Photography by Jim Doty

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A simple photographic technique that requires no special equipment is to create ghost images. You can see right through a ghosted person (or object) to the background behind them. The technique is simple. You just need the person that you want to turn into a ghost to be in the scene for about half of the total exposure time.

To try this, you need a camera, lens, and film, plus a tripod. You need a person (or object) you want to turn into a ghost and a setting. Have the person sit, stand, or lay down in the setting you choose.  The overall light level needs to be low enough that with a small lens aperture you can use a shutter speed of around 8 seconds.

Your "model" will be in the scene for 1/2 the exposure time. If you use a shutter speed of 8 seconds, your model will be in the scene for 4 seconds.

Begin the exposure.  You model will need to be still so they are not blurred. Halfway through the exposure, cue them to leave the scene.

The darker the clothing your model wears and the lighter the background, the greater the ghosting effect.

The scene above has both light and dark backgrounds and persons in light and dark clothing.  You can see the results that come from the different combinations.

The girl to the lower left has on light toned clothes against a dark background. There is almost no ghosting.

The seated man just to the right of center is wearing a dark coat.  Where his coat is against the light brick background it almost completely disappears.

March 23, 2001

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