Here's a few basic tips and suggestions when you decide you'd like to photograph the paranormal. Before you begin with the tips below, there are a few things you should keep in mind regarding trying to capture spirits.
First and foremost, you have to learn how to use your camera perfectly. Remember, what's the point of finally gets undeniable proof of paranormal phenomenon if your pictures are blurry, improperly exposed or just plain don't turn out?
Skeptics and believers alike will eat you up and spit you out if they can deny or at least find fault with your picture. If there can be an alternate explanation to what you've captured then people tend to gravitate towards that explanation. Learn not only how to take pictures efficiently and properly, but do so while avoiding pitfalls such as lens flare, out of focus dust particles, blurry shots, under exposure that could lead to possible matrixing, the act of turning random features into seeing something more than what is really there, and so many other issues, we as paranormal photographers face.
Learn every feature of your camera before you use it in the field and learn proper photography techniques. It will pay off in the long run.
It's interesting when you look up information on ghost photography on the internet. There's actually a wide range of information. What you can and can't use, what works and what doesn't, you have to wonder what information you should just ignore or filter out (pun intended). Once you learn how to use your camera, however you can't really go wrong. It's about paying attention to your setup, what kind of issues you might face in the field and anything else that might impede proper photography techniques.
Let's start. The first question is film or digital. Some ghost photography websites seem to prefer one over the other. For example, one website points out that film has a negative proof whereas digital doesn't have that luxury. While it is true that you don't have the luxury of a negative in its simplest form, in digital you can and I recommend you use what is called a raw image. That means an image straight from the camera without compression or editing applied. You can learn more about raw imaging by doing a search for camera raw. If you have a newer and more high end point and shoot or a digital SLR you should have this option. The great thing about camera raw is you never save your image overtop of that file and instead will save in another image format such as jpg or if you're using an imaging software, their proprietary format. The raw is like a film negative and as long as you don't delete it, proof of the original image. Don't delete it!
As for the debate,
I'd recommend you stick with what you feel comfortable with. If all you've shot with in the past is a film slr, and you feel comfortable with it in your hands, then feel free to continue to shoot with it until the film is so hard to come by that it's no longer worthwhile.
Advantages of the digital age, however, are plenty. The ability to look at the lcd on the back of the camera and see what you've captured without a visit to your photo developer or a trip to the black room. You can also bring your photo up in digital imaging software and take a close up look at any part of your capture and you can share your photos online much easier as well without the need to scan the film images.
There are many other advantages as well with the improvement in technology such as being able to shoot images in just about complete darkness and still have them capture light without the use of flash on the high end cameras such as the Canon 1DX and the Nikon D4. Technology really is great, but it also shouldn't take precedence over your ultimate goal of getting the ghost image you're looking for.
One of the biggest issues you face as a spirit photographer are false positive. That image that makes you go wow but then the anomaly gets explained by some other factor than the supernatural. What you want to strive for when in the hunt, is to minimize and/or eliminate any other explanation possible and be left with proof of your ghostly encounter. No matter what, you'll always have skeptics questioning your work but at the end of the day, if you're looking for proof and you feel that you've achieved that goal, then it doesn't matter what skeptics believe. No matter what "proof" you throw at a skeptic, it will be pretty hard to change their mind and beliefs.
If you succeed all the more power to you, but as long as you are satisfied with your results, that is really all that matters.
False positives can come from many sources from faulty or dirty equipment, to environmental issues or a combination of both.
Be wary of reflective surfaces such as mirrors, water, metallic and chrome surfaces, reflective material on clothing and of course windows. If using a flash or even if it's just a light bulb on in the room where you are photographing, you can easily have light reflecting back into your lens, even from an angle. If you're getting flares in your images which may look like a lighter see through circle blob in the picture make sure you adjust the camera angle to see if you can get rid of it. You may be getting light entering your lens from a side angle causing this issue.
The problem is more pronounced with wide angle lenses but may be present in telephoto lenses as well. Make sure to keep an eye on this.
Another lens issue you should be well aware of is "ghosting". How appropriate. If you have an DSLR and use a UV filter or any filter on the front of your lens, you may want to consider removing it before shooting. Not only does this also help promote said flares we discussed about earlier but it also produces ghosting in the right instances. Ghosting refers to an image entering the lens through the filter, bouncing on the outer glass of the lens and then reflecting back onto that uv filter. It then gets captured giving the appearance of the same object you're photographing twice, first the real object, and then much more subtle, the ghosted image. Normally it's more prevalent when it's a light source, such as a light bulb in your image and if it's closer to the center of your shot. Avoid this issue by removing the filter while taking images to lessen the chance of these false positives.
Written By: Drew