The Showcase of Beautiful Pinhole Photography

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Camera is a remarkable piece of innovation. However, it is the person behind the camera that makes it truly remarkable. It’s his imagination, passion, talent and knowledge of the medium. You don’t need a high-end costly equipment to get beautiful results. Just your talent and a way of looking at things differently along with ability to envision the final result in your mind is more than enough for a great shot.

A pinhole camera is a simple camera without a lens and with a single small aperture — effectively a light-proof box with a small hole on one side. Light from a scene passes through this single point and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box. You can easily construct this camera yourself using things lying around like match boxes or any kind of boxes, paper, duct tape etc. The small amount of light passing through this pin sized hole produces image on a photographic film or a image sensor.

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty on creating a pinhole camera by yourself, you can use your DSLR with some modifications (replacing camera lenses with a pinhole cover). Although it takes practice and lot of trial and error method to get a perfect picture, you don’t need to worry about the focus and distortions, as there are no lenses involved. You might as well end up with some lovely motion blurred photographs.

In today’s weekend post we present beautiful and inspiring photographs created using a pinhole camera. Please notice how photographers use the camera creatively to produce quite remarkable images. At the bottom of this post you will find links to some photographers and references to related resources that will help you get you started. Also, we listed related Flickr pools that contain thousands of further examples of what can be achieved with this technique. Get inspired, folks!

Beautiful Inspiring Pinhole Camera Photographs

Tarquin Coates1

2

Tetsuya3

4

The calmness of blue5 by Andrew Watson6

7

Daniel Tückmantel8

9

Invader10 by TEIKO11

12

Mackeson79382613

8014

Danielle Hughson282215

16

Tea Room97913217

18

A. Wallis19

20

An Oceanic Ghost Forest21 by Danielle Hughson282215

23

Zeb Andrews89837324

25

Mackeson79382613

27

Danielle Hughson282215

29

Scott VanderStouw30

31

Tea Room97913217

33

Scott Speck63453634

35

Scott Speck63453634

37

Mackeson79382613

39

Bruno Malegue40

41

gonebiking42

43

The Iron Cycloid44 by Scott Speck63453634

46

Matteo Bagnoli47

48

The Sleeping Zebra49 by Scott Speck50

51

Sarah Knopf52

53

Follow The Tunes54 by Tim Franco55

56

Bill Bresler57

58

nhung dang59

60

Darren C.7161

62

Scott Speck63453634

64

Tea Room65

66

Celeste Brignac67

68

A. Wallis69

70

Darren C.7161

72

Zeb Andrews89837324

74

Kakki75

76

Kent Mercurio77

78

Mackeson79382613

8014

Erik81

82

Zeb Andrews89837324

84

Michael C. Pastur85

86

mist-y87

88

Zeb Andrews89837324

90

Tea Room97913217

92

Always de Sun93

94

Remarkable Photographers

And here is a brief overview of some remarkable pinhole photographers from Flickr. They have added a new dimension to photography: their photo streams are full of beautiful photographs.

Zeb Andrews95

96

Tea Room97913217

98

Scott Speck99

100

Further Resources

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.flickr.com/people/tarkys_stills/
  2. 2 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarkys_stills/3140224995/
  3. 3 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tetsuya_/
  4. 4 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tetsuya_/4272042336/
  5. 5 http://www.flickr.com/photos/a-c-w/3582151865/
  6. 6 http://www.flickr.com/photos/a-c-w/
  7. 7 http://www.flickr.com/photos/a-c-w/3582151865/
  8. 8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ypsoon/
  9. 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ypsoon/34341678/
  10. 10 http://www.flickr.com/photos/6261/519686854/
  11. 11 http://www.flickr.com/photos/6261/
  12. 12 http://www.flickr.com/photos/6261/519686854/
  13. 13 http://www.flickr.com/photos/waynemackeson/
  14. 14 http://www.flickr.com/photos/waynemackeson/3408742593/
  15. 15 http://www.flickr.com/people/manyfires/
  16. 16 http://www.flickr.com/photos/manyfires/2747851067/
  17. 17 http://www.tea-room.net/
  18. 18 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tearoom/4231301758/
  19. 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/awallis/
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/photos/awallis/275971734/
  21. 21 http://www.flickr.com/photos/manyfires/1612316217/
  22. 22 http://www.flickr.com/people/manyfires/
  23. 23 http://www.flickr.com/photos/manyfires/1612316217/
  24. 24 http://www.flickr.com/photos/zebandrews/
  25. 25 http://www.flickr.com/photos/zebandrews/165505387/
  26. 26 http://www.flickr.com/photos/waynemackeson/
  27. 27 http://www.flickr.com/photos/waynemackeson/216645185/
  28. 28 http://www.flickr.com/people/manyfires/
  29. 29 http://www.flickr.com/photos/manyfires/3474534127/
  30. 30 http://www.pbase.com/vanderstouw/image/38421396
  31. 31 http://www.pbase.com/vanderstouw/image/38421396
  32. 32 http://www.tea-room.net/
  33. 33 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tearoom/3401785462/
  34. 34 http://www.flickr.com/people/41427422@N00/
  35. 35 http://www.flickr.com/photos/41427422@N00/4061480194/
  36. 36 http://www.flickr.com/people/41427422@N00/
  37. 37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/41427422@N00/3411930264/
  38. 38 http://www.flickr.com/photos/waynemackeson/
  39. 39 http://www.flickr.com/photos/waynemackeson/303220643/
  40. 40 http://www.flickr.com/photos/legduma/
  41. 41 http://www.flickr.com/photos/legduma/780312246/
  42. 42 http://www.flickr.com/people/gonebiking/
  43. 43 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gonebiking/423516012/
  44. 44 http://www.flickr.com/photos/41427422@N00/3184698499/
  45. 45 http://www.flickr.com/people/41427422@N00/
  46. 46 http://www.flickr.com/photos/41427422@N00/3184698499/
  47. 47 http://www.flickr.com/photos/matteo_bagnoli/
  48. 48 http://www.flickr.com/photos/matteo_bagnoli/2806278859/
  49. 49 http://1x.com/photos/member/7409/17823/
  50. 50 http://1x.com/member/7409/scott-speck/
  51. 51 http://1x.com/photos/member/7409/17823/
  52. 52 http://www.flickr.com/photos/i_am_ponkie/
  53. 53 http://www.flickr.com/photos/i_am_ponkie/356432018/
  54. 54 http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanghaisound/3324017761/
  55. 55 http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanghaisound/
  56. 56 http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanghaisound/3324017761/
  57. 57 http://www.pbase.com/image/96364537
  58. 58 http://www.pbase.com/image/96364537
  59. 59 http://www.flickr.com/people/nhungsta/
  60. 60 http://www.flickr.com/photos/nhungsta/2785462214/
  61. 61 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcsnaps/
  62. 62 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcsnaps/134577304/
  63. 63 http://www.flickr.com/people/41427422@N00/
  64. 64 http://www.flickr.com/photos/41427422@N00/2493856258/
  65. 65 http://www.tea-room.net/
  66. 66 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tearoom/2947237826/
  67. 67 http://www.eyefetch.com/profile.aspx?user=travelgirl
  68. 68 http://www.eyefetch.com/image.aspx?ID=212060
  69. 69 http://www.flickr.com/photos/awallis/
  70. 70 http://www.flickr.com/photos/awallis/2451708719/
  71. 71 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcsnaps/
  72. 72 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcsnaps/2739623975/
  73. 73 http://www.flickr.com/photos/zebandrews/
  74. 74 http://www.flickr.com/photos/zebandrews/89944225/
  75. 75 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kakkie/
  76. 76 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kakkie/69969965/
  77. 77 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kentmercurio/
  78. 78 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kentmercurio/1712051864/
  79. 79 http://www.flickr.com/photos/waynemackeson/
  80. 80 http://www.flickr.com/photos/waynemackeson/3408742593/
  81. 81 http://www.flickr.com/photos/thespeak/
  82. 82 http://www.flickr.com/photos/thespeak/287804489/
  83. 83 http://www.flickr.com/photos/zebandrews/
  84. 84 http://www.flickr.com/photos/zebandrews/888038860/
  85. 85 http://www.flickr.com/photos/michael-pastur/
  86. 86 http://www.flickr.com/photos/michael-pastur/274775699/
  87. 87 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mist-y/
  88. 88 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mist-y/342343103/
  89. 89 http://www.flickr.com/photos/zebandrews/
  90. 90 http://www.flickr.com/photos/zebandrews/162134220/
  91. 91 http://www.tea-room.net/
  92. 92 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tearoom/3137142717
  93. 93 http://www.photosight.ru/users/219782/
  94. 94 http://www.photosight.ru/photos/3355042/
  95. 95 http://www.zebandrews.com/
  96. 96 http://www.flickr.com/photos/zebandrews/
  97. 97 http://www.tea-room.net/
  98. 98 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tearoom/
  99. 99 http://www.scottspeck.com/
  100. 100 http://www.flickr.com/photos/41427422@N00/
  101. 101 http://photo.tutsplus.com/tutorials/the-ultimate-guide-to-create-your-own-35mm-pinhole-camera/
  102. 102 http://www.rahji.com/wordpress/2007/05/12/pinhole-exposure-times/
  103. 103 http://digital-photography-school.com/photography-101-light-and-the-pinhole-camera
  104. 104 http://www.holgablog.com/2009/04/20/the-top-20-strangestscoolestmost-beautiful-pinhole-cameras/
  105. 105 #
  106. 106 http://anttila.ca/michael/pinholelens/
  107. 107 http://www.squarefrog.co.uk/holga-hacks-pinholga.html
  108. 108 http://www.foundphotography.com/PhotoThoughts/archives/2005/10/medium_format_p.html
  109. 109 http://makezine.com/09/pinhole/
  110. 110 http://www.photostuff.co.uk/pinholec.htm
  111. 111 http://www.flickr.com/groups/pinholephotography/
  112. 112 http://www.flickr.com/groups/pinholers/
  113. 113 http://www.flickr.com/groups/colorpinholephotography/
  114. 114 http://www.flickr.com/groups/polaroidpinhole/
  115. 115 http://www.flickr.com/groups/pinholeperspective/

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Vailancio Rodrigues is a web ninja who bakes semantic muffins. Apart from that he is also interested in Motion Graphics, Visual Effects, Photography and knows little bit of Physics due to his college education . He is from Goa - a beautiful tropical paradise in India.

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  1. 1

    Hi!

    You’ve got the same photos 2 times in this article (Danielle Hughson, Tea room and Mackeson).

    Tom.

  2. 5

    Stunning showcase, I really enjoyed looking at these. Thanks for sharing.

  3. 6

    This is beautiful and inspiring. Thanks!

  4. 7

    Beautiful stuff!! Showing this to my dad – he is a college photography lecturer who starts every new year’s groups with a week doing pinhole. He’d love this.

  5. 8

    an absolutely stunning collection – a definite bookmark for future inspiration.

  6. 9

    nice photos, but I still have no idea what kind of camera you are talking about. The description doesn’t make sense.

  7. 11

    Any ideas on how big of exposure time these type of photos need?

    • 12

      it’s hard to say exactly how long the exposures are, it really all depends on the film and the type of pinhole camera.

      i did some b&w photos using a homemade pinhole back in one of my 2D design classes. i remember the exposures ranging from 30 seconds (the shortest time), to several minutes (i think one was seven minutes long, and it was taken outside and didnt end up looking washed out!)

      overall, they have been longer than shorter in my experience

  8. 13

    Great collection of artists. I noticed at least seven of your selected artists are also featured in my new book “The Pinhole Camera”.

  9. 14

    they made better pinhole photos than i ever made photos with lens and my camera;)

  10. 15

    @SJL: exposure times are typically seconds for daylight shots, to minutes, even hours for those captured during twilight, the evening or indoors. Pinhole cameras typically have an aperture somewhere between f/100 and f/300, so that really doesn’t allow much light to get through during every second of exposure.

    Another factor, when using film, is reciprocity failure. Film becomes very insensitive during exposures that extend beyond a second. So extra time has to be added for this too. I typically give the shot time-and-a-half for print films.

    To give some perspective, the third picture from the top was exposed for 45 minutes at f/250.

    @vailrodrigues: thanks for including my picture. BTW – I don’t know if you realise it, but quite a few of these shots were made by a small, but enthusiastic band of pinhole camera wielders from Portland, Oregon.

  11. 16

    Helge-Kristoffer Wang

    July 25, 2010 4:29 pm

    Thanks for letting me stare to something amazing like this. :-P It sure gave me alot of inspiration!

  12. 17

    This makes me fall in love with pinhole photography even more. I’d love to try doing the traditional one but I’m curious as to how I can make my DSLR turn into a pinhole camera (without doing much damage, of course).

    Thanks for the collection!

    • 18

      Hello Bea. There’s a couple of ways to turn your DSLR (or film SLR) into a pinhole camera.

      If you’re just interested in just a quick and dirty experiment, simply tape some aluminium foil over the bayonet mount of your camera after having made a small needle hole in the centre of it. Make sure you get the foil reasonably taught, and the needle hole as round as possible.

      Alternatively, you can buy a body cap for your camera that has a laser-cut pinhole already mounted on it. Search for ‘pinhole body cap’ to find such things.

      With either of these methods, you’ll not be able to see your composition through the viewfinder because the pinhole lets in too little light. If you’re experimenting with foil, you’ll have to rely on a series of experiments to get exposure just right. A body cap pinhole should come with the appropriate f-number stamped on it. You can use an external meter for more accurate exposures should you choose this route.

      Happy exploring!
      Andrew

  13. 19

    terrify, an awesome collection of all time !!

    nice to see Scott Speck in the list, one of my favourites !!

  14. 20

    Scott VanderStouw

    July 25, 2010 11:32 pm

    Glad to be in here… Would have been nice if you sent an email, or comment or something to know I was in here…

    The only way I found out was to see that my bananas photo suddenly had 319 hits in one day. And when I searched my name and the word “bananas” I found it.

    I don’t personally mind being in here, but there may come a time when you get someone deciding to defend their copyright because you are posting pictures without asking first.

    Great list of good pinhole websites to boot, and a very good showcase of work though.

    • 21

      Sorry Scott for posting your photo without permission. I am bit disappointed because you did not receive my e-mail before publishing this post. Every time we prepare any such collection we make sure that we obtain permission from the owners before publishing it. And it was same with this post as well. This post was prepared in February 2010 and I clearly remember that I sent more than 120+ emails to obtain permission from the owners. I really do not know how I missed in your case. Sorry once again.

      • 22

        Scott VanderStouw

        July 26, 2010 4:15 pm

        As I said… It isn’t the end of the world. I did rail someone who posted my work (justifiably in his case), but see no reason for it now…

        Just mentioned the copyright issue because someone will have an issue sometime…

        If you have been emailing people, and I just slipped through the cracks, then no harm no foul :)

        Feel free to pick through my collection if there are collections you are gathering in the future…

        If you ever do one on Lensbabies, I have tons of those :)

      • 23

        Bonjour,
        Pas reçu de mail non plus ;-)
        Bonne journée.

  15. 24

    Just stunning! Awesome examples.
    Will have to try this some day..

  16. 25

    we love you guys.. our fav website so far.. thanks guys for all the hard work

    :)

  17. 26

    I fail to understand the advantage. The photos all look like taken with a wide angle lens. What is so special about them?

    • 27

      Hello Racketeer, I’m not sure I understand what you mean by ‘advantage’. It’s just different. A pinhole camera is simply another artistic tool. It really is a very simple way of making pictures, and its results have a very different feel to those produced by cameras with lenses.

      A couple of ways that a pinhole image differs from those shot by a ‘normal’ camera are: all images have an immense depth of field, and the image is slightly soft throughout this range; no lens distortion unlike wide angle glass; and there is only a couple of controls: film speed and exposure time, so less dials and buttons to flap over.

      Since a pinhole is a very small aperture, and exposures are consequently lengthy, you can capture time in a shot. For me, this is one of the most compelling reasons for using one. Bear in mind that this is not a unique property of a pinhole camera. You could just stack neutral density filters on the lens of your ‘ordinary’ camera to achieve a similar effect.

      Lastly, pinhole cameras allow for easy tinkering and experimentation. Who says you have to have just one pinhole? Why not put the pinhole parallel to the film plane? How about turning a coconut/a cylinder block/a warehouse into a camera? All can be done with a little ingenuity.

      • 28

        Scott VanderStouw

        July 26, 2010 4:19 pm

        Don’t forget that pinhole is bascally infinite depth of field (or rather infinite almost in focus – haha).

        The photo I did of bananas was maybe at most an inch away from the bananas. If there was a mountain behind the bananas, everything would have been in focus.

        And they are only wide-angle if you make them that way. You can make them telephoto if you want too.

      • 29

        wow ,thank you for the lesson ,I taught those pix are fantastic,want to see more ..

  18. 30

    That’s a really nice collection. Thanks for sharing it. I might try this today and see if I accomplish anything

  19. 31

    This is a nice collection of images, and good to see my friend Scott Speck represented here. Concerning the possibility of DSLR pinhole, just drill a hole in a body cap, place a pinhole over it, remove your lens and replace it with the body cap, and you’re good to go. If you want to know how to make a pinhole then check out http://glsmyth.com/Pinhole/Articles/PinholeFAQ/PinholeFAQ.htm#BM3. The only problem with this is the fact that the hole will allow dust to find itself on the sensor, so realize that eventuality.

    That said, my hundreds of DSLR pinhole images have been little more than disappointing – medium or large format film is really needed for things to shine.

    Another possibility is to take things a step further and try Pinhole Sieve photography. You can see some examples at http://glsmyth.com/Gallery.asp?G=Pinhole%20Sieve.

    Cheers –

    george

  20. 32

    It’s cool that Pinhole Photography is getting more popular. It’s a great hobby that can continue to build a niche in the photography world. Here are a few more resources that we’ve come up with if anyone is interested:

    http://www.youdesignit.com/resources/pinhole-photography

    I hope it helps.

  21. 33

    @Andrew Watson, are you using a zero69 by any chance? Your photo is amazing!

    • 34

      Hello MC. Thanks for your kind comment! The photo in question was taken with a Zero 2000, which is their 6×6, square format camera. If you’ve visited my Flickr page, you’ll see some 6×9 shots, but those were made with a homebrewed camera. Cheers!

      • 35

        Hi Andrew, Thank you very much for the response. I was confused by the f/250 you mentioned, I should have looked at your flickr page :)

        • 36

          Yeah, I think the actual f-number for the Zero Image 2000 is f/138, but I compensate for film reciprocity failure shooting it as if it were f/250.

  22. 38

    Thanks so very much for featuring me in this article, and I’m honored to be part of it. Thanks to the nice comments by others, too! :)

  23. 39

    Scott VanderStouw

    July 26, 2010 4:21 pm

    A good pinhole solution is to build a foam-core camera around a polaroid back… This allows you to shoot 4×5 polaroid – to confirm your photos, as well as shoot ready-load 4×5 film for the actual negatives (or transparencies). That way it is really easy to load the camera.

    You could probably pick up a polaroid back fairly cheap these days.

    I just glued a hex plate to the bottom of my camera I made, which fits my tripod.

  24. 40

    perfect shots

  25. 41

    Incredibles!

  26. 42

    Amazing, I don’t know how people can get such great shots from a pinhole camera! These are definitely some awesome photos which could be easily sold over ebay or even dubli…

  27. 43

    Those are some of the best images I have seen taken with a pin hole camera. It make me want to buy one and start shooting. It reminds me of one my favorite photographers work. Check out his like mcbeandesign.com/Studio.html

  28. 44

    i have never seen this type of photography iam just shocked by seeing this pics and wiht good lightinggggggg

    just rocking photographyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy 100 starssssss

    extraordianryyyyyyyyy

  29. 45

    Great Post, Thanks

  30. 46

    Thank you for featuring one of my photos!! This is such a beautiful collection and I’ve enjoyed looking at all the other amazing pieces of art.

  31. 47

    I love the 1st paragraph. I copied it on my website with a link to this page.
    (fed up with people telling me I may have a great camera to be able to shoot pictures like mines)
    Thanks.
    http://www.freddyberriau.com

  32. 48

    the feeling is very good

  33. 49

    great shots!

  34. 50

    Actions For Photoshop

    May 4, 2011 1:26 am

    Well I definitely enjoyed studying it. This information provided by you is very useful for correct planning.

  35. 51

    Actually Photography is an wonderful art those who are interested.. But now a days most of them like to see what’s going when we are not there.. In case of this we having more hidden cameras..

    Thanks

  36. 52

    Very impressive collection of pinhole photographs. More pinhole artists out there these days then I ever imagined.

  37. 53

    oh very very impressive captures. very beautiful i like…..

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