The magic of pinhole photography centers around the lens. While a popular lens diameter or aperture is usually 50 millimeters in diameter, a pinhole lens is very small by comparison. Meaning that your image exposure time is longer. Pinhole photography can be especially impactful over long stretches of time and around water.
Photographic outcomes are a combination of
1) field, or the size of the photo you’re taking
2) focus, or the image that will be the center of your photo
3) light exposure, or the brightness of the natural or manmade scene
4) time, or the amount of time the shutter is open and the film is exposed
If you expose the film to too much light, the image will not be clear. Too little, and it will be too dark. Because the opening of a pinhole is so small, your exposure time will need to be longer to allow in more light.
Can You DIY?
There are many folks who will create a makeshift pinhole camera by taking a small piece of metal, poking a hole through it with a pin, and affixing it to the front of a camera. You can also get a custom pinhole mount for the front of your camera.
Use a Tripod
The long exposure of a pinhole camera means that any movement of the camera will create blur. Be prepared to set up your camera and leave it in place for extended periods of time to get a variety of images to develop. If possible, get a remote so you can avoid even touching the camera. Consider using a Gorilla-Pod or another tripod with a level on it.
Because outdoor features, particularly water, are amazing when photographed with a pinhole camera, you may also need to set up your camera on a fairly calm day. Too much wind can jar the camera and may lead to blur on the water.
Pinhole photos taken on standard film take longer to capture. However, the longer you leave the film exposed, the less sensitive it will be. Once you have your camera focused on your image and have the right light, you may need to play with the amount of time that the film is exposed to get just the right amount of light exposure. Many pinhole images are naturally brighter at the focus point and dimmer all around the edges.
Use the Right Film
Pinhole images are amazing black and white creations, though color can be striking as well. For your black and white film, try TMAX 400 film. Kodak Ektar 100 is a stable choice for your color images.
Thanks to the DIY option, nearly any camera can be turned into a pinhole camera. If you have one good camera, consider getting an attachable pinhole lens to swap out with your other lenses.
Whether you have an ONDU pinhole camera or a DIY, the ONDU instructions for your images are extremely helpful when getting just the right shot. Your film type will make a big difference.
A pinhole camera shutter needs to stay open for much longer than a standard camera. If you have a traditional camera, you may need to manually open the shutter once you have your pinhole lens in place. A pinhole camera has a manual flipper-style shutter.