Halloween Photography Tip: Creating Ghostlike Images

by Linda Eodice

Dennis Ghost 2
Dennis Ghost 2
© Linda Eodice
All Rights Reserved
To make a ghostly time-exposure study, you need dim lighting, a low ISO setting, and a small aperture setting. Mount your camera on a tripod and set your shutter speed to B or to a specific exposure time, like 5 to 10 seconds. Using a remote switch or cable release to lock the shutter open, take the first part of the exposure with your subject in the scene. Then cover the lens with a dark opaque material very briefly, like black cardboard or a dark hat, and have your model leave the scene. Remove the cover for the remainder of the exposure, and then close the shutter.

Be very careful not to move the camera when you cover the lens; this is why black cardboard or a hat is suggested instead of the lens cap. With a relatively long exposure of about 10 seconds or so, you can have your subject hold still for the first half, and then he/she can simply walk out of the scene for the rest of the exposure. The ghostlike image will remain, usually without a trace of movement. Experiment with varying exposure times to see what works best.

When creating ghostly images, remember that white or other light-colored clothing will appear less transparent than medium tones like skin. Black clothing will almost disappear – as is the case here – letting the background predominate.

Have fun, and happy Halloween!

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About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Linda Eodice
Photography Instructor: Linda EodiceThe author of Photos That Inspire, Lynne Eodice teaches a number of excellent online classes for BetterPhoto.com (see the current course listing below.) She is also the former Feature Editor for Petersen’s PHOTOgraphic.

A native of Southern California, Lynne was educated at Pasadena City College and Cal Poly Pomona. Her love of photography began after her husband gave her a 35mm SLR as an anniversary gift. She began her career as a feature writer & photographer for local newspapers that included Pasadena Weekly and The Herald Tribune.

Besides having articles and photos published regularly in PHOTOgraphic, she has contributed to Rangefinder, Digital Photographer and California Tour & Travel, as well as PHOTOgraphic’s Buyer’s Guide, Big Book of Photography and Family Photo magazines. Her images have appeared in a popular instructional book called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Photography, and she has marketed her stock photos through Index Stock Imagery in New York.

Lynne has exhibited her fine-art scenic photography at Kolb Studio and the visitor’s center at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, at Occidental College in Eagle Rock, California, and at venues throughout the San Gabriel Valley. In addition, she has taught many classes, seminars and workshops.

In the fall of 2007, she was honored as one of the Women Achievers in the San Gabriel Valley in Business Life magazine.

Lynne currently lives with her husband, Dennis and their dog, Chiquita in Altadena, California.