Make a DIY Holga Pinhole iPhone Camera

Turn a smartphone or iphone into a pinhole / holga camera via

Kind of old and creepy looking right? I love it. I have an old Holga camera and I love it. I even have a Polaroid attachment (for the peel apart Polaroid film) for the back….the only problem is that the film gets so expensive. What is a Holga? It’s basically a toy camera that is known for it’s photo imperfections: the shadowy vignette, light leaks, distortion. Add in the grainy quality of a pinhole camera and you can get some pretty haunting photos. Chris Keeney has some great galleries of pinhole photos and Holga photos…..among other fascinating altered camera photos.

I made an easy little cover for my iPhone camera that gets a similar effect. All I used was a small piece of cardboard, tape and a sewing needle:

Supplies for pinhole / holga camera via

I poked a hole in the piece of cardboard:

How to make a pinhole / holga camera via

And taped the hole over the camera lens. I think it works best with a case on the phone because it adds some distance between the lens and the cardboard filter:

iPhone into pinhole / holga camera via

When you take the photo on your screen the hole will be small unless you zoom in. I think it’s easier to take the photo and then crop the photo afterwards. Here is a before and after screenshot from my iPhone:

Turn an iPhone into pinhole / holga camera via

Here’s one that Boo took of her Barbie horse:

Example of smartphone pinhole / holga camera via

A photo of the statue over my bathtub:

Haunting example of smartphone pinhole / holga camera via


Same statue, different angle and Instagram filter:

Add a lens filter to iphone or smartphone to make a pinhole / holga ca

Try it out!  Make sure to share you photo links with me in the comments so I can repin them. I’d love to see what you come up with!





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About Ashley Hackshaw

Living a simple, creative life in #smalltownusa Bryson City, NC. Renovating a 1960s ranch house and an old train depot. Thank you for reading! Read more in my about section. 


  1. 1
    Amber Eames says:

    Awesome idea! I don’t have a case on my phone, so I think I’ll either find thicker cardboard or build a little box. Totally doing this asap. Thanks! :D

  2. 2

    Cool! Thanks.

  3. 3

    Cool idea!! Won’t promise I’ll try it but I’ll share it!

  4. 4
    Heather says:

    This makes me want an iphone! Well… It makes me want one more than I already do! I’m gonna have to share this idea with my friends who DO have them though! :)

  5. 5

    Awesome! Btw, did you photoshop your cuticles this time?

  6. 6
    Michele says:

    This is fun! Immediately made one for my phone and went about snapping my kiddos! :)

  7. 7
    Melissa K. in Nebraska says:

    Neat! Is that Boo giving the baby a bottle? Such a lovely, almost haunting photo.

  8. 8

    Ashley, you are seriously the bomb! You have the most creative DIY projects around. I can’t wait to try this out. Thanks again!

  9. 9

    This is very creative. Can’t wait to try it. All the really cool and advanced technology for taking photos and you come up with a brilliant technique using simple thing we all have laying around the house. Very very impressive. I applaude you!!! <3

  10. 10

    I am going to try this on my iPad! Think it will work? Worth a try!

  11. 11

    This is awesome! Way easier than trying to find a Holga of my own. :-)

  12. 12

    Hey Ashley, I’ve been a sideline fan for awhile. A friend shared your website with me when my best friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer back in December. Thanks for being so open about your cancer journey. It even helps those of us who don’t have cancer but love someone who does. From the deepest places in my heart “Thank You”.

    As a photographer, I’ve been Holga Camera for many years. This idea for your phone camera is awesome. Thanks again for sharing.

    Blessings on your journey. I pray for you each day.

  13. 13

    Well I haven’t actually BEEN a Holga Camera, but I’ve been a fan of one! Gracious that sounded stupid.

  14. 14
    ira lee henson says:

    oh, cool. ill have to try

  15. 15

    Stumbled across this today and wondered if you had seen it…(ok, I can’t paste here, but you can search Holga Filter Lens Iphone Case at Urban Outfitters.)

    For some reason I can really see you having fun with that!

  16. 16

    I totally just tried this at work and LOVED how it turned out! :)

  17. 17
    Andrea J says:

    I hope I can create cool pics like you!! I have the exact same case as you, hope that helps!!

  18. 18
    Rebekah says:

    I tried this today while I was bored at work. haha. Our lighting is terrible, so it only sort of worked. But I’m excited to keep trying it! Thanks for the tip!


  1. […] around with pinhole cameras lately, and got the idea today to create a mod for my ipod camera.  Following advice from this blog post, I took a piece of cardboard, stuck a pin through it, and taped it to my camera to experiment. […]

  2. […] for a while now with Boo… introduce her to film photography.  I’ve shown her the iPhone method and when she was itty bitty I used to let her use my Holga camera with some spoiled Polaroid film I […]