Digitizing Pinhole Camera Shots

One of the great things about doing photography in the digital realm is that you can repurpose a lot of photographic work that in the past would have probably just ended up in the recycle bin. So, here's a great opportunity for you to take those great pinhole camera shots you made earlier this semester and turn them into some fantastic digital photo art. Oh, and along the way, you'll be learning some basic skills in Photoshop, too.

Here are the directions. Please follow them carefully and take note because you'll be using many of these same techniques for other projects that require Photoshop. Capisce?

1) Open Photoshop. Most computers will have the app on the dock, but if it isn't there use the spotlight tool in the upper right-hand corner of the desktop to search for it. Once open, you can right-click on the icon on the dock and ask that it stay on the dock.

2) Open your pinhole camera file. On the top menu, click FILE > OPEN and then using the finder window, search for your pinhole camera file. Once you've found it, select it and click on OPEN.

3) Duplicating the original. This is very important and something you should do each time you begin to work on a new document: Go to IMAGE > DUPLICATE and then enter a name for the new copy that makes sense. Once you click OK, you'll have two copies on screen. Close the ORIGINAL by clicking on the original file and then clicking on the circled X in the file tab along the top OR by going to FILE > CLOSE. 

4) Work on the copy. Now that you have a copy, you can work on it without fear that you'll ruin the original file incase you need to restart. Once the file opens you'll see that it's a compilation of all your pinhole shots rather than individual photos. If you have four individual photos on your master file, duplicate this file three times so that you'll have one copy for each of the individual pinhole shots.

5) Use the cropping tool. Select the cropping tool and look along the top palette and make sure that nothing is in the WIDTH or HEIGHT boxes, but you may add 300 to the RESOLUTION box. Then, click and drag over ONE of the pinhole shots. Once you're happy with the selection, click the ENTER or RETURN key and everything except your selected shot should disappear. Repeat this on the other copies until you have one file for each pinhole shot.

6) Saving your images. You should save these images as .PSD (Photoshop Document) files at this point. Name them something logical such as Pinhole_1, Pinhole_2, etc. so you don't get them mixed up. When you save them, put them in a unique folder on the desktop or in the documents folder. You could simply save them back into the Pinhole Camera folder that was created on your desktop earlier.

7) Manipulating your images. Choose one of the images and duplicate it. This time name the copy something like Pinhole_1 Creative so that you'll know this is the one that you're manipulating.

8) Confirm file type. Go to IMAGE > MODE and select RGB if it isn't already selected. Save and continue.

9) Start creating. Click on LAYER > DUPLICATE LAYER. Look at the layer palette. Do you see that there are now TWO layers? Notice the little eye balls. If you click on an eye ball and turn it off, you can't see that layer. If you click on the layer itself in the palette, then you can work on that layer without affecting any other layer. This will become very useful later on.

10) Get creative. Select the top layer and click the eye ball off on the bottom layer. Now choose FILTER > FILTER GALLERY. In this window you can try out several of Photoshops filters on the entire photo. If you want to apply these filters to just part of the photo, you'll need to go back and use the select tool or lasso and then come back to the gallery. At this point, it's fine to experiment and have some fun! Save and duplicate more layers if you want to add multiple effects.

BONUS. Check out these additional tutorials on colorizing a black and white photo…

And check out this TED talk about how much impact photo-retouching can have…

[ted id=1532]