This article was written with Jordin Hopkins.
Have you ever wanted to take pictures but don’t have the money to buy a camera? Well, there’s a way to take pictures on a budget. In Stacey Gross’s photography class, students learn how to take pictures with nothing but a metal can and the sun.
So what exactly makes the best picture from a pinhole camera?
“Technique is very important because the process is so simplistic. This is where tone, focus, and sharpness goes beyond a normal camera. Students then are able exploit the creative process to create their favorite image,” said Gross.
Pinhole cameras can be created with a basic light tight item, such as a metal can. A hole is drilled somewhere in the soon-to-be camera and is then covered by a piece of tin foil, which will be poked to create an even smaller hole. This procedure allows the sunlight to come into the camera, projecting the image onto the photo paper placed inside.
The best time to take a picture with a pinhole camera is in direct sunlight without any shade. When there is not as much sunlight as one would like, it does not mess anything up with the picture-taking process. Less sunlight just requires a longer exposure time.
After the camera has been exposed to the sun for the proper length of time, it is taken to the darkroom. The darkroom is a room where there is nothing but a little red light and pure blackness. This is needed for the process of developing the image. If the photo paper is taken out into the light, the image will go completely black because it did not go through the proper procedures beforehand. The photo paper must go through a toner, fixer, and a bath which is plain water. After these steps are completed, the image in the photo becomes permanent.