Ghosts (or Long Exposure Photography)

One of the photographic techniques that we explored at the club meeting in November, was to create some ‘ghostly’ images using long exposures. These are the tips on creating those images.


To create this effect, you need an environment that can be made relatively dark to allow exposure times in excess of 10 seconds.

With your camera on a tripod and any lights on, focus the camera as you would normally. Then without changing anything, switch the camera lens to manual focus. This is normally a switch on the lens body labelled AF or MF. If it is too dark to get the camera to focus lock, estimate the distance to the subject and with your lens in manual focus (MF) mode, and use the distance scale on the lens.

Next, switch the camera to manual mode (usually M on the top dial) and setup your camera initially to f8, 15secs exposure and ISO 100. If you intend to be the subject of your picture, you will also need to set your timer to an appropriate delay (most cameras have 2 or 10 sec delay).

Having set up your camera, you can now switch the light off.

Fire the camera and have the subject stand in the picture for about half the exposure time. What you should get is a ghostly image where you can see the background through the subject. Adjust the camera settings (suggest you vary the shutter speed first) and time that the subject in in frame until you get the image you want. It’s about experimenting with the conditions you have.

To vary this technique, try putting a white sheet over the subject and have them switch on a torch for a few seconds, if they also keep moving the sheet, you get an image like this.


Have a look on the internet for long exposure photography for lots of ideas to try.

Variations on this theme can also produce some stunningly beautiful images take a look at these websites for some amazing pictures.