Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10 Quick and Easy Steps for Picture Analysis!

With Halloween almost here, I've seen an influx of "fake" ghost pictures!  Here's a quick few tips to automatically rule out the obvious fakes!  These techniques are fairly low-tech and easy to master.

1. Ask for the full, unedited picture.  I will not analyze a photo that has been cropped, or has been lightened, enhanced, or even has had the questionable anomaly circled or otherwise marked. 

2. Always ask for the ORIGINAL...never a copy.  The original contains EXIF data, that can provide essential facts, such as when it was taken, what type of camera was used, and if its been edited in any way.  EXIF data can also give you a shutter speed, which is important because a long shutter speed can cause objects to take on a ghostly transparency...if you've seen our Haunted and Historic Guyandotte "ghost photos," that is how they were created!  Melissa, HPIR President, has written an excellent article on EXIF data.

3. If the photo is a film shot, whenever possible, get the negative!

4. Take note how the photo is set up.  Does the apparition or anomaly seem to be the center or focus?  Does the intended subject seem too far out of the middle, or out of focus?    Why was the photo taken, and by whom?

5. Look for environmental clues to verify back stories.  Are there visible signs of precipitation?  What season is it?  Is there any indication, such as a clock or the sun's position, that can narrow time?

6. Watch for shiny surfaces, light sources, and similar objects.  Look for ashtrays, or other signs of smoking or candle burning.  Be leery of TV ghosts and ghosts taken through a window!

7. Notice pixelation...does the area around the apparition seem fuzzy, pixelated, or otherwise just doesn't match up with the rest of the photo? How about any shadows? Do they match up with the position of the light source?

8. If the photo is taken at night, ask if a daytime, or lit up shot is available.  Also ask for comparison shots of the entire area whenever possible, especially when the image was taken in someone's home.

9. Memorize the iPhone's Ghost Capture images!  (As seen in the photo above)

10. Read this article by Scientific America:  5 Ways to Spot a Fake Photo

You may not be an expert, but you should feel a little more comfortable with spotting fake photos.  With assistance in spotting photos that appear ghostly, but have natural (non-faked) explanations, please see one of the many excellent false-positive photo galleries out there, including this one by the Louisville Ghost Hunters!


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