Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ghostly effect using slow shutter speed

Do you believe in ghosts?


When you use a slow shutter speed light is recorded slowly. This is a great opportunity to get creative! You can use this simple technique to create a "ghostly" image, and after you master it you can use it for all sorts of artistic photography. The only limit is your imagination!


You will need:

  • Your camera, mounted on a tripod or set on something very steady.
  • A low-light setting in which to take the photo (if there's too much light, its difficult to get the shutter speeds low enough for this to work.) I did mine in the evening as the sun was setting.
  • A person (you can use yourself, but it'll require some running around).

Camera Settings:

  • Turn your flash off.
  • Put your camera in Shutter Speed Priority mode. (In this mode, you can choose the shutter speed, but the camera will do the rest so the photo will come out properly exposed, etc.)
  • Set the time for 10 seconds if you can. If your camera indicates that 10 seconds is too long, make sure your ISO is at 100. If it can go lower, set it lower. If not, reduce the time to the lowest it'll allow.

Taking the photo:

This will require a little trial and error to get the timing right, but the following should get you most of the way there:

  • If you are using another person as your subject, have them get in place.
  • When you're ready to take the photo, click the shutter. And yell "Start" (or some other agreed upon word).
  • Your subject will need to be completely still for 5 seconds. Either have them do the countdown in their head, or you can do it and yell out to them when the time's up... whatever.
  • At the end of the 5 seconds, have the subject run out of the frame as fast as possible. -It's best to run at a right angle to the camera (either to the left or right of the camera, but not towards it).
  • 5 more seconds will pass, then you'll hear the shutter close and you're done.
  • Check the results, you may need to try again and either decrease or increase the amount of time the subject stays in the shot. The more time they are there, the more "solid" they will look.
  • If you are taking a photo of yourself, just click the shutter, run into the shot and take position as fast as possible, then do your count, and run out. You'll basically need to get into position in about 2.5sec, stay for 5 sec, then run out of the frame in 2.5sec.


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Kiera Cameron said...

I thank you very much for the information. This will likely help me get extra credit in my photography class. My teacher was of no help, but you were. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. Teachers aren't helpful at all. THANK GOD FOR THIS!!!

Unknown said...

For self portrait type shots - when you want to be the "ghost" - you should be able to use the timer on your camera, giving you time to get into the shot before the shutter opens. Have fun!

Unknown said...

I did exactly what was advised and it did NOT work. I will keep practicing, but will look for another tutorial or blog.