Nicole Small | One on One

A Light Proof Box / Pinhole Photography (Part 6)

A Light Proof Box / Pinhole Photography (Part 6)

Previous posts:

    – A Light Proof Box / Pinhole Photography (Part 1)

   – A Light Proof Box / Pinhole Photography (Part 2)

   – A Light Proof Box / Pinhole Photography (Part 3)

   – A Light Proof Box / Pinhole Photography (Part 4)

                                                                – A Light Proof Box / Pinhole Photography (Part 5)


Welcome to part 6 of my pinhole series. Today I am going to talk a little about the use of film and paper in pinhole photography. There are both advantages and disadvantages in using both and at the same time they both have their own personalities. This is not about saying how one is better than the other, this is simply to show the options one would have in using either one and also some of my own conclusions I have come to through my own personal experiences.


What are the advantages of using film when we compare this to paper?

  1. Exposure times are more reasonable than that of paper which gives more flexibility and more options especially when we compare the ISO of paper which is rated between 4-8.
  2. Working with film gives you the option of working with more than one type of film in both color and black and white.
  3. If you are a darkroom enthusiast, you would have the option of making your own enlargements to a desired size.


In my experience the downfall I have found in using film, especially if you are working with large format such as 4×5 or 8×10, ( which is in my case), is the cost of film and the amount of chemicals needed per run. Mind you those reasons are not why I prefer paper over film, in my eyes there just is a difference that I love. This is not to say that I do not like to use film, I love to use film especially when you know it would be the better option in a given situation.



                                     Ilford Paper Pearl                                        Kodak TMAX 100


The above images may not be a great visual comparison, (if you really want to look at this from a technical standpoint), as they were photographed on different days and each had a different light set up. Regardless, I think you can see a difference between the two. In regards to exposure times, Ilford’s paper was exposed for 6 minutes and Kodak’s T-Max 100 was exposed with only a 45 second exposure.

It is obvious that paper has a lot more disadvantages than film having a lot less flexibility and having a lot less options. But in the end, it all comes down to personal preference.

However, there is one thing that I would like to share. Working with paper, is NOT easy. I have read this on the internet in many articles. I am not sure who defined using paper as novice and easy because through my experiences that has not been the case. Maybe it is partly because I have chosen to work with it in a more difficult way which is indoors with a set of hot lights along side a working ISO of 6, or maybe I am just a sucker for punishment! Most of my self-portraits have been in the range of 3 1/2 -13 minute exposures.


Distance from the light, strength of the light, light placement, time, the pinhole cameras f/stop and composition are all the things that I have to consider and it is not always easy.

What is your preference, paper or film?


Still to follow: A Light Proof Box/Pinhole Photography (Part 7)






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