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Photographing Soda Can Art

Updated on June 26, 2013
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) | Source

Here is a photographic project which is very well designed to be used as wall decor or simply just to experience another way to enjoy your photographic creativity. It is rather simple since you really need a lot of soda cans and besides your photographic gear , you also need a spray bottle full of mineral oil or glycerin.

This is more of an arts & crafts project than anything else but like most other subjects it has a photographic application as well.

Once you have amazed a large number of empty soda cans you just stack them on top of one another both horizontally and vertically; you need to create a "wall" made up of soda cans. It is better if you remove the ring top from each can as this makes it easier to stack and add a little bit of glue or silicone to each top and glue the bottom of each can so that they are firm and do not easily fall off.

It also helps if you use a solid back like a piece of white sturdy Styrofoam and glue the back of each can as you glue each to another . This makes it easier to stand up as a whole piece. Regardless of whether you glue each can to another , you should do the project in a studio in order to control the lighting better and prevent wind from toppling your soda can creation.

You can use one single variety or brand of soda like Cocoa-Cola or you can use many different flavors to add more variety and color to the theme. Make sure that each can is wiped clean and avoid using samples which have scratches or bends.

Once you project is set, a good technique is to pour some liquid baby oil, glycerin or other lubricant into a spray bottle and lightly spray the sides of the cans that will face the lens. This makes them appear as if they just came out of the cooler . Do close ups to focus on the "moisture" as well as long shots that encompass the entire display. Also make sure to rotate each can so that its art work/label faces the camera and avoid including scanning bars, ingredients etc.

The finished images can be set up in a picture frame and used as wall decorations much like some art nouveau works are.

Art Nouveau (French pronunciation: ​[aʁ nu'vo], Anglicised to /ˈɑːrt nuːˈvoʊ/) is an international philosophy[1] and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910.[2] The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art". It is known also as Modernisme in Catalonia (Spain), with its most notable contributions by the architect Antoni Gaudí. Known as Jugendstil, pronounced[ˈjuːɡn̩tstiːl ] in Germany, German for "youth style" or "the style of youth", named after the magazine Jugend, which promoted it, as Modern Wikipedia

Other variations are to use collectible cans such as those that feature a theme like Christmas, art works, Olympics, super heroes and so on. If you can get samples from a specific time period then even better like cans from the early 80's but these are really difficult to find unless you can locate a collector and even then you must get permission to arrange them specifically for the shoot and most collectors are very weary of letting someone handle their prized collection.

You can also make your own designs on the cans but keep in mind that this is very time consuming and can take a long time to complete since you are painting each can separately, but if you have the time, patience and enjoy doing arts & crafts, then this may be the way for you to approach the shoot.

Remember that you can do a "wall" of cans or you can do soda can art like joining cans into different art works like in the shape of a car, a person, an animal, or simply paint them, flatten them and paint designs on them. If cutting cans be careful as they are sharp and will cut. There are many things that you can do with them since they are very pliable and easy to work with. The best technique is to research some art works and get some inspiration from these works. The key is to be creative and apply your artistic talents into making creative works of art.

When ready to begin remember that cans offer a reflective surface so using a polarizing filter may be useful since this type of filter is used to eliminate reflections from surfaces although it may slightly darken the subject it is better than catching unsightly reflections.

You can use use reflected light and a diffused light source to help soften the light even more and it also helps with the reflections. A good way is to bounce the light from the ceiling,use ambient light, a wide aperture and setting the camera on a tripod.

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source


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