How to Get Great Pinhole Pictures Using a Sweet Tin!

2012-05-07 4

In this tipster, find out how to turn your empty sweet tin into a basic pinhole camera capturing images straight onto light sensitive paper.

What you need:

• Empty sweet tin (Get eating!)
• Light sensitive paper
• Blue tac
• Black paint
• Needle or pin
• Develop, stop & fixer of your choice.
• A darkroom / make shift dark room with red light.
• Scanner & Computer software to invert your images

As part of teaching our new students the photography basics, we start at the beginning, and once camera obscura is covered, we move on to how a basic camera works. We use all kinds of shapes, tins and boxes to create our pinhole camera but have found that empty sweet tins work best! My students followed these simple steps and were amazed by their results.

Step One – Preparing your tin!

The large hexagonal shapes are usually the best but you could probably use any size! Its all about experimenting. You need to create a hole in the center of the bottom of your tin roughly 4cm x 4cm. Make sure it’s on the center! To make ours, students bashed away with a hammer and once indented, cut through the metal with a strong pair of scissors. Next up – painting the inside black! Doesn’t matter too much, some people use black card, spray paint, etc. We used black acrylic paint.

Step Two – Adding the pinhole.

This is the important stage. You will need to cover the 4cm square with aluminum foil or black tape. Make sure its secure inside and out. (Black tape works best!)

Try to figure out exactly where the centre is. This is where you will make your pinhole! We used a number. 8 size needle to create our hole. Different websites give different advice, so be sure to read around first. The smaller the hole, the sharper the picture, but more exposure time needed! Number 8 was perfect to give the students a basic understanding of capturing an image.

You will need to create a shutter on the outside of the lid. A flap of card which is sealed with black tape is good. You need to be able to peel it back and re stick it when you’ve got your image. Its important it stay light tight!

Step Three – Getting your image

You will need light sensitive paper to use to capture your image. We used Kentmere as it came in a box of 100 and was relatively cheap. In a darkroom (we covered all windows with rubble sacks and used a portable red light) you need to put your paper into your pinhole camera. Put your blue tac in the centre of your lid. Then, attach your light sensitive paper being careful to make sure the shiny smoother light sensitive side is facing out. Try and get it in the middle! Put your lid on, make sure you shutter is closed and you’re ready to go!

Step Four – Exposure and developing

Experimenting with exposure time is important. Light-sensitive paper isn’t as sensitive as film so it needs long a long exposure time. We started at 45 seconds and each time, worked our way up by 10-15 seconds, depending on the result. The images show anything from 50-1.20 as we had varying weather conditions. When its overcast you will need to expose your image longer.

Find the image you want to capture. Remember, as you will be capturing the image for a long length of time you need to rest the tin on something. Either the ground, bench, fence, a friend, etc. The flat edge of the tin make it perfect for this!

When you ready, open the shutter and start counting. Use a timer if available! Make sure the shutter is fully sealed and head back inside!

In your darkened room you can now start to develop you image! Three trays, developer, stop, fixer. Check times with whatever brand you are using!

Take the lid off, peel away any blue tac and drop into developer! Magic! Watch your pinhole image develop right before your eyes! Wait! That’s not how its meant to look?! Your image will be a negative, you will need to scan it in and invert it! Congratulations, your very own pinhole image!

It is all about experimenting and getting to know what works for you! Enjoy!

written by crevans27 on 2012-05-07 #gear #tutorials #home #select-type-of-tipster #tipster #black-and-white #camera #pinhole #sweet-tin #develop #tutorial #select-what-this-tipster-is-about

4 Comments

  1. sirio174
    sirio174 ·

    very interesting project

  2. lawypop
    lawypop ·

    Sweet project! :D

  3. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    Wow this is cool.

  4. crevans27
    crevans27 ·

    Thanks guys! Glad you like it :)

More Interesting Articles

  • Taking Back Tipsters: Essential Pinhole Photography Hacks

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-04-24 #tutorials
    Taking Back Tipsters: Essential Pinhole Photography Hacks

    This World Pinhole Photography Day is your chance to shift from the usual 35mm pinhole cameras to the unconventional medium format, stereoscopic or instant do-it-yourself' pinhole cameras. You can even turn the LomoKino into a pinhole video camera. Challenge yourself and take a pick from this list of Tipsters.

    2016-04-24 1
  • Instantly Optimal: Portraits

    written by Lomography on 2016-03-18 #gear #tutorials
    Instantly Optimal: Portraits

    The third installment of the Instantly Optimal Tipster series shows you how to capture candid moments and perfect a posed picture with your Lomo’Instant Wide!

    2016-03-18
  • Join the LomoWalk@Hong Kong - Lomography Photo Collage - 13th Street District

    written by lomographygallerystorehk on 2016-06-30 #culture #news #places
    Join the LomoWalk@Hong Kong - Lomography Photo Collage - 13th Street District

    13th Street, To Kwa Wan could be one of the most underrated local icon. Have you ever encountered a situation where you just can't fit the whole view into your frame? Worry not… we are going to fit everything into one picture. How? Find out and join us!

    2016-06-30
  • Shop News

    Share your smartphone memories instantly with the Fujifilm Instax SHARE SP-2 Printer

    Share your smartphone memories instantly with the Fujifilm Instax SHARE SP-2 Printer

    Give your smartphone photos that analogue touch with the Fuji Instax Share Smartphone Printer! Shoot with your smartphone, send photos via the free app, and print on Fuji Instax Mini film! Both Silver and Gold version now available in the shop! *available in selected markets

  • A Hunt for Curios and Wonderful Patterns

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-02-04
    A Hunt for Curios and Wonderful Patterns

    Some photographers have an instinct for the unique. Whereas others aim to fashion the ordinary into a singular picture, these hunters are obsessed with what cannot be found elsewhere. They prize an exclusive scoop on architectural patterns, artisan quirks, and objects that stick out of an everyday scene. And when the photographers find them, they will twist and turn to get the most flattering angle. Only right for curiosities that beg to be shared.

    2016-02-04 2
  • Neil Krug: Pulp, Rock, Color

    written by lomographymagazine on 2015-10-27 #videos #people
    Neil Krug: Pulp, Rock, Color

    In 2009, Neil Krug uploaded a commercial for Pulp Art Book on Youtube. In the comments section someone asked, “Does anyone know what kind of camera he uses or how he gets his pictures to look the way they do?” Krug was on to something. He did something wildly intriguing, one that looked to have a secret formula.

    2015-10-27
  • Cinematographer Michal Dabal on the Petzval Lens

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-01-05 #videos #people
    Cinematographer Michal Dabal on the Petzval Lens

    Here’s what happens before we interview a photographer. We gush about the work though we have yet to find out the cameras and processes behind the brilliant composition or the light architecture. And even when they haven’t used a Lomo camera, we feature them anyway. But every once in a while comes a pro who uses one of our premium lenses at work and our fun cameras off-duty. This makes us mighty glad, more so when their images are good and worth sharing. We count cinematographer Michal Dabal's work among them.

    2016-01-05 1
  • Shop News

    LomoKino on sale!

    LomoKino on sale!

    Embrace the magic of movie making and capture 144 frames of glorious analogue action on 35mm film with the LomoKino! Get it now at a incredibly low price while supplies last!

  • Germany in Analog - Show fotoforum and Lomography your Hometown on Film

    written by zonderbar on 2015-12-18 #news
    Germany in Analog - Show fotoforum and Lomography your Hometown on Film

    North or South, East or West - in every corner of Germany you can find analog photography lovers. Lomography brings them together and shows their pictures to a worldwide community. With this rumble we want to get to know you a little better. Show Lomography and fotoforum where you come from, capture your hometown on film and win a one-year subscription of fotoforum magazine as well as a Lomo LC-A 120 camera. Please note: This competition is only for users from Germany, Austria or Switzerland.

    2015-12-18
  • A Secret of the Cosmos: Launching the Newest Lomography Product

    written by Lomography on 2016-01-19 #news #gear
    A Secret of the Cosmos: Launching the Newest Lomography Product

    Shh! We've got a secret matter at hand, and it's coming at you at the speed of light! We're being as mysterious as the Cosmos about our new out-of-this world product, constantly orbiting around our big reveal. But the eclipse will pass and soon the stars will align. Until then, there must be some questions floating around in the universe, right? Well, there's no need to look to the stars to find your answer! Stay on Lomography's wavelength as we kick into hyperdrive. Let your imagination skyrocket and see if you can decipher our otherworldly clues!

    2016-01-19 19
  • Neon Noir by Kelli McGuire

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-09-26 #people
    Neon Noir by Kelli McGuire

    New York‐based photographer Kelli McGuire takes us into her cinematic vision — one that is feminine, mysterious, and drenched in disco colors.

    2016-09-26 1
  • Shop News

    LC-A+ & LC-W Accessories

    LC-A+ & LC-W Accessories

    Combine your LC-A+ or LC-W Camera with great, fun Accessories and get 15% Discount on all Lomography Accessories when bought together with the Camera!

  • Get Creative with the Lomo'Instant Automat: Create Your Own Universe

    written by Lomography on 2016-09-27 #gear #tutorials
    Get Creative with the Lomo'Instant Automat: Create Your Own Universe

    Can’t wait to get your hands on your very own Lomo’Instant Automat camera? Follow our quick tricks so you can master and get the most out of your instant camera once it comes knocking at your door! It's time to start creating your very own universe!

  • Monday Moodboard: Dawn of Autumn

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-09-26 #culture
    Monday Moodboard: Dawn of Autumn

    Things are about to get "chiller" as the fall season begins. Even the usually stressful Mondays will start to feel easy-going.

    2016-09-26
  • Lomo Locals: New York City's Street Photographer Collective at Lomography NYC

    written by lomographynyc on 2016-09-26 #news
    Lomo Locals: New York City's Street Photographer Collective at Lomography NYC

    Take to the heart of New York City with this dedicated street photography collective, meeting once a month here at the Lomography NYC Space!

    2016-09-26