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Spirit Photography | Should you try it?

A bit about the Best Kind of Photography

Jane Sandwood --

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Perhaps one of the most famous ghost photographs ever taken was one by Mrs. Sayer, who was visiting an airfield in England back in 1987. a ghostly figure appeared next to her in the cockpit of a plane. Seen after developing the image. Someone who wasn’t there when she took it.

However, this isn’t the only photograph out there of what seem to be apparitions.

Often overlooked, spirit photography – or photography that generally involves capturing spirits on film – has both a rich history and a wide prevalence, even today. From the emotional beginnings of the practice to tips on trying your hand at capturing the paranormal in a photo, here’s what you need to know.

An Emotional Beginning

Spirit photography started in the 1860s. Due to the large numbers of fatalities caused by the civil war. The idea of connecting with their loved ones brought comfort. To those mourning. Spirit photography presented a great way to do just that.

Photos from spirit photographers often involved those who were mourning. Results pictured the ghastly and vague appearance of the lost loved one or spirit, who would appear to be right alongside the living. 

William H. Mumler- famous spirit photographer
William H. Mumler
Famous spirit photographer

One particularly well-known spirit photographer at the time was William Mumler from Boston. While many accused Mumler of being a fraud (as was the case with many spirit photographers). How he achieved the results in his pictures remained a mystery.

He had notable clients. Despite accusations and Mumler being taken to court for which he was acquitted. One particularly notable client happened to be Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of Abraham Lincholn.

In 1870, several years after her husband’s assassination, the grieving widow came to Mumler. Seeking comfort in the form of a photo.

Modern Day Spirit Photography

Today there are two main types of spirit photography, should you decide to try your hand at it. Perhaps the most well-known type involves spirit photography for the sake of paranormal investigation. Attempting to find proof of ghosts through photographs.

However, it’s important to realize that spirit photography can also be done in an artistic and creative manner: taking photos that don’t actually involve the paranormal, but convey a result that gives off a ghostly and paranormal appearance in the name of art.

JR Pepper is just one spirit photographer who specializes in creating artistic shots, and uses low shutter while moving things into and out of the shot quickly in order to achieve ghostlike results.

Trying it for Yourself

If you wish to try your hand at spirit photography in the hopes of picturing the paranormal, there are a few things to prepare before simply taking pictures. While you don’t need a state of the art camera. Can even use use your phone. Ensure it’s reliable.

It may also be a good idea to invest in a camera that’s both portable and lightweight, such as the Canon EOS M50, or a standard digital SLR camera (DSLR), which can help greatly if you’re going to be walking around taking pictures as opposed to staying in one place.

Aside from the camera, going to a haunted location and bringing along other paranormal ghost-hunting tools (such as a spirit box), is also a great idea in order to increase your chances of positive results.

Spirit photography undoubtedly has a rich history, and while many believe it to be simply camera tricks, others find the results to be proof of the paranormal, or otherwise seek comfort from seeing their lost loved ones pictured by their side.


Should you choose to try your hand at it, investing in the right camera and finding the right location is the perfect way to get started.

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