I’ve been writing for a popular LEGO blog on the internet for quite a bit now, and here’s some tips and tricks to get your MOC picked up by any good blog or feature sites. You don't have to be an expert photographer, all it needs are some basic fundamentals to get noticed and stand out in the crowd.
Tip 1 : MAKE IT GREAT
Make a *GREAT* MOC. Mediocre builds may get attention, but its those great ones that stand out. Practice makes perfect is the best advice I can give.
Tip 2 : MAKE IT LOOK GOOD
Take good photographs of your MOC. Important note : *GREAT* MOCs with bad photos don’t get featured. Look at it this way, even Gisele Bündchen still needs to brush her teeth and comb her hair before she steps out of her home and gets noticed. Same goes for your MOCs, hygiene of having a decent photo of your MOC is important to get noticed.
What IS a good photo?
A good photo does not require an expensive setup. A homemade "lighting studio" using what you have at home is sufficient. Here's a setup with a family camera and a tripod with a large sheet of colored paper placed on a chair. Natural lighting from the back to provide sufficient lighting for your MOC.
Homemade studio setup by Handoko Setyawan
Unless you know what you’re doing, take photos with a solid, clean, contrasting background. Remember, you want your MOCs to stand out, not your lovely home. Keep the focus on the MOC, everything else is a distraction. Rule of thumb, if you’re lost and not sure where to start - find the largest sheet of white paper (non reflective) and use that as a background. While having a large cloth might sound like a fine idea, but it’s really not good as it tends to show creases and are pretty uneven.
Source: Tan Kok Mun/Flickr
Good lighting is the difference between a bad shot and great shot. You carry in your hands very powerful smartphones these days but they don’t work in low light conditions. If you don’t have a DSLR of sorts with great lighting umbrella kit thingys, use natural lighting. Take photos during the day with indirect sunlight and do not use flash photography! If you want to take things seriously, google on how to make a light-box, it’s costs almost next to nothing.
If you’re starting out, take lots (and lots and lots) of photos at various angles. It don’t cost a cent and you can delete them later. Pick the best 5 that you think are the cream of the crop, or ask a friend to look at them - outside opinion without your own emotional bias works better always. Study other photographs and you’ll soon learn that there are some ‘typical’ angles that always work.
Having good exposures on your photo helps it stand out. This can be done even after you’ve taken your photo and realised that there isn’t sufficient brightness. It only takes 2 steps (5 seconds of your time) to make a photo that look mundane to a “wow!" Remember, your MOC is the only thing that matters, everything else is a distraction, even bad exposure. Amateur tip, make the background an even shade of white as much as possible. The idea is to have your MOC *pop* out as soon as anyone looks at them.
Credit: Kelvin Low/Chubbybots
Use of space
Give your photos a tight crop as opposed to unused space. It helps bring the audience closer to your build to enjoy and appreciate the details.
The Money Shot!
Before you upload your photos, pause, sit and think for a moment, what’s the ONE photo that says ‘everything’ about my build. The money shot! Yes, that’s the one we’re looking for too. And when you pick one, what works best are photos in Landscape. Most websites handle landscape better as it’s aesthetically also more pleasing to the human senses. There’s a reason why Portrait photographs are called “Portraits”. It’s meant for that, for everything else, shoot in landscape.
Tip 3: GET NOTICED
Upload it to Flickr.com. YES, this is a MUST. Flickr is the Mos Eisley of LEGO MOCs. It may not be the best place you’d think it’d be to host your images, but it’s where Obi Wan found Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon. While Facebook is a great place to share, it’s a closed environment, its instant gratification, but your MOC will be very quickly forgotten within 24 hours. Having it on Flickr and getting it blogged allows your creation to be appreciated for “almost” eternity. In Facebook there’s no way to search across groups, so, always remember to share them OUTSIDE of Facebook. There are certainly other pages you can share, i.e http://www.moc-pages.com, but if you had to pick one, go for Flickr.
Sharing your photos
Before you run off, make sure you’ve set it so others can share it easily and give you credit. For Flickr, look under the hood at:
Settings -> Privacy and Permissions -> Allow others to share your stuff -> Yes please, that would be lovely!
Commercial Break: Now what?
Sit back relax and pour yourself some Bantha Milk - the healthy drink of choice of future Jedi wannabes.
Tip 4: YOU GOT NOTICED!
Now that you’ve GOT noticed, now what? It’s NOW ok to share the blog post on all your social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Here’s one golden rule. Don’t ever touch that photo that was featured on the said blog site, your source being Flickr. It’s a hard link, and if you want your photos to be showcased forever and ever, leave it, don’t touch it. Comprendo? If you HAVE to take new photos, upload them, label them differently, do whatever you wish, but DO NOT touch the set of photos that got featured.