How to turn yourself into a ghost
In just one shot
That’s right, you read correctly. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to turn 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.
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, how to turn yourself into a ghost in just one shot.
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