Photography plays an important role in paranormal investigating because it can be used as documentation, a reference tool and as a means of attempting to capture evidence of paranormal activity. Because digital cameras are so user-friendly, all one has to do is “point and shoot” in order to take pictures. Unfortunately, this often leads to misidentifying something as being paranormal. While there are many different combinations that can produce anomalies in a photograph that cause it to be misidentified, there are three common paranormal photography mistakes that tend to stick out the most, and they are all interconnected:
If it doesn’t look normal, it doesn’t mean it is paranormal. Avoid assuming anything odd in a photograph must be paranormal. This is usually caused by over-scrutinizing a picture and believing simply because we are searching for paranormal activity we are going to find it. Any evidence of paranormal activity should be able to stand out on its own.
Automatic settings are not trying to find ghosts! Most paranormal investigators’ digital camera settings are set to automatic – which is perfectly fine. But remember that the camera is not looking for paranormal activity, it is attempting to adjust (automatically) to the best possible settings to take the best possible picture in the environment we are in. This brings into play several different factors, including slower shutter speeds, flash, motion blur, etc. – all of which contribute to the appearance of anomalies such as wisps, orbs, strings of light and blurry objects just to name a few.
Learn as much as possible about a camera and how it operates before using it on any investigation, including being familiar with all of its settings, at least to the point where you have a basic understanding of them and why they are used in different situations. Understanding the different outcomes when using those same settings in the wrong situation will also help to virtually eliminate most false conclusions because you will know why a picture probably looks the way it does.
Stop the crop: don’t zoom in. Avoid zooming, or cropping, in order to view a part of the photograph much larger than it actually is. Cropping distorts the photograph, which causes pareidolia.
Why does cropping distort the photograph? The short explanation is that zooming in on a photo via cropping will cause the image to blur, which can create things that look like faces, apparitions, etc. A perfect example of this can be seen on our “Two photos” blog.