Studio portraits with pinhole camera

The time is running fast. Day by day passes in a flash. And it’s okay. Despite this, there is still plenty of time for getting back to old experiments or tests. Especially now when my commercial photography in on hold and Darkroom Service slowed down drastically as well.

So here we go - Studio portraits made with a large format pinhole camera - 4x5, focal length equivalent 65mm, f 191.

It was not my first approach. A few months ago, I set a studio backdrop in my living room (the only suitable space) and wanted to try pinhole portraits with standard Speedlight. I didn’t use negative film. To make it more challenging, I decided to load holders with Direct Positive Paper, my favourite photographic material. Rated now at ISO 6… That was one of the main objectives. After a few tests, I realised that I was going nowhere and I felt no need to continue further tests. 

Last weekend I decided to come back to it. This time, however, I did it in a slightly different way. I wanted to use available/natural light which is my preferred one in almost every occasion. 

I have large windows facing east in my living room and light in the morning and early afternoon is lovely there. I spent some time on Sunday noon reorganising the space, moving furniture and setting backdrop again. Loaded a few holders with paper and set the camera on a tripod. 

Now, who I was going to photograph? After measuring the light and exposure time, I realised that there is only one person who can handle it - me ;) Why? Exposure time was 15-20minutes (!) I know, sounds hilarious, but everything is doable. 

Two options for the portrait… self-portrait actualy. One sitting and one standing. And of course, there is always something new to learn. In standing portrait, I was using upper pinhole, which usually is perfect when photographing taller buildings. Space itself was relatively small, and I was just in front of the camera so I thought it would be a good option. It wasn’t.  It spoiled composition. 

Next portrait - sitting. Central pinhole. Much better but I wasn’t there yet. 

I needed something different, something more interesting, better light and first of all, better set. Next day I started much earlier. 9 am. 

At this time of the day in the sunny morning, with blinds down and half-open, the light operates wonderfully, drawing beautiful shadows on the wall. Quick change of plans - no backdrop. The exposure time was so much better. Only 1min, more or less. I also needed less than half of the space compared to the day before with a backdrop.  

Finally, I am pleased with the results. 

Thank you!

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