I Ain’t Afraid Of Ghosts!


Self portraits are a great way to experiment and learn and pretty easy once you get over being camera shy! Plus you can just be goofy or express yourself any way you’d like.

This will be a rundown of how I do long exposure transparent self portraits, I’ve dabbled a bit and after one of my self portrait photos was chosen as “Photo of the Day” I thought it would be fun to do this tipster and share my techniques.

The basics needed for a long exposure self portraits are;



release cable

Now my first attempt was a long exposure transparent, or ghost self portrait. Not having any guidelines I “winged” it. Lacking correct exposure time the resulted in muted details, but I knew I could do better. It was a stepping stone.

From this I got a better idea of timing. Using a 400 ISO color negative film, Fuji Superia X-tra to be exact, in moderate indoor lighting provided by a ceiling lamp with 2 60 watt bulbs and a frosted diffuser, I achieved a satisfactory self portrait with my Holga 135. Now these are times based on the amount of light in my room, your results may vary, as I do not have a light meter to have gotten an accurate reading.

Now for the details. Set your camera up on a tripod with a release cable to lock the shutter. Set the stage for your photo.

Step 1

Once you’re ready to go, engage and lock the shutter with the release cable, count down 5 second.

Step 2

Move yourself in position in front of the camera and hold your pose for 10 seconds.

Step 3

Go back to the camera and count down 10 seconds before releasing the cable to close the shutter.

Thats it, you’ve done your first self portrait! The more you practice the more you’ll have a better sense for the proper length of time to leave the shutter open based on the film speed you’re using and your lighting conditions.

Good luck, have fun and Lomo On!

written by blormore on 2011-03-10 #gear #tutorials #art #self-portrait #long-exposure #portrait #tips #tutorial #tipster #ghost #tricks #transparent


  1. mochilis
    mochilis ·

    I've tried a couple of times, but didn't get good results... definitely must try again!!! Good tipster :)

  2. blormore
    blormore ·

    Thanks so much for your kind comment! And yes definitely give it another go! :)

  3. kylethefrench
    kylethefrench ·

    this is one of my most favorite things in the world

  4. blormore
    blormore ·

    @kylethefrench right, I need to do more of it myself! :)

  5. catherinejcruz
    catherinejcruz ·

    hi there, should i give myself a shorter amount of time if i'm using 35mm ISO 800 film?

  6. catherinejcruz
    catherinejcruz ·

    thanks for the reply! :)

  7. thewretched
    thewretched ·

    So what would be the best speed film to use? I'm relatively new to the analogue lifestyle, and this is definitely one of the effects i want to experiment with.

    But the last thing i want to do is load up a roll of say, 100 ISO film, and waste 36 exposures.

  8. woosang
    woosang ·

    Brilliant tipster.

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