Monday, December 6, 2010

Spotting a Fake: Photos Part 3


Reflections cause their fair share of problems for ghost hunters, and I’m not just talking about the kind you see in your mirror. Light has a strange way of bouncing around a space and often shows up in unexpected places. All it takes is a slightly reflective surface and BAM, you’ve got yourself an anomaly. With a little practice though, light reflections are pretty easy to recognize.

A flashlight reflects in a window

The first thing you should do when you see a light anomaly in a photo is try and identify a source. Look for a light source such as a lighting fixture or flashlight. Often the camera flash reflects all over place. Once you’ve figured out all the potential sources for the light, try and locate every reflective surface in the room- that can include mirrors, windows, glass tables, plastic display cases, metallic surfaces and a whole lot of other things as well. Ask yourself if you can see a natural pattern in how the light is moving across the room. Also, if you notice the anomaly while you are taking photos, take another photo of the exact same spot. This is a really helpful technique because it can help you determine what things are naturally occurring in a space.

The table,windows,display case,pictures,chairs,walls,and clocks in this room all reflect light

 A light reflection can appear much larger (or smaller) than the initial light source, so don’t assume something is paranormal just because the size is unusual. Light can also appear to change color in photos, so don’t be surprised if your flashlight or camera flash turns a weird color on occasion.

If you still aren’t sure if what you are looking at is paranormal, get a second opinion. Sometimes another person can point out some obvious solution you may have overlooked or help you investigate further if the image just can’t be explained.

At the end of the day, it's really about training yourself to analyze the space, and world around you- and knowledge is one of your best weapons.


  1. Are there certain types of cameras you can use to limit reflections? What type of camera do you use?

  2. Reflections tend to show up on most types of cameras. I've seen some advertisements for cameras that take photos in low light settings without a flash, but I'm not sure how effective they are in very dark settings. The easist way to limit reflections is to try and prevent them. Eliminating as many light sources as possible is a good idea. I try to shut off flashlights and other light sources in the room while taking photos. Also, covering windows can help to prevent lights from outside showing up (if you are taking pictures indoors.) I use a Kodak Easyshare to take most of my photos. It's really easy to use and has proven to be pretty reliable. Often the less expensive cameras take images just as good as the more expensive ones. I think Cannon cameras take nice images as well, and come in a very wide price range.