Photo Tips and Tricks- page 4 | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

Photo Tips and Tricks

Put a ghost in your ghost town photographs...and other easy tips to create cool pictures

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Web resources
To look at pinhole photographs and for instructions on how to make a pinhole camera, visit Pinhole Visions.

Putting a ghost in your picture

To make your photographs of ghost towns look even more supernatural, you can work with double exposure to superimpose ghostlike images of people on buildings, streets and landscapes.

Equipment
A point-and-shoot camera or a digital camera.

Instructions
Take a picture of a friend or family member standing in a doorway or in front of a building. Keep the film in the camera from advancing. (Older manual cameras are better for this technique; you may be able to use a manual crank to push the film back. With newer cameras, you may need to look through the camera's manual to find out exactly what to do.) Then take another picture of the building or landscape without the person there. Be creative: have your subjects wear costumes, such as a ten-gallon hat or a long dress, and have them strike an eerie pose.

Results
Because of the dual exposure, the image of your friend or family member will be translucent and ghostly. To make the effect work, you will need to keep your camera still so that the patterns of the first and second shot fit together. You can take as many pictures as you like on one negative to create the look you want, although to avoid overexposure, it's best to overlap only two images at once.

Wizardry with Digital Cameras
Ultrawide lenses:
To create a distorted and eerie effect, try using an ultrawide lens. With this technique, straight lines will look curved; when combined with the Western landscape, it can create novel results.

Sepia toning:
When you are back home at your computer, you can use sepia toning to create that old-timey look. This can be easily achieved with most software. If your image is in color, convert it to black-and-white. Then select and cover your image with a brownish tint. To make it even more old-fashioned looking, try blurring the image a little.

Infrared film:
You can also purchase infrared film, such as Kodak infrared 35 mm film, to create spectacular effects with color. This film is especially sensitive to the infrared part of the color spectrum and results in bluer blues and red, rather than green, foliage. To make the most of the film, you can also attach an infrared filter to your lens. Filters can be purchased at most camera shops. You will need to load the light-sensitive film in the dark and get it processed as soon as possible. You can also experiment with orange and yellow filters. Though colored films are expensive, they produce dramatic results.

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