
“Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.” – Ken Robinson
If you need some inspiration, check out Sofiane Samial’s work as part of his project Legography. And let me know if you know any more tips and tricks! I will happily include them in the article.