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  • Gokhan Aktas

Five tips on tin can photography

It was about five years ago, right after we won multiple awards at the 2016 Crescent and Stars for Packaging competition here in Istanbul. We were very excited and wanted good photos of our awards. After all, we were going to put them on our website and share them on Instagram. So we went to a photo studio and asked them to help us with the task at hand. I knew that they weren’t product photographers but the results were really unsatisfactory. The sample photos we were occasionally taking were a lot better than these. So we decided to educate ourselves on tin can photography to take good photos of our tins.

A black camera

We live in a visual world and most of us take multiple photos every day for a number of reasons. We recommended working with professional product photographers when taking photos for catalogs or websites but it isn’t very feasible to do that for every photo you take. Over the years, we took many photos of our products and gained some experience with shooting tin cans even though we are still amateurs. I will share our top five tips with you.

1) Educate yourself on ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. You really need to have at least a basic understanding of these concepts if you want to take good photos. There is a lot of information on the internet that gives you exact settings but don’t take the shortcut. Instead, spend a little bit of time reading about them. It is really not that hard and it is actually very interesting.

2) Try to use a tripod as much as possible. In many cases, it is actually possible. There are a lot of reasons that will make your photos blurry. However, a tripod will fix many of those and it will make sure that your photos are crisp and clear.

3) Keep it simple. Your focus is the product and the photo should reflect that. You can try to have really nice compositions but it is very difficult and it needs a lot of experience (or maybe we are just not talented :) ). We have found out that just a nice plain background makes things much easier.

4) Have good lighting. When you work on the first item on our list, you will find out how important light is for photography. Whether it is natural sunlight coming through a window or studio lights you plug in, make sure you have enough light.

5) Study reflections. This is extremely important with tins as they have highly glossy surfaces for the most part and reflections will be visible on these surfaces. To get rid of them, you might want to go back to your high school physics classes, research the internet or try different setups through trial and error.

A photography light

Like I said before, we are enthusiastic amateurs when it comes to tin can photography and our top tips aren’t necessarily in the correct order (however I still think the first tip is the top tip :) ). We have different products with different features that make things more complicated. Round tins will be different than rectangular tins, glossy tins will be different than mat tins and blank tins will be different than printed tins. It might get frustrating but don’t give up. It does get better and easier in time.

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