As in 2022, I’m partaking in weekly Lego and Toy photography challenges that are set by the Stuckinplastic group which can be found on Instagram and Discord. This year’s challenge comprises of 52 weekly themes with the ultimate aim being to create a series of playing card images. All images need to be in a 4×5 format so as to fit a playing card but beyond that the rules are fairly liberal. Create an image on the week’s theme mostly using Lego. Which is great. However the guys and girls who set up the challenge decided to chuck in some curveballs and added some other toys to the mix. Playmobil was one, Smurfs is another and the most recent one was Barbie. Yes Barbie as in Barbie Doll and I’m a Barbie Girl in a Barbie World.
Ideas For Barbie Themed Lego Photography
I have never owned a Barbie Doll and never intend to so that made the theme pretty awkward from the outset. How do you create an image on the theme Barbie without the star character? Initially I thought about a Lego figure looking into a box that contained a Barbie Doll. To do that I’d have had to basically download an image from the internet and Photoshop it into the scene. Now for this particular challenge that’s probably fine but I don’t want to use images that aren’t my own and it feels a little bit of a cheat. The second idea was to have a Lego figure inside a Barbie Doll box. This sounded great until I hit the first major obstacle of creating a Barbie Doll box. Yes I probably could give it a go but my arts and crafts skill are not the best. And then came idea 3.
From Banksy To Barbie
The idea actually stemmed from reading something about urban artist Banksy. In my head Banksy sounded close to Barbie so what if everyone’s favourite 60 year old doll was actually a graffiti artist? To put this together I needed a Lego figure that kind of looked like Barbie so basically blonde hair and dressed in pink! To achieve this I used the blonde hair from the Alice In Wonderland minifigure combined with the body and hair Pop Star from Series 2. Add in a random paint spray can and the walls from Lego’s Jazz club and a scene was set for our hero to spray paint the walls.
Photoshop & Graffiti
The actual image is two shots, one with the figure and one without. The figure was cut out from one scene and placed in the other once writing had been added to the wall. This gives a better dimension to the overall shot. Achieving the graffiti look was the hardest part of the image. Firstly I wanted to use a Barbie font but that didn’t look right so I settled on a graffiti style one. The next aim was to blend the writing so it looks like it’s sprayed on the wall and not just atop the image. I did follow a Youtube guide to doing this and the overall effect is OK but I think it could have been better. Whether it’s due to Lego walls or my limited Photoshop skills I don’t feel it’s 100%. However overall the shot is pretty decent and a good example of thinking outside the box when you don’t have the right props to hand.
A Few Other Things
Although I’m mostly happy with the final shot there’s at least one thing I would change. As part of the challenge I’ve been deliberately including a playing card in every image I do for it. Sometimes the card is being held by a character and other times I’ve placed it. With this shot I’ve placed it but placed it upside down. Now most people wouldn’t be bothered by this but little things like this can sometimes make or break a shot. I could probably do a tweak in Photoshop or redo the whole process but sometimes you just got to move on. The processing by the way is a mixture of Capture One and Photoshop. The latter was for the layers and writing whilst Capture One was used to darken down the left hand side of the shot. This was to give a dark alley, walking towards a lit corner feel for Barbie who’s just sprayed her “Barbie Rules” graffiti on the wall. I think that actually turned out pretty well.