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Photographing Through Openings

Updated on September 28, 2013
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Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

Through the holes photography sounds funny but it's actually one of the many photographic techniques which one can pursue in the never ending world of photography.

The technique is actually quite simple to do with the main piece of material needed being something as simple as a board with several marble or quarter sized holes drilled into it, a camera and a lens capable of being manually focused since auto focus will not work.

The objective is also as simple as the materials used. You seek colorful or interesting subjects and record their photograph through the holed material, that's it. But off course this is easier said than done. The good thing is that any opening will do and it can be in any shape; the "holes" do not have to be round.

You first have to manually focus the lens to ensure that parts of the subjects are seen through the many holes, carefully compose the image to make something that resembles the old "connect the dots" kid's game. You also have to make sure that the lens encompasses the image that is within the holed surface but nothing outside of it.

The secret if you want to call it that, is to place the holed material close to the lens but within the lens's focusing capabilities while at the same time allowing you to focus on the subject beyond the holed frame. Imagine having a piece of cardboard, opening a hole through it, getting your eye close to the hole and looking past it into something; same principle as this project.

The resulting images will look out of place or will not give the impression of being a subject at all when seen up close, only when stepping back and looking at "the bigger picture" will the outline and the subject will become recognizable.

The presentation composition is to enlarge the images enough so that an audience can appreciate it from some distance away. If you want to see the technique get a newspaper, locate any image and take a magnifying glass and look closely at the image, once you start seeing the many dots that are what actually make up the image it represents this technique but in reverse order.

The material unto which you will drill the holes should either be black or white since you do not want it to serve as a distraction to the image that's in the foreground. Alternatively you can select dull images or those that lack a strong color and use a holed surface with a strong color.

The size of the material where the holes are drilled has several variations; you can use one large enough to cover the entire subject or it can be as small as one that fit directly on the lens; as if a filter.

Whichever size you use you will have to try various designs to locate one that fits your preferences. The holes should be cleanly drilled and spaced at regular intervals such a concentric circles or in a square pattern, random holes do not work as well.

You can or should arrange a support to hold the holed material in front of the camera at a specific distance and this will also take some practice.

Another variation is to place the drilled material directly on top or in front of the subject and photograph it as is with the portions of the subject seen through the holes being your main focusing points.

This technique is overall not one often used and there are not many photographic samples available so this is still a fresh area to explore. One of the few sites that features similar samples can be found at

This project is an easy one to do with kids or anyone who is just learning photography since among the benefits is that it brings perspective and depth of field into a better understanding.

© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      PhotoTljn7: Thank you

    • PhotoTljn7 profile image

      PhotoTljn7 6 years ago from United States

      Luis, I really enjoyed reading this article. Thank you for telling us about this emerging photography technique.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      randomcreative: Thank you,yes this technique offer a different way of looking a things

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Such a great topic! The perspectives that you can get using this technique are amazing. I love the last example, looking out at the city from the water.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      FloraBreenRobinson:You're right it sort of similar

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      This reminds me of those posts where people stick their heads through the holes so that they can get their pictures taken "in costume"-of course in hole photography, the face isn't put through the hole.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Hyphenbird: Thank you, part of becoming a good photographer is to see possibilities where they are least expected

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Jenna Pope: Thank you, glad you liked it

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      This is so cool Luis. Only recently I did this very thing. A group of boy scouts was flying paper airplanes and I took a photo through the circular hole of a cigarette bin. It looks amazing! I will try this with many holes. Thank you!

    • Jenna Pope profile image

      Jenna Pope 6 years ago from Southern California

      Very interesting and unique!