The Do's and Don't of photography during a paranormal investigation
When most people start investigating the paranormal, one of the first pieces of equipment they use is some sort of camera. It might be your mobile phone, a digital camera, a DSLR or even a converted IR/UV camera. I too used to rely very heavily on photography during an investigation. I learnt the ins and outs of a camera and I even studied photography so I could learn how a lens worked. For myself personally, I ended up learning how unreliable photography is and I personally do not use it anymore. I film to document what is happening and I might take a photo as a reference but that is about it for me. Its a personal choice and one that is fueled by all of the natural phenomena that can make you think you have caught something on film. Before taking any photos, it is important to educate yourself on these things. To make it super easy for you, I have done all the hard work for you and here it all is in simple terms.
Now that we have that out of the way, if you do still want to take photos during a paranormal investigation, then go for it, but here are some tips to get you started and make it easier for you to debunk.
Do take multiple shots in the same spot
You hear a noise down the hall, and you point your camera in that direction and start shooting. Did you catch anything? Maybe but it is hard to tell. One of the first rules any investigator will tell you is that when you are taking photos, take a minimum of 3 photos in the same spot. The reason for this is that it allows you to more easily debunk if something has appeared. Does it appear the same in all photos? Are you noticing any changes in the photos - such as is something trying to manifest? By having at least 3 photos, it allows you to gain some sort of insight into what is happening at the time and makes it much easier to try and debunk.
Don't use a flash
There is a link above as to why I don't agree with flash photography. It is annoying to those who are in the room with you, it can be a safety hazard and in a nutshell, the flash is going to give you false results. The light will bounce off any sort of moisture or dust in the air and we know how this story goes.
Do use a tripod and a remote if possible
Again going back to an article above talking about shutter speed, it is inevitable that during an investigation, you are going to be shooting in low light. It means the shutter takes longer to fire and there is a strong possibility that your shots will turn out blurry. One way to combat this is to use a tripod. Ideally if you have some sort of remote or timer on your camera, this is great too because it eliminates what we call 'camera shake'. You know when you take a photo and your hand moves? A tripod with a remote eliminates this completely. It also means that if a camera is positioned on a tripod you will have the same crop in each frame which is handy when you are taking those multiple photos as they should be exactly the same.
Don't take photos with a dirty lens
Clean your camera lens (yes especially one on your phone) before every investigation. It can get grimey and yucky and it can appear on your photos. Also try and cut off or detach camera straps, they are commonly misunderstood as something paranormal.
Do make yourself aware of your surroundings and the weather
Is it raining? Is there moisture in the air? All of these things can affect your photos. A raindrop is not paranormal, its actually just annoying. Is there dirty carpet? An open window near an old curtain? Is there heating or ac turned on? These can potentially cause false orbs.
Do carry back up batteries
I don't know whether it is a case of a spirit draining your battery or just bad timing, but it always seems that our cameras drain really quickly during an investigation. Investigating in the cold can play a factor with this too. Always have a spare battery in your pocket. It seems a camera always switches off just as things start happening. Co incidence? I don't know, but if you have a battery in your pocket you are prepared.
Don't expect to catch anything paranormal
As I mentioned above, photos are generally unreliable. I have seen a couple of photos which I personally have not been able to debunk. Does this mean they are paranormal? Absolutely not, it just means that I don't know what it is. Someone else might which brings me to my last point.
Do submit your photos to your peers for review and feedback
If you catch something, don't pop it up on Facebook and say look at this amazing catch. Talk to your fellow paranormal investigators and brain storm. Maybe they can tell you what it is. This is how you will learn. Facebook likes are nice but they are nothing compared to the respect of your peers and it will make you a better paranormal investigator.
Know how your camera works and learn about things that can affect your photos. Be open to criticism and understand that the majority of the time, if someone debunks your photo, they are not being an ass, they are just trying to help you. That being said yes some people are being an ass for the sake of it but welcome to the internet. If you are going to put your photos in a public forum, it comes with the territory which is again why I say above, talk to your peers about it. They can give you the information you need and you never know, there may be that one photo that stumps everyone.
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