Orb Photography Tips: Capture the Perfect Paranormal Image 

Updated July 6, 2021
Glowing spheres hovering in forest

Trusting your photos is important, especially in orb photography. If you're trying to capture a good photo of a ghost orb or other paranormal phenomenon, it's important to eliminate everything that could interfere with an accurate result. These are some of the reasons orbs show up in photos due to circumstances or errors you can easily control.

Clean Your Gear Before You Shoot

Before you head out to capture ghost photos or any other type of image, it's important make sure you're working with clean gear. Dust on your lens or camera sensor can look like a ghost orb when you see the final image. Keep these cleaning tips in mind:

  • Clean the dust off the front of your lens. You can use an air blower or soft brush, and you can also very gently clean the lens with lens cleaner and a microfiber cloth. An out-of-focus speck of dust on the lens can look like a glowing orb.
  • For SLR cameras with removable lenses, clean the rear element of the lens too. If there's a speck of dust on the rear element, it can create a blurry, glowing spot on the image.
  • If you're shooting a digital camera, have your sensor cleaned regularly. Oil and dust on your sensor can look like darker orbs on your images. You can have your sensor cleaned at a camera shop, and some cameras also have a self-cleaning function.

Consider the Conditions While You're Taking Photos

If there's a lot of dust or fog in the air, this can result in glowing specks or orbs in your photos. It's even more of an issue if there's a bright light source that can cause those specks to light up. There are some things you can do to minimize these effects and to make sure you have a record of the conditions when you took the photo:

  • It's helpful to carry a journal or notebook and take a few notes about the conditions when you're shooting. That way, you can look back and consider the conditions when you're deciding whether an anomaly in the photo might be a ghost orb.
  • If there are a lot of particles in the air from dust, rain, snow, fog, or anything else, try to avoid shooting with the light source behind the particles. If the sun or a car's headlights or any other bright light is behind the particles, they will light up in the photo.
  • Don't use the flash if you think there could be particles in the air. The light from the flash can bounce off of the particles and cause them to glow.
Light with Lens Flare and Defocused Lights and Glowing Particles

Avoid Shooting Into the Light

Shooting directly into a bright light source can cause lens flares that may look like orbs in photography. The issue is that most photographic lenses are made of several layers of glass, whether you're shooting with your phone, a film camera, a DSLR, or anything else. Most of the time, light goes right through all those layers, but sometimes, when it comes in at a certain angle, it can reflect off of some of the layers and bounce around between them. This creates a flare that can take on a orb shape. Coatings on the glass can also create different colors and even rainbow orbs. Here are some ways to avoid that:

  • Never take a photo where the brightest light source is actually in the image. This means not shooting directly into the sun or a bright light. If you can see the bright light in your viewfinder, you should move.
  • If the sun or another bright light is partially blocked by something like a tree or building, recognize that the part that isn't blocked can still cause a flare. In fact, it may flare more easily if the light source is partially blocked.
  • Use a lens hood if you have one. If not, hold your hand or a piece of dark paper or cardboard above the lens. Think of it like the brim of a cap.
Bright sun causing some flare on the camera lens against blue sky

Be Careful Handling Film

Film photography can be a really good way to get a great paranormal photo. Because you have a physical negative to look at in addition to the printed or scanned image, you have more evidence to consider. However, shooting with film can pose a problem when it comes to false orbs. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Avoid static at all costs. Static can leave a mark on your film that can look like a black orb or even a lightning bolt. Avoid loading film in dry conditions or if you suspect there might be static.
  • Check the film for water spots before you look at the image. Sometimes, spots of water or developing chemicals can rest on the surface of the film, and these can look like orbs in the scanned photo.
  • Store your film properly in a cool, dry place, and only use fresh film for paranormal photography. Damaged or expired film can create strange orb effects.

Create Photos That Are Good Evidence

Controlling the factors that can cause false orbs to appear in your photos can help you be more confident of your results. Once you eliminate some of the reasons orbs appear, you can focus on the real meaning of them. Knowing you took the photos with care can help you identify ghost orbs in real life and make sure your images are good evidence.

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Orb Photography Tips: Capture the Perfect Paranormal Image