Understanding the Supernatural .
How to photograph a ghost
Learn basic ghost photography
Here are the must know facts that every ghost hunter should know when out on a ghostly photography shoot. There are many basics that all ghost photographers should be aware of in order to have the best possible chance of getting ghostly phenomena on film. My hope here is to furnish all of the essentials necessary to allow everyone the opportunity to capture their own great photos! Once you get that first great snapshot.....you're hooked!
Let's Get started...
The first thing you should realize is that ghost phenomena does not always show up on film, even when they are present. And daylight photos are always a challenge. Therefore it's always better to take your photos at night with a flash or in an area with subdued lighting for the best possible chance of capturing something..
Type of camera to use
Just about any camera will give you the desired photo results you seek. I'm seen great photos come from all types of camera's including simple disposable units. Now if you want the advantage of slow shutter exposure or fancy filters then you'll need a fancy camera to do it, but capturing ghost phenomena on film can be achieved by using just about any camera you might have. I also recommend using 400 film. It's an all purpose film that will work great in most conditions.
Digital Cameras are a great tool for ghost hunters too, but...
Digital cameras can be a great tool for ghost photographers! They allow you to see your photo results immediately. No film required! They only require a memory card or in some cases like mine, a floppy disk. The big advantage is, you will know right away if you have captured an anomaly, therefore allowing you to track it. There are drawbacks however. Digital cameras do not furnish a negative, therefore it's hard to prove your photos are not enhanced. A drawback indeed! So with that in mind, never depend totally on a digital camera for all your photos.... Use it as a tool to locate the anomalies, then have a buddy duplicate your photos with a regular film camera. This will document your findings with a negative as well as a hard copy photo.
There are other drawbacks that I am a bit reluctant to mention but I feel a responsibility to do so. First of all, I want to say that digital cameras are the best for capturing authentic ghostly orbs on film because of the technology used, (no doubt about it). But they are also notorious for producing them artificially from airborne particles at the time of the flash. These particles being dust, pollen, insects, and moisture (such as rain or snow), to name a few. Please note however that regular film cameras can also pick up these artificial orbs, but it is much more rare and they are always fewer in numbers. A general rule is to look for some substance within the orb structure for authenticity. Also avoid taking pictures in the above described conditions.
In conclusion, Let me reiterate what I suggested earlier. Take your digital camera along with you on your ghost hunts (as I always do) but also take along your 35 MM camera as well. It's best to use them as a team.
Here are twenty helpful tips
1. Ghosts are not just in haunted old buildings. Ghosts are almost everywhere in one form or another. So don't be afraid to take photos at the mall or out on a busy intersection at night, or anywhere else for that matter.
2. When you take photos at night, let's say in a cemetery, make sure you have you camera set for night filming. If your camera has this setting, please use it. Otherwise your photos might come out too dark or fuzzy.
3. Always take photos of something and not just a clearing. Having a background image such as a tombstone, tree, building etc., adds to the quality of the photo and allows mild light reflection and depth for judging distance.
4. Take lots of pictures! Takes photos of anything & everything with a good background image. The odds are good that you will capture an anomaly if you take at least 50 pictures on your hunt. Then again, you might just get some great stuff on your first roll, you just never know.
5. When taking your photos, make sure to avoid shiny or reflective surfaces. The shine from a glossy tombstone or pane of glass etc. can cause anomalies that can appear to look like ghost mist, fog & orb shapes. And never try taking photos through a glass window. It's just too easy to create shapes that aren't really there. Not worth wondering if it was created from the glass or not. Old glass is the worst.
6. Make sure your camera lens is clean at all times. Again, this can cause anomaly type images to appear. If the lens has a smudge it can easily show up on several pictures and can look like an anomaly, so look for that sign. Try to always keep your lens spotless.
7. Make sure you know where your camera strap & lens cover are at all times. These can appear as a vortex or other ghostly images if left to dangle free from the camera. If your thumb or finger is in the way of the lens it can cause this same effect.
8. Make sure long hair is tied back. Hair can also appear as a ghostly anomaly. Strains of hair can look like orbs in motion as well as ghost energy.
9. Completely avoid taking photos when conditions are windy, foggy, rainy, dusty and where it's snowing or when moisture is in the air. All of these conditions can cause images to appear that look exactly like orbs and ghostly anomalies. If you took one picture and there were no signs of activity, and the next is full of activity, there may be a logical explanation (i.e. you just sat down on that cushioned chair in the dusty basement).
10. In cold weather, make sure your breath is not affecting the photo results. Exhaled air in cold weather can appear in front of the lens to create all sorts of strange elusions including mist & orbs shapes.
11. A condition called "Lens Flair" produces strange effects in your photos. To avoid this do not take photos in the direction of the sun. Also, never take a picture in the direction of any direct light source. Preferably have all light sources away from you or even behind you when snapping your photos.
12. Talk to the ghosts. When you enter an area that you want to photograph, such as a cemetery, follow these steps: Walk around the area for about
15 minutes before doing anything else. As you're walking around, clear your mind and think only good thoughts. (It is often thought that ghosts can sense your feelings and read your thoughts). After 15 minutes, recite the following statement or something similar. "Hi, my name is ______. We have come here to take some pictures of you as ghosts in order to show & document that there is life after death. We have only the best of intentions. We are not here to do any harm and we will only be here long enough to take our photos and then we will leave. Our only request is to take a picture of you, any of you! Thank you so much. I'll begin taking pictures now......thanks!" It may feel silly, but if you get better results, why not? Take all the pictures you think you need to and start heading back to your car. On the way, stop one last time and say: "We are leaving now. Just in case I didn't get any pictures of you on film, I will take just 5 more pictures of this monument (or whatever) and would one of you mind posing for me in these very last photos?" Take five more photos and then say: "Thank you so much for putting up with me & my group. We enjoyed being here in your company and am grateful for any photos you have allowed us to have of you. Thanks again, bye." If you were able to get some good pictures and you proved your good intentions to the ghosts, then you will be welcomed back on your return visit.
13. Most ghost energy will appear in the air from two to ten feet above the ground. So focus a portion of your attention at that level but don't limit yourself totally to it. Ghostly phenomena can and will also appear above your head at times so be sure and snap some random shots up above at times. Note: in buildings they often appear at any level of the structure and at any height.
14. The odds of encountering an evil spirit are slim to none, but here is some advice concerning them. Don't go hunting for evil spirits and DO NOT dare them to come around. If you hear or see a sign of evil spirits you should leave immediately.
15. Avoid mirrors or even taking photos in the general direction of a mirror. The camera flash can create a flash in the mirror that can produce a variety of effects including vapor, mist & fog.
16. Try following your instincts when taking ghost photos. If you have a particular inclination to snap a photo in a particular direction or at a particular object, do it. Trust your feelings and as you do, your abilities to sense ghosts should increase.
17. Ghosts are quite often attracted to people and will follow them around. So include people in the photos you take. Tip: When taking photos of others try to include enough space to one side of the picture and above the heads of those in the photo to capture any anomalies present. Remember the purpose is to catch anomalies and people together in the same photo. Here's another trick to use when ghosts might be following you around - put the camera over your shoulder and snap a picture behind you. This can be an effective technique at times. Trust me.
18. The best time of the year for capturing ghost images on film are in the colder months when electrostatic energy is at it's highest. These months being October through February. You can capture any kind of ghost type on film at any time of the year but the above mentioned months just increase your odds. Orbs however, don't seem to be affected by seasons and are by far the easiest anomalies to capture on film.
19. Remember your flash limitations. A flash can only be useful for up to a certain distance. Normally within 15 feet. So if you are in a cemetery at night and take a picture of a mausoleum 30 feet away, the image will be hard to view and a bit washed out, as well as any anomalies present. Important note: The flash will help highlight the anomaly if the background image is within the the range (15 feet). Note: A flash attachment will increase your range if you desire to use one.
20. Best places to take pictures: Some places are more haunted than others. Some typically haunted locations are cemeteries, old buildings, including old hotels, houses, hospitals, schoolhouses, and churches. Other good spots are theaters as well as any historic part of a city. Use your imagination and see what works for you. Just remember the best rule of thumb is to include places that are rich in history on your investigations.
That's the basics in a nutshell. Study and know them well, and you will be well on your way to capturing strange phenomena on film in the near future. I might add, once you start seeing the fruits of your labor, you will be hooked! And life will no longer be the same for you as it was before. Ghost hunting is a great hobby and can be a truly fulfilling one as well. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors! Don't forget to check out your old photos and photo albums for ghost anomalies, especially at emotional "life" events, such as weddings, baptisms, etc. You might be pleasantly surprised at the ghost pictures you already have!