Project 52 – The results of my first attempt at Pinhole photography

The first week of my project resulted in just four images (the rest were barely visible on the negative) all of which were ridiculously blurred!  I’m taking a glass half full attitude.  I did actually record an image and that’s better than not recording anything at all.

These were all taken using the Hole-one EX cardboard kit pin hole.  I had to tape the back on once the film was loaded as it kept falling off but it would seem that quite a bit of light still managed to get into the camera as there are dark stripes across the majority of the negatives. I’m guessing that there are quite a few places that the light could be getting in such as the joints at the front so I’ll be applying a bit more glue before I use it again.

Below are a few more detailed shots of the camera.  The film winding knob is on the top of the camera on the right in the shot below. (With the arrow drawn on it to remind me which way to wind it.)

(The viewfinder does not work!)

The little ‘ON’, ‘OFF’ tabs visible in the two images above are to open and close the shutter (or in simple terms push a piece of card over the hole).

Based on the suggested exposure times I started with an exposure of about 5 secs and then took a whole range all the way up to about 30.  Of course I was not organised enough to write down what exposures I used for which shots and I’m sure that at least four images were accidentally exposed twice.

I taped the camera to the tripod with gaffa tape in the hope that it would hold it still enough in the slight breeze.  But it was difficult to tape it down without covering the film winder.

Reasons the images are so bad:

1. It was too dull – and I didn’t expose for long enough. (It is possible that the images that did come out were so badly blurred because they were actually double exposures,  the double amount of light was sufficient for the image to record but the overlay of images (of the same thing, with slight movements) resulted in the significant blur.

2. It was too dull – The lighting was very, very flat (lacking in contrast) this meant that the negatives would be very flat, with very few bright highlights or dark shadows.

3. The camera was simply wobbling too much.  The shutter button was hard to move, the camera was not securely attached to the tripod and it was breezy.

4. Light was leaking into the camera through badly stuck together joints.

5. Because I am conditioned to using a viewfinder I found it difficult to just point the camera and shoot.  I also wanted to see if I could get either Simon or I in the shots (as this is supposed to be a portrait project) so tried to use the viewfinder to get a rough idea of the composition.  I think I missed one of the fundamental points of these little fun pin hole cameras and that is that it’s supposed to be a bit haphazard and FUN, a surprise when you get the film back.   The technical reason the viewfinder doesn’t work is due to something called parallax error.  A quick explanation is that ‘what you see is not what you get’ unlike an SLR camera where ‘What you see is (exactly) what you get’ which is what makes them so great.  Anyway I will explain this in more detail in the next post.

So I’m going to write this week off as a good start, I developed the film at home I recorded something on film, it could have been worse.

Here are close ups of the four (terrible) photographs in all their glory!

You might also find the following articles interesting:

Project 52 – An Introduction

Project 52 – Pinhole Cameras

Please feel free to leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


  1. They have a certain grainy, and nostalgic feel to them.
    I wouldn’t be too disappointed if I were you !

  2. Definitely a good start Clare, you got recognisable images from a camera you made yourself from card!

    Did you see about the guy in Canada doing 12 month long exposures using pin hole cameras? Here’s a link:–photographer-michael-chrisman-s-year-long-exposure-of-toronto-s-skyline-produces-dreamy-image-of-city#article

  3. Clare, Just love the cardboard pin hole camera, I’ve not seen one of these before.


    • Hi James, Check out the last Blog post ‘Project 52 – Pin hole cameras’ there’s a link on there. They’re only about £10 :-)

  4. Oh pinhole! My one true photography love. I think your first attempt was pretty good. If you really want to do more pinhole, think about buying a pinhole camera as I’ve found I get better results than with handmade cameras.
    I love the idea of a 52 project. I tried to do a 365 day project and it was so hard. I think I stopped posting about 6 months into the project.
    If you want to take a look, here are some of my pinhole photographs:

  5. Wow looks like a lot of work – cant wait to see more. Well Done on trying new things :-)

    • Thanks Lauren, need to get out while the weathers good, hoepfully after the weekend I’ll actually have something else to share :-)

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