Artistic Photography with Pinhole Cameras
Pinhole photography, one of the oldest forms of the art, is making a comeback. Its simple format allows you to take unique photos that you can't always capture with a DSLR. For many people, pinhole cameras serve as an introduction to photography, and it's likely that you even built your own as a kid. Among other reasons, photography enthusiasts love pinhole and film cameras because of their ability to capture the atmosphere of a setting the old-fashioned way.
What's a Pinhole Camera?
A basic pinhole camera consists of a light-protected box with a small hole and some film on the interior. Unlike most modern cameras, pinholes do not have glass lenses. The hole serves as the aperture, through which light passes and projects onto the film, creating a photo.
To take a photo, the aperture opens and stays open until the camera captures the picture. Generally speaking, the smaller the hole, the stronger the detail. The longer the exposure, the softer the overall look. You can play around with the aperture size and exposure time to create your desired effect.
One of the fun aspects of pinhole photography is that—much like with disposable cameras—you won't know how the photo turns out until you develop the film.
Uses for Pinhole Cameras
Today, pinhole photography serves primarily an artistic purpose, or as an educational tool. Despite its primitiveness, these older devices allow plenty of room for creativity. With practice, you can use them to take stunning photos. The camera creates images via long exposure, and the images are sensitive to movement. Because the depth of field is nearly infinite, all objects in the image, near and far, can come out in focus. This makes the cameras ideal for landscape shots.
Getting More Creative
You can easily make your own pinhole camera at home, or you can buy a pinhole camera kit to build a more professional-looking version. Alternatively, you can even transform a DSLR camera into one via an add-on pinhole lens, or by drilling a hole in the body cap yourself.
If you enjoy the adventurous aspects of pinhole photography, you should look into old-school Holga and Lomography cameras. These analog film cameras also allow for plenty of room for creativity. You can even alter some models for pinhole photography by simply exchanging the lens.
B&H Photo and Video has all the equipment and tools you need to spur imagination with professional pinhole cameras, kits, and more.