Pinhole Photography: Developing the Darkroom Photo

It’s been a while since I talked about Pinhole Photography! This post covers how to develop pinhole photos using the black and white photo paper. (You can find the entire series here.)

Boo’s photos that she’s taken with a pinhole camera are some of my favorite ever. They almost remind me of Sally Mann’s work.

Pinhole self-portrait:

selfieboo

A photo Boo took of her horses:

boohorsephoto

There are two posts that led up to this post:

1. Building a Wide-Angle Pinhole Camera

 

A DIY Coffee Can Pinhole Camera (Wide Angle) via lilblueboo.com #pinhole #diy #tutorial #photography

 

2. How to Load and Take a Photo with the Pinhole Camera

Boophotos4

 

So once the photo paper has been exposed how do you develop it?  Here’s an overview of darkroom supplies needed(click image to download the printable version):

Printable Basic Dark Room Supply List (Pinhole Camera Series) via lilblueboo.com  #pinhole #pinholephotography #photography #exposure #darkroom

 

Darkroom supplies you can find them at the below links. You’ll be able to use them over and over again (except for the photo paper):

Supply & Source Links: (all of the dark room materials and film paper will run you about $85.00)

A bathroom or laundry room without light
A small desk lamp


Film:
Foma Fomaspeed Variant III VC RC Paper 5×7/25 Sheets

Dark Room Supplies:
11W Red Safelight Bulb
Three 5×7″ Developing Trays
Developer
Stop Bath
Fixer
Filter Funnel
Print Tongs
Datatainers for Storing Chemicals

 

At this stage you’ve carefully loaded the black and white photo paper into the pinhole camera and opened the shutter to expose the paper. The most important thing here is to WAIT until you are back in your dark room set-up to remove the paper. If you open up your camera and remove the paper without using the safelight in a dark room you will ruin the photo!

This is our easy setup in a hall bathroom:
_MG_0343

darkroom1

This works great because the materials easily pack up into a box for storage and we can bring them back out again when needed:

darkroommaterials

The most important part of the setup is that there’s no light coming through into the room. This is why we use a safelight. (I also put towels around the bottom of the door where light leaked in.) I just replaced the bulb in a desk lamp with the 11W Red Safelight Bulb:

11wsafelight

And then basically we have three trays:

_MG_0181

And three kinds of chemicals: Developer, Stop Bath and Fixer

chemicals

And three containers for the mixing chemicals (ratios for mixing will be on each bag of chemicals):

darkroom-chemicals

Once all your chemicals are mixed you’ll put a small amount in each tray, enough to cover the photo paper when it’s dipped down into the solution. Keep the trays in the following order:

trayorder

 

Now:
Close the door to the dark room.
TURN OFF THE LIGHT.
ONLY THE RED LIGHT SHOULD BE ON.

Carefully remove the photo paper from the pinhole camera and dip it down into the first tray. And follow the following directions:

development

While the lights are out you might as well reload the pinhole camera for another round of photos! Once the paper has gone through the fixer in tray #3 you can turn on the light to rinse under warm water. Boo getting ready to transfer her photo to the sink for rinsing:

development2

 

This is what the photos will look like at this point. They are still in their negative form:

negativephotos

There is a whole process for creating the final print where you take the negative and put it together with another piece of photo paper and expose it. I will cover it at some point but for now I am going to show you the digital process for creating the final print. I scan the negative into a photo editing program like Adobe Photoshop Elements or iPhoto and then invert the image:

invertingimage

A sample photo with their negative:

pinholeselfie

 

Hope all of that is straight forward enough. Let me know if you have any questions.

P.S. I created this handy little guide sheet to help with the development stage. Click here to download the PDF or click the image below:

smalldarkroomdirections

 


 

The whole series is indexed here:

 

 

A Frozen Winter Birthday Party and Free Printables

She’s 7! Here is my last minute “winter” party we put together for Boo’s birthday last weekend. It turned out better than I thought it would for the late start I got!

The background I made using burlap. The snowflakes I cut out of a large roll of drawing paper….as well as the popsicle stick snowflakes:

A Frozen Winter Birthday Party Free Printables with Snowflakes and Snowmen in Turquoise, Light Blue, Grey and White via Ashley Hackshaw / lilblueboo.com #frozen

 

She’s so big!

The Birthday Girl: A Frozen Winter Birthday Party with Snowflakes and Snowmen in Turquoise, Light Blue, Grey and White via Ashley Hackshaw / lilblueboo.com #frozen

 

Photo of the party table:

Desert Table: A Frozen Winter Birthday Party with Snowflakes and Snowmen in Turquoise, Light Blue, Grey and White via Ashley Hackshaw / lilblueboo.com #frozen

 

I made the t-shirts at the last minute…Mr. LBB is always a good sport wearing his: [Read more…]

January Photo Challenge

Happy New Year! A little creative photo challenge for this month to keep the holiday creativity going.  Each day take a photo using Instagram that you think best signifies the word of the day.  At the end of the month I’ll round up my favorite from each day into a photo collage.  Can’t wait to see what you snap! Make sure to tag me @lilblueboo on Instagram so that I get a notification that you posted a photo (I can only see them if you have a public account, so you can upload just a single photo on Twitter or the Lil Blue Boo Facebook page too if you have a private account).

If you miss a day or only want to participate in just a few days that’s awesome too.  I’m easy.

Instagram Photo Challenge Lil Blue Boo

 

 

You can download the challenge printable here:

 

LBB Photo A Day Challenge for January - Free Download! via lilblueboo.com

This isn’t my only post for the day either…still wrapping the next one up for this evening.

Instant Photo Booth Printer Hack

Instant Photo Booth Printer Hack via lilblueboo.com

 

I thought this would be a fun  idea for a holiday party or birthday party….an instant photo booth set up to print the photos immediately.  I use the photo booth app Pocketbooth for my 4-photo snaps.

 

Pocketbooth app via lilblueboo.com

First I take the 4 photos. Anyone else get unnecessary anxiety in photo booths?

 

Photo booth app via lilblueboo.com

 

To maximize paper I cut 2.5″ wide pieces of cardstock.  I used popsicle sticks as the new tray guides because most printer trays do not shrink small enough.  The strips of paper slide right in to their new tray: [Read more…]

Pinhole Photography: Taking a Photo (Exposure Times)

Ok sorry it took me a little while to get to the second post in this series….I took some time off for our vacation. Back to the wide-angle pinhole camera! (click here for the first overview and assembly post ) By now you should have your pinhole camera made and your dark room supplies ordered.  It’s time to take some photos! If you are just stumbling on this post you can find the series from start to finish at the below link:

Your pinhole camera is ready to go!

A DIY Coffee Can Pinhole Camera (Wide Angle) via lilblueboo.com #pinhole #diy #tutorial #photography

For this type of pinhole camera, instead of 35mm film, you’ll be using B&W photo paper (see the source list at the bottom of the post). I find this much easier and more fun than film. With 35mm film you have to enlarge the negatives….with photo paper you have an instant 5×7 sized negative. There’s one more step to reversing the negative in the darkroom, but you can also scan your negative into your computer and then “invert it” using Photoshop. This is also a great step if you need to tweak contrast or lighting slightly to see your image better.

Once you have your B&W photo paper you can load the camera! Make sure not to open your packet of paper until you are in the darkroom or you will expose it. It is LIGHT SENSITIVE.  (Note: I’m loading the paper in the light below just so you can see it….but this must be done in the darkroom!)

Take a piece of photo paper and place it into the camera as shown. The slightly glossy/smooth side is the side that is light sensitive. Make sure that side is centered facing the pinhole. (The glossy texture will wash away in the dark room trays.)

Make sure your shutter is closed before leaving the dark room!

Loading B&W photo paper into a pinhole camera via lilblueboo.com #pinhole #diy #tutorial #wideangle #photography

The paper works the best in bright sunlight. Take the camera outdoors and set up the camera facing your subject. Open the shutter to allow light to enter the can and expose the image.  Then make sure your shutter is CLOSED completely.  Don’t open the shutter again until you have the can in the dark room again.
How the pinhole camera works via lilblueboo.com #pinhole #pinholephotography #photography #darkroom

You’ll have to experiment with exposure times as you start out….but then you’ll get a feel for it. (which is why I recommend multiple cameras….number them so that you can keep track of how long you leave the shutter open for later  comparison)

 

 

Here’s a little chart I made that might help as a starting point for exposure times.  [Read more…]

Pinhole Photography: Making A Wide Angle Pinhole Camera

Pinhole Photography: Making A Wide Angle Pinhole Camera via lilblueboo.com #photography #darkroom #pinhole #pinholecamera

I’ve been teaching Boo about traditional photography.  We did the film thing….now for the photographic paper and dark room process. I’ve used oatmeal box cameras in the past but I think it’s a much faster process with a metal can….so I’ve substituted with coffee cans and paint cans now. It’s actually really easy to create a temporary mini darkroom in a spare bathroom or a small closet. See the bottom of the post for the complete supply source list.

Note: If you think it’s something you or your kid will really enjoy doing…..I recommend making multiple cameras….out of different size cans.  I used to lug over 10 cans around in a box because then I could take 10 photos at one location without having to worry about reloading film paper until I get home.  Then you can experiment with exposure times.  Number the cans so you can make notes and compare.

 

The cool thing about the cameras I’m making in this post is that because of the curved shape…..they are the same as a wide angle lens.

A self portrait by Boo with her American Girl dolls:

Pinhole Photos via lilblueboo.com #photography #darkroom #pinhole #pinholecamera

A photo of Boo’s toy horses:

pinhole photographers

Driftwood:

pinhole photo gallery

The B&W paper produces a negative.  I usually scan it into Photoshop (or any photo program) and invert the image to produce the print.  I will also be doing a post about making the actual prints from the negative. It’s just involves an additional processing step in the darkroom:

Using photographic paper as film

Developing her photos:

Developing and Printing Pinhole Photos via lilblueboo.com #photography #darkroom #pinhole #pinholecamera

 

To make your pinhole camera you will need a metal coffee can or paint can. It’s nice to make more than one camera because you can reload and develop film paper in batches in your dark room:

making a pinhole camera for kids

 

Other supplies you’ll need:

Black Spraypaint (flat/matte)
Wood Clothespin
A few small sewing needles
Super fine sandpaper or a fine nail file
A sheet of card stock
A small strip of cardboard (like from a flat mailer)
Electrical tape
A piece of black construction paper
Black Sharpie Marker

[Read more…]