Pinhole camera Lesson Brief

Making a Pinhole Camera

Lesson objective: In this two part series of lessons students will;

Part One

  • Research and document a range of pinhole camera designs
  • Decide on and draft their chosen camera design
  • Make a pinhole camera

Part Two

  • Produce a small body of themed photographic works.
Pinhole positive


  • Internet or hard copy access
  • Black paint + brushes
  • Aluminum foil
  • No 10 sewing needle
  • Black tape
  • Black cardboard or boxboard
  • PVA glue
  • 1/4 inch drill head + drill or awl
  • Metal or other type of ruler
  • Materials relevant to making camera based on researched design e.g., cans, boxes heavy box-board, black foam core or balsa-wood
lesson steps or sequence

Project Introduction

  • Discuss the history of the pinhole camera and its connection to the principle of the camera obscura.
  • Show students a range of production options and explain the material requirements of each.
  • Emphasise the importance of completely light-proofing the camera body during the production process.
  • Explain the relevant Work Health and Safety risks and procedures to adhere to.
Pinhole positive

Camera design and construction.

  • Based on your chosen design source and bring to class materials for your camera body.
  • Either (a) lightproof the interiors of cans or boxes with black paint ensuring complete coverage of the inner surface or (b) assemble pre-painted and cut balsa wood panels or (c) cut and assemble cut black foam core.
  • Check the stability of glued joints and seal all the outer joins with black tape and check for any light leaks for cameras assembled from balsa or foam core.
  • Using either a 1/4 inch drill bit or awl students with cameras made from cans cut an opening in the centre of the camera body.
  • Students with box cameras use a safety blade to cut a 1 inch square opening in the centre of the front panel.
  • Cut foil to fit over opening in camera body.
  • Pierce foil with No10 needle and fit foil to camera body.
  • Make and fit shutter to camera body.

Post production.

  • Check camera construction and complete checklist.
  • Your teacher checks camera against student checklist and verifies camera is ready to shoot.
Pinhole positive
Created By
Gary Poulton


clarewestphotography.co.uk hweeling.blogspot.com lilblueboo.com

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