Mystery man

How to take that Creepy Ghost like Photo

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Mystery man
Mystery man

When I posted this picture under the title Mystery,  many people found it as creepy, eerie , ghost like photograph 😀 Someone asked if it was edited, someone showed interest in how to take these kind of picture. So I agreed to do a post and here it comes.

Things Needed

  • A camera with Manual adjustment to control Shutter speed & ISO
  • preferably a wide-angle lens
  • A tripod preferred, else find a place to keep the camera securely
  • A darker room
  • A light source like a torch or flash light  that can switch on and off instantly
  • A subject or a model, which can be the photographer itself 😉

How to do it

Set up the camera on the tripod or on a rigid surface like a table, if you don’t have a tripod.

Focus the camera to a point where the subject is expected to stand. After focusing it, make sure the focus mode is in Manual Focus (MF). Now make the room dark or darker by turning off lights or using the shades or curtains.

Now turn the camera in Manual mode.  Depending on how dark the room is, select the ISO setting. We can start with ISO 1600.

Now the main thing that is required to make such a photograph : That is Shutter speed setting. We need the shutter to be open for a long time, so that whatever light appearing during that time will be recorded onto the camera sensor. So we are looking for a slow shutter speed or a long exposure. Slow shutter speed means, the time interval between opening and closing of shutter is very slow, and long exposure means, the sensor is exposed to light for a longer time. Both have the same meaning in photography.

So we will set the shutter speed at 15 secs to start our experiment. It means that the shutter will be open for the next 15 seconds after you press the button to click a picture. Whatever light is produced or  reflected will be recorded in the camera during that 15 seconds.

Once you press the button to take the picture, while camera stays on the tripod, walk in front of the camera in the dark and now use the light source( a flash light or Torch ). Flash the light source very briefly. The light should be able to make you visible to the camera. So flash the light towards you.

Do not flash the light towards the camera in any case. Do not keep the light on for a long time. Long time means more than a couple of seconds. Even 2 seconds can be a long time if ISO sensitivity is high like 6400 or above and you have set a longer shutter speed.

So flash the light towards you for a very brief time, like for a second, at different locations. Yes, you have to change your locations before you flash the light for the next time.  After 15 seconds when the shutter closes, check the result.

Now it is time to improve the shot. Experiment with different settings for shutter speed and ISO. You can reduce the ISO and increase the shutter speed, or the other way around.

I hope you have understood how to take this creepy looking picture.

This picture was taken at

ISO : 1600

Shutter speed : 15 secs

Aperture : f/4.5

Wide angle lens 18-55mm at focal length 18 mm

Camera used Canon EOS 1100 D

If you ever try it, or if you have already tried it, please share your links here. I would love to see them. Thanks


View posts by trablogger
Trablogger aka Jithin is an Indian travel blogger who is obsessed with leading a travel life. When he is not traveling, photographing, writing or blogging, you can see him thinking about sustaining this travel life or helping someone to travel more.

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Loved it, I will experiment… Thanks 🙂


What a cool idea! I’m going to have to spend a couple of hours experimenting with different shutter speeds and lighting next weekend.


I did something similar using a tripod and a cable release to get me in the same frame 3 times, 3 different positions. It was fun! I used it for ‘mystery’ prompt.


u forgot…the subject aka photographer should have a ghostly appearance 😛

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