7 Tips for Creating Amazing Photos with a Holga Camera

By Karen Freer

Holga Cameras" rel="noopener noreferrer">Holga cameras are known for their unique plastic aesthetic and ability to produce quirky and unpredictable results. With the right techniques, you can use one of these cameras to create stunning photographs that stand out from the crowd. Here's a guide on how to make the most of your Holga camera. 


 

Embrace the unpredictability of the weather

 

The weather these days can be unpredictable at the best of times. However, when it comes to creating photos with a Holga camera, this unpredictability can work in your favour. The Holga's plastic lens and lack of precise controls mean that it can produce unexpected and interesting results when shooting in different lighting conditions. So don't be afraid to head out on a cloudy day or in the midst of a rain shower - you might just end up with some of your best shots.

 

@analoguewonderland AW HQ is closed for the day due to the crazy weather! Stay safe everyone! ❤️📸 #analoguewonderland #believeinfilm #35mm #stormeunice #filmphotography ♬ original sound - The Irish Connection

 

 


 

Experiment with different films

 

While many people associate Holgas with traditional black and white film, there are actually a wide range of films that can produce interesting results when used with a Holga film camera. From bright and bold colour films to experimental emulsions like dubblefilm’s latest 120 films, there are plenty of options to choose from. Try out different films to see which ones produce the effects that you like best.

dubblefilm and revolog 120 filmsrevolog 600nm | revolog 460nmdubblefilm Apollo | dubblefilm Bubblegum | dubblefilm Pacific

 

Make sure when you are buying film for your Holga camera that you pick the right format - 120 film is the native format for most Holgas, but you can use 35mm if you tape up the window in the back of the camera to prevent light leaks and use an adapter for 35mm to 120 conversion.

Back of holga taped up so you can use a 35mm roll without light leaks

 


 

 Play with shapes and patterns in the frame

 

When framing your shot with a Holga camera, it's a good idea to make use of strong shapes and patterns in the frame. This can help to create interesting compositions or abstract images on a whim. You can find shapes and patterns in everything from brick walls to foliage - experiment with both natural and man-made elements. 

Holga Wide Pinhole Sample Image
Taken with the Holga Wide Pinhole Camera

 


 

Try off-camera lighting effects for stunning photos

 

Adding extra lighting with a flashgun can add creative depth to your Holga shots. Off-camera lighting allows you to craft unique images and add detail and contrast to your creative compositions. You can sync different flashes, use gels for colour tints, and experiment with multiple lights for larger effects. With this technique, the possibilities are almost endless - so have fun and play around!

 


 

Play with double exposures

 

One of the most fun things about Holga cameras is their ability to produce double exposures. This technique involves exposing the same frame of film twice, resulting in a layered, dreamlike image. To create double exposures with a Holga camera, simply take a shot, wind the film back to the beginning, and take another shot on top of the first. This technique can produce some really unique and interesting results, so don't be afraid to experiment.


(c) Emma Lloyd

  


 

Get up close and personal

 

The Holga's plastic lens produces a soft, dreamy effect that can be particularly effective when shooting close-up subjects. Try experimenting with macro photography by getting up close and personal with your subjects. You might be surprised by the details that are revealed when shooting with a Holga camera.

 


 

Don't worry about being perfect

 

Finally, it's important to remember that Holga cameras are all about embracing imperfection. These cameras are known for producing images with vignetting, light leaks, and other flaws that can actually add to the overall effect of the photo. So don't worry too much about getting everything perfectly in focus or perfectly exposed - sometimes the imperfections are what make the photo truly amazing.

pink tree taken with a holga camera(c) Paul McKay

 


  

Conclusion: Tips for Creating Amazing Photos with a Holga Camera

 

In conclusion, creating amazing photos with a Holga camera can be a fun and rewarding experience. By embracing the unpredictability of the weather, experimenting with different films, playing with double exposures, getting up close and personal, and embracing imperfection, you can produce images that are truly unique and memorable. So grab your Holga camera and start shooting - you never know what amazing photos you might create, and in October you can celebrate Holga Week with the community.

 

@analoguewonderland #holgaweek photowalk with London camera project! What a brilliant day celebrating these fun and quirky cameras! 😊🎞️ #holga #photowalk #believeinfilm #filmcommunity #120 #shootfilm #analoguetok #filmtok #londoncameraproject #sheheartsfilm #analoguewonderland ♬ All I Want Is You - Disco Lines

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Ready to dive in?

Keep Reading

View all
Pentax 17 Camera Review: A Modern Wonder

Pentax 17 Camera Review: A Modern Wonder

The Pentax 17 film camera has arrived! I've been lucky enough to be involved in the testing of the camera, and can now share my experience. How does the camera feel in my hand, what do its different settings mean, how does it perform in different lighting situations, and what are the results with different films? I’ve put thorough multiple rolls and taken literally hundreds of sample photos with the Pentax 17 so we have lots of images to learn from. Let’s get started!
Summer of Phoenix - A Holiday in Greece

Summer of Phoenix: A Holiday in Greece

I spent last week on the Greek coast - the southern tip of the Peloponnese to be exact - and took the opportunity to shoot some Harman Phoenix 35mm film! While it was brilliant fun to test it through the dark winter days when it first launched in December 2023, I've been waiting to see it shine in the sun.
Vintage stereoscopic cameras, Sputnik and Stereo Graphic, displayed with an antique stereoscope in the foreground.

A Glimpse into Stereoscopy: Two Views, One Camera

Stereoscopy, stereoview, stereoscope, lenticular, anaglyph, beam splitter, parallel view, sequential view... it's time to explore the world of stereoscopic photography!  In celebration of International Stereoscopy Day on the 21st of June, we asked our resident stereoscopy enthusiast and ambassador, Tom Warland, to share his insights and journey with this creative form of photography.