Infrared Photography for Ghost Hunting

by Kimberly Turtenwald, Demand Media

    If you think your house or another location may be haunted, you don't need to call upon the Ghostbusters. Instead, ghost hunters look for ghosts in haunted locations. To locate the ghosts, these hunters use specialized tools that can detect energy and temperature changes. These changes indicate the presence of a paranormal phenomenon. Infrared photography is one of the tools many ghost hunters use.

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    Infrared Technology

    Infrared technology creates a photo that is color coded based on the temperature of the objects in the picture. Cooler temperatures appear as various shades of blue and warmer colors are shades of orange and red. The shades in between represent the mid-range temperatures. When a paranormal presence is in a room, it will have an effect on the temperature in a small portion of the room. This can help ghost hunters find and track a presence.

    Digital Cameras

    Before digital cameras, infrared photography was expensive and many people could not afford it nor did they want to put in the time and work required to use it. However, many digital cameras come equipped with infrared settings, which allow even the amateur to use a camera to check for ghosts and other paranormal entities. When you use the infrared settings on the camera, the camera translates the light waves it receives into the appropriate color to represent the temperatures. Looking for unexplained changes in temperature in a room can help you identify a ghost in your home.

    Check Your Camera

    While most digital cameras have the capability of seeing infrared wavelengths, it is important to check the range for your camera before using it for ghost hunting. Some digital cameras have lenses that filter out some of the infrared wavelengths, making them useless for ghost hunting. To test your camera, ask someone to point a television remote at the camera while you look through it. Have the other person press a button, such as "mute," and watch for a flash of light. If you see a bright flash, your camera will work for ghost hunting. If the light is dim, you need a different camera or must replace the lens.


    In most cases during daylight hours, you need a filter for your camera lens to help weed out some of the more visible wavelengths, which will allow you to focus on the abnormalities you are looking for. Look for a lens filter that blocks out wavelengths below 720 nanometers. If your camera doesn't accept lens filters, use a sink gasket and rig up a filter that wouldn't normally fit your camera. You also need to slow down your shutter speed to 1/2 or 1 second. This means it is best to use a tripod to reduce blur from your hand shaking. You will need to take more than one picture of the same spot for comparison, which makes a tripod useful.


    Once you have taken a series of pictures from the same location, it is time to compare them. Flip between the photos, keeping your eye out for any changes between the pictures. The pictures will often be in shades of red due to the filter. It can be helpful to use photo-editing software to change the picture to gray-scale to allow you to better identify abnormalities. If you notice anything out of the ordinary on one picture versus the others, investigate by zooming in. You may also want to get the opinion of a professional ghost hunter.

    About the Author

    Kimberly Turtenwald began writing professionally in 2000. She has written content for various websites, including Lights 2 You, Online Consultation, Corpus Personal Injury and more. Turtenwald studied editing and publishing at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/ Images