Ghost photography technique tutorial

By Ian Middleton

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How to turn yourself into a ghost

Ghost photography technique tutorial - In just one shot

That’s right, you read correctly. In this tutorial I’m going to show you a great ghost photography technique and how to make yourself into a ghost in just one exposure. No double exposures, no exposure blending, and no Photoshop or editing tricks; just one photo.

What you need

You’ll need to set your camera up on a tripod, and also set your camera to the 10 second timer mode. Set your composition and take a test shot with yourself in place.

When and how to shoot

You are going to need a 30-second exposure, so ideally its best to shoot close to dusk, or in low light. Set your aperture to F16 and the ISO as low as possible. If that isn’t enough, use an ND filter to stop down the light in order to get the 30 seconds you need.

What to do

The trick is to stand in place in the photo for about 15-20 seconds, then run out of the frame very quickly. A camera draws a picture using light, so in long exposures it’s capturing the scene, and with you in it. But when you remove yourself from the scene during the exposure the camera starts drawing what is behind you, and slowly begins to erase you. But, if it’s towards the end of the exposure, it’s not enough time to draw over you completely, so you become opaque.

Keep still, then move out quickly

It’s important to keep as still as possible, because it’s a long exposure and will capture any movement. But when you leave the shot, you must do it very quickly. In other words, run….

The reason for this is that if you move slowly, the camera is likely to capture some of that movement and you’ll end up with motion blur. But because it’s such a long exposure, anything moving fast through a scene will not be captured, because it’s too fast for the exposure.

Contrast issues

Obviously because you will be opaque and part of the background will be visible through you, if the colour of your clothes closely match the background colour then you may blend too much with the background. So try to think ahead and wear something light against a dark background, or vice versa.

Also, this effect works best in a misty scene, so try to do it on a misty evening or morning.

So there you have it, a great ghost photography technique tutorial – Make yourself a into a ghost in just one shot. In the following video I demonstrate all of this:

Ghost photography technique tutorial - Make yourself a ghost -Ghost looking at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Additionally, you can do a double exposure

See more here in my video.

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All the camera functions and their effects explained.

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SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER AND GET
25% OFF MY PRINTS & A FREE EBOOK

Subscribe and receive my regular newsletter to get the latest information about my workshops, new tutorials, videos, new photos and more.

All new subscribers get an exclusive 25% discount code off prints of my photos from my online shop plus a free download of my ebook: A Practical Guide to Photography. Code and download link will be emailed to you upon successful signup

I don’t spam! Read my privacy policy for more info.

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Disclosure:

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