How To Create a Ghostly Halloween Photo of Your Pet

The countdown to Halloween is on, which–in the Wasik house–can only mean one thing: the return of a ghostly friend.

Every October, Hunter gets in on the action to help me create a phantom photo that many have described as spooky, weird, cool, and creepy. We’ve even gone so far as to fooling some into thinking we’d actually captured a ghost hanging out in our living room. You see, living

In this week’s Photography Blog Circle post focused on double exposures, I’m sharing how you too can create a spooky snapshot of your own pet just in time for Halloween. You may be surprised to find how easy it is!

How To Create a Ghostly Halloween Photo of Your Pet

To capture your ghostly four-legger, we’re going to use a long exposure technique. Sometimes called time-exposure or slow-shutter photography, this technique involves using a longer duration of shutter speed to sharply capture static elements of an image while essentially blurring the moving parts of it by replicating the pattern of time and manifesting these components in a different way than we’re used to seeing them.

For this technique, you will need a camera that allows you to control your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. If you’re using your phone, you can try an app like Slow Shutter Cam, Manual Camera: DSLR, or Shutter Stop.

  1. Set your camera’s ISO (a setting that allows you to control the brightness of your image) to its lowest setting. I recommend at least ISO 100.
  2. sAdjust your camera’s shutter speed to about 10 seconds. Depending on the amount of light you have and the amount of movement your pet makes, you may need to slow your shutter speed even more. To make this simple, I suggest setting your camera to shutter priority mode.
  3. Choose a narrow aperture to help balance the exposure. Experiment between f/8 and f/22.
  4. Using a tripod or sturdy surface, position your camera and take a test shot to check your exposure. Leave your supernatural subject out of the shot until you’ve nailed your settings.
  5. Once you’ve achieved correct exposure and you’re satisifed with your settings, position your pet where you’d like him within the image. This is where treats coupled with a solid stay can work wonders in getting him to remain in place.
  6. Release the shutter and direct your pet to stay as still as possible for about five seconds before you call him out of the frame. You’ll want to move him out of the frame completely to ensure you don’t have multiple ghosts since the shutter will remain closed for the remaning five seconds (to continue to capture your stationary background).
  7. Check to see how fa-boo-lous your furry ghost came out.
  8. Give your model some treats for his tricks.
ghostly dog Halloween photo created by long exposure technique

Did you nail it? Boo-yah! Get ready to freak out your family and friends. Not quite what you envisioned? Tweak your settings and try again.

If you give capturing a ghostly Halloween photo of your pet a try, be sure to let me know how it went by tagging me in your paranormal pet photos on Instagram (@barkngoldphotography) or Facebook. And hey–if all else fails, just grab a white sheet, cut out two eye holes, and call it a day!


This post is a part of a photography blog circle featuring photographers specializing in a variety of niches. To see what the next photographer is sharing for our weekly theme, “Double Exposure,” check out Amy Tedrow with Believe, Create, Inspire and Amy Tedrow Photography, sharing how to create a beautiful fall foliage art piece using different techniques in post-production. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.

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