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Paranormal photography and understanding exif
11-02-2009, 10:59 AM
Post: #1
Paranormal photography and understanding exif
Ok this may vary for your cameras as they are all different some. Just experiment and understand what causes what.

I see hundreds of pictures of supposed paranormal every month and what I see in 99% is the wrong camera settings, pareidolia, matrixing and apophenia.

For night time investigations (unless your shooting off a tripod ) set your ISO to 400 to 800. If your shooting under 9 mega pixel stay around a 400 ISO above that raise it to an 800 ISO or even higher, experimentation will tell.

Camera straps should be removed unless your using a large camera and have on a neck strap. Then by all means use it but keep it on your neck.

Auto focus, if your camera is on auto focus and is constantly trying to focus at night then switch to manual focus. Set it on manual and adjust it for the room sizes your shooting. This will work for most investigations.

Shutter speeds, you can’t expect great shots when your shutter is open 2 seconds or longer.
1/8000 will stop any motion
1/4000 high enough speed to take pictures while walking
1/2000 will stop most motion
1/1000 will stop bicyclists and runners
1/500 will freeze a person jumping in the air
1/250 will stop some motion
1/125 to avoid camera shake
Speeds that blur motion. Use a tripod for these speeds.
1/60 slight blurring of motion
1/30 very good speed to show a bit of blur when photographing dancers
1/15 the blurring of motion becomes clearly evident
1/8 the blurring motion becomes more pronounced
1/4 the blurring of motion becomes extreme
1/2 high speed motion begins to become invisible

This is when you start seeing see-thru figures

1 medium speed motion begins to become invisible
2 all motion begins to become invisible
4 more motion begins to become invisible
8 motion develops a fog like quality
B this one allows you to keep the shutter open as long as you want

Camera movement, this is a huge problem with paranormal photographers. At night when your camera is set wrong you must listen closely to make sure your shutter opens and closes. Just because the flash goes off doesn’t mean the picture is done. Your shutter may remain open and when you move you add shadows and strange blurs to your shot.

Dust or moisture, when dust or moisture is present expect to capture orbs. These aren’t paranormal and have been shown you can eliminate them by moving your flash further from your lens. Or by adding a shroud around the outside of your lens.

EXIF Information, digital cameras have what is called EXIF information on every picture. If you have pictures not turning out then check your EXIF this will give you the settings you are using. Experiment with your camera and when you find EXIF settings that are perfect write them down and use them all the time.

By following a few small suggestions you can take better paranormal shots. Also now if you catch something then we will be more apt to believe it when you have the correct settings.


This is aimed towards all new paranormal investigators (and a few experienced ones).

First thing you should do is experiment with your camera, know what different settings do. Take pictures of mirrors, windows, insects and birds, see what they show up like in your pictures. Practice shooting in all conditions and take notes at what effects this has on your pictures, take lots of pictures at night and see how dust will show up as orbs. Take pictures of insects and see how they can leave trails and look like a rod. Use faster shutter speeds to eliminate blurred movement pictures. Take pictures and immediately move the camera so you can see lights will trail while darker objects won’t. Read about matrixing and how your mind automatically looks for familiar shapes, this explains a great deal of pictures presented as paranormal. (It also explains a great deal of Evp’s captured). If your going to be shooting at night set your ISO settings at 400 – 800 and turn your camera to highest megapixel settings. (this is so if you capture something you can zoom in and it won’t be all blurry like so many pictures claimed as paranormal). Remove camera straps from your camera or wear it around your neck. If you have long hair pull it back, there are to many hair paranormal pictures on the internet.

Ok now we will make some paranormal pictures. First get your vacuum cleaner bag and head outside at night. Have someone pat the bag and you take some pictures, you will now see what effect dust and lint have in your pictures. Get a spray bottle and fill it with water, have someone spray it and get some pictures. (this should also be done with your video cameras) . Take some long hair and dangle a strand in front of your lens, you’ll be amazed at how it looks when the flash hits it. These orbs aren’t paranormal!

We will now learn how to catch a ghost. Slow your shutter speed down and have two people in your picture. One remains motionless, the other as soon as you take the picture hurry’s out of it. You may need to play around with this to perfect it, this causes a person to become transparent.

Ok I also recommend if your camera has a manual focus setting to set it to this at night, then focus it for an average shot at the beginning of an investigation. This eliminates your camera from automatically trying to lock on to something and allows for faster shots. It also removes focus noise from evp sessions. Turn off, if possible all the beeps and sounds your camera makes.

This will be a start at making you a better paranormal photographer. It also serves another purpose. If you do this kind of testing with the team, you all learn together and puts you on the same page. You will also learn who works better with who. Its taking time to perform tests like this that saves time wondering what caused what in a picture later while reviewing evidence.

I didn’t devote much time on the subject of orbs because we should all be past that by now. 99.9 percent are lint, pollen, dust, moisture, insects, rain, and snow.

Most of the new digital cameras have something called exif information. you can look at this information and see what settings were used. Most photo programs allow you to see this information. Just use view image information. XP and Vista allow you to view basic exif information by right clicking and selecting properties. Here is a free Exif program.
http://www.exifsoftware.com/

Digital cameras save JPEG (.jpg) files with EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data. Camera settings and scene information are recorded by the camera into the image file. (some use RAW but that is another article)

Examples of stored information are shutter speed, date and time, focal length, exposure compensation, metering pattern and if a flash was used.
Use EXIF as a learning tool

Many camera owners study EXIF to compare successful photos to those that are not. Data provides insight about how camera settings affect photo characteristics such as exposure, depth-of-field and subject movement.

EXIF is read by applications that support JPEGs. They include web browsers, image editing and organizing programs and some printer drivers. The printer drivers use the information to automatically enhance images, which can result in a better looking prints.

Preserving EXIF information

If an edited image is saved correctly to preserve EXIF data, the information can be viewed online at photo hosting sites. Some photo hosting sites, such as Flickr, use the word "properties" instead of EXIF.

Ok now I will say all cameras respond a little differently to adjustments but for basic night photo's I recommend changing your ISO settings to at the lowest 400. if your using a higher mega pixel 8 or higher then switch to 800 or higher. You need to remember the higher the iso the more grains will be in the picture, but at the same time the higher the iso the more light it lets in. I also recommend switching your camera to manual, this eliminates a lens constant movement trying to lock on.

For daytime photography drop your iso settings to 100 to 200 for crisp clear pictures. For the average person I would run automatic focus and white balance.

This is just basic information. If you want to learn more the information is out there.

I might also add the farther your flash is from your lens, the less moisture or dust orbs you will see. Some cameras have eliminated orbs from showing up by using this method.

This is what an exif file looks like
Filename : 2008_0615picssaved0034.JPG
JFIF_APP1 : Exif
Main Information
Make : FUJIFILM
Model : FinePix S9000
Orientation : left-hand side
XResolution : 72/1
YResolution : 72/1
ResolutionUnit : Inch
Software : Digital Camera FinePix S9000 Ver1.02
DateTime : 2008:06:15 20:24:45
YCbCrPositioning : co-sited
Copyright :
ExifInfoOffset : 294
PrintIM IFD : 28Bytes
Print Image Matching Info
Version : 0250
Unknown (0002) : 01 00 00 00
Unknown (0101) : 00 00 00 00
Sub Information
ExposureTime : 1/45Sec
FNumber : F3.1
ExposureProgram : Program Normal
ISOSpeedRatings : 400
ExifVersion : 0220
DateTimeOriginal : 2008:06:15 20:24:45
DateTimeDigitized : 2008:06:15 20:24:45
ComponentConfiguration : YCbCr
CompressedBitsPerPixel : 20/10 (bit/pixel)
ShutterSpeedValue : 1/45Sec
ApertureValue : F3.1
BrightnessValue : EV-6.9
ExposureBiasValue : EV0.0
MaxApertureValue : F2.8
MeteringMode : Division
LightSource : Unidentified
Flash : Fired(Auto)
FocalLength : 7.60(mm)
MakerNote : FUJIFILM Format : 310Bytes (Offset:892)
FlashPixVersion : 0100
ColorSpace : sRGB
ExifImageWidth : 2592
ExifImageHeight : 1944
ExifInteroperabilityOffset : 1194
FocalPlaneXResolution : 3331/1
FocalPlaneYResolution : 3331/1
FocalPlaneResolutionUnit : Centimeter
SensingMethod : OneChipColorArea sensor
FileSource : DSC
SceneType : A directly photographed image
CustomRendered : Normal process
ExposureMode : Auto
WhiteBalance : Auto
SceneCaptureType : Standard
Contrast : Hard
Saturation : High
Sharpness : Hard
SubjectDistanceRange : Unknown
Vendor Original Information
Version : 0130
Quality mode : NORMAL
Sharpness : HARD
White Balance : Auto
Color : HIGH
Unknown (1006)3,1 : 256
Flash mode : Auto
Flash strength : 67/100
Macro mode : Off
Focus mode : Manual Focus
Unknown (1022)3,1 : 0
Unknown (1023)3,2 : 0,0
SlowSync : Off
Mode : Program AE
Unknown (1032)3,1 : 1
Sequence Mode : Off
Unknown (1101)3,1 : 0
Unknown (1200)3,1 : 0
Unknown (1210)3,1 : 0
Blurring warning : No
Focus status : Nice
Exposure status : Nice
Unknown (1400)3,1 : 1
ExifR98
ExifR : R98
Version : 0100
Thumbnail Information
Compression : OLDJPEG
Orientation : left-hand side
XResolution : 72/1
YResolution : 72/1
ResolutionUnit : Inch
JPEGInterchangeFormat : 1342
JPEGInterchangeFormatLength : 10408
YCbCrPositioning : co-sited

Belief bias occurs when we make illogical conclusions in order to confirm our preexisting beliefs. Belief perseverance refers to our tendency to maintain a belief even after the evidence we used to form the belief is contradicted.
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11-02-2009, 11:28 AM
Post: #2
RE: Paranormal photography and understanding exif
Thank you, UNR...I have bookmarked this page, as it will be an excellent reference to anyone who is asking these questions.

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” ~Philip K. Dick

http://paranormalinreview2.zohosites.com/home.html
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11-02-2009, 11:46 AM
Post: #3
RE: Paranormal photography and understanding exif
Yes thanks for taking the time to explain
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11-02-2009, 12:19 PM
Post: #4
RE: Paranormal photography and understanding exif
Wow... My brain hurts. Thank you, though, UNR! I have a question for you: When someone posts a pic on here, how can you tell what kind of camera was used and what the setting is?

"It sounded like a bad fry, unimportant, with a bowl of rice." ~ Victor

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11-02-2009, 12:23 PM
Post: #5
RE: Paranormal photography and understanding exif
(11-02-2009 12:19 PM)Indiangirl Wrote:  Wow... My brain hurts. Thank you, though, UNR! I have a question for you: When someone posts a pic on here, how can you tell what kind of camera was used and what the setting is?

Thats in the part that's called exif information. Its like a digital fingerprint per photo. You can do it in photo shop, or paint shop just look under image information. Or you can download a free program that allows you to look at the exif information of any photo that hasn't been changed in some way. I believe lots of pht programs have this ability and i also think in vista you can right click and select properties.
Here is the url for it.
http://www.exifsoftware.com/

Belief bias occurs when we make illogical conclusions in order to confirm our preexisting beliefs. Belief perseverance refers to our tendency to maintain a belief even after the evidence we used to form the belief is contradicted.
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11-02-2009, 12:27 PM
Post: #6
RE: Paranormal photography and understanding exif
Thanks UNR. That is a lot of help. I'll make sure to bookmark that it will be a lot of help. Thanks again for taking the time to explain.
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12-03-2009, 03:29 PM
Post: #7
RE: Paranormal photography and understanding exif
For any mac users, OSX comes with a basic built in EXIF reader. You can look at the most common info by "right clicking" the pic and selecting Show Photo Info.

Also, I use "EXIF viewer", which can be found at http://homepage.mac.com/aozer/EV/
Simply install it anywhere and move it to your dock. When you have the photo you want exif info for, simply drag it over the camera icon on your dock. The info will pop right up. Hope this helps any mac users.

Great topic! This has really helped me determine the best settings for my camera in various environments.
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01-14-2010, 08:02 AM
Post: #8
RE: Paranormal photography and understanding exif
You are a pro! Genius! Thanks for sharing!

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01-14-2010, 10:10 AM
Post: #9
RE: Paranormal photography and understanding exif
I agree with UglyNRude. In addition when I look at the EXIF information of someone else's photo I'm evaluating I look for editing software used during the processing of the picture after it's taken. This EXIF is from a picture posted on another site and it shows that Photoshop was used. Always be extremely weary of Photoshop processed pictures and do as I did ask for an unedited copy of the picture for comparison.

[Image: exps.jpg]
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02-03-2010, 03:39 AM
Post: #10
RE: Paranormal photography and understanding exif
Never been very successful with "ghost pics" but I do like looking at what others have taken of something that wasn't noticeable at the time, suposedly. Maybe I need to create a list of questions and see what you all can do. So far you have been more helpful than the owner of the photography store has been.

The notion of picking one time of the year to be decent to other people is obscene because it's actually validating the notion of being miserable wretches the rest of the year.
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