The Pinhole

What is a Pinhole Camera?
A pinhole camera, also known as camera obscura, or "dark chamber", is a simple optical imaging device in the shape of a closed box or chamber (We use a Quaker Oats Box). In one of its sides is a small hole which creates an image of the outside space on the opposite side of the box.

Pinhole Photography: Create one print, using a pinhole camera, depicting an object of personal interest.
Dimensions: One 5 x 7 print


1) Aim: your subject matter was captured because you aimed your pinhole in the right direction.

2) You considered the entire surface and picture plane; your background adds to the photograph because you considered its relationship to your subject matter.

3) Your emphasis point is not centered in the middle of the paper, allowing for more visual movement and interest.


1) You attempted to achieve a variety of values in the photo through your exposure--deep, rich blacks, bright whites, and various grays in between are demonstrated.

2) Focus: Your print is in focus, not blurred, because you steadied it while shooting (to avoid camera shake).

3) Craftsmanship: Your pinhole negative is well crafted with no smudges, stray glue marks, fingerprints or other marks shown on it.

Limitations: Only a pinhole camera may be used

Things to consider
How long of an exposure is needed (based on the current lighting conditions)?

Key Vocabulary
exposure: the time that light is allowed to enter the camera and touch the film (or paper)