Orbs and Digital Photography


There is much debate and controversy as to whether “orbs” in photos are spiritual/ghosts, dust, moisture or insects. On one side of the debate, “Sceptics” are saying the orb is a reflection/ refraction of light caused by the flash being too close to the lens on modern digital cameras. Sceptics will also argue that dust, moisture, rain and dirt on the lens can cause the orb effect – with simple testing, this argument is quite correct. Aiding the Sceptical debate is the fact some camera companies are now offering cameras that cannot take orb photos by adjusting the lens to flash ratio.

On the other side we have the “Believers”. Believers will tell you that orbs can be caught on camera without a flash, that many have seen the orb with their own eyes as it floats by and then taken a photo. They will point to evidence of older film cameras and video cameras, that have no flash, recording orb photos. It is also widely believed that the “spherical” shape, or orb is the most economical shape for energy to travel, and, as we are all energy, in one form or another, wouldn’t it be easiest to appear as an orb?

In my experience, spirits in spherical form do exist, after seeing a fully formed apparition, and taking a photo, the apparition in the photo appeared as an orb (I also know of another Paranormal Investigator locally that had had the same experience in the same cemetery!). Also, myself, and other team members have witnessed orbs with our own eyes in cemeteries and houses. They appeared to emit their own light and pulse at the same time, moving through the air much like a jelly-fish moves through water.

Even though I do believe the orb is the easiest form for a spirit to travel, I do still believe that the majority of “orb” photos out there are contaminants from the local environment where the picture has been taken, with insects and dust being the most common causes.

I suggest looking at your environment, taking notes of wind strength, dust, insects and anything that can cause loud vibrations (such as a band in a hall), moisture, rain etc. and if you cannot control these conditions when getting your orb photo, then you can probably discard it as a contaminant and not a spirit…

I also suggest testing your camera in controlled condition, say, inside your own house, put the camera on a tripod and throw some powder, or dust into the air while taking a flash photo just to see how the “orbs” will look in your photo. This will also give you some idea of how the flash, lens ratio works – We at Eidolon Paranormal have done our own experiments with dust, and other objects to see for ourselves that the majority of photos out there are dust or other contaminates – Allen Tiller


Moth Orb
Moth Orb photographed in a pub in Kapunda South Australia. / Eidolon Paranormal

This photo was taken in a pub in Kapunda South Australia.

It was an effort getting a photo of a moth as it fluttered around the pool table lights…eventually I got the photo as it flew in front of a team mates jacket – and low and behold, an orb!

The Picture below has been produced by a team in the USA named. “Midnite Walkers“. Midnight Walkers went to extensive lengths to take photographs of various insects in their local region and explain how insects and incorrect camera use, or settings, can cause various shapes, or patterns that some teams, or investigators will claim to be spirits, or Angels.

Orb Composite 1
Composite picture showing the typical irregular shape and high brilliancy of insect orbs. / MidNite Walkers Paranormal Research Society.


Insect Overexposure
Composite picture showing the typical image overexposure associated with insect orbs. Originals are to the left, pictures showing overexposure are to the right. Slight overexposure shows up as coloured regions. Black central regions show heavy overexposure. / MidNite Walkers Paranormal Research Society



What is an orb? Wikipedia defines it as:

The term orb describes unexpected, typically circular artefacts that occur in flash photography — sometimes with trails indicating motion — especially common with modern compact and ultra-compact digital cameras.

Orbs are also sometimes called backscatter, orb backscatter, or near-camera reflection.

Ash Orbs
Orb examples photographed in a cemetery in 2009. / Eidolon Paranormal

In the above photograph, the ground had ash on it from a recent fire and it was beginning to rain lightly. After walking through the ash pile, kicking up dust we took the photo. Notice the red dust/red orb, the ash dust appears white/grey and blue – the rain drop appears bluish-grey and has the most density.

Orb Composite 2
Composite image of white and grey dust orbs (Image sizes have been scaled to a similar size for easer comparison). / MidNite Walkers Paranormal Research Society


Colored Dust Orbs
Composite image of coloured dust orbs (Image sizes have been scaled to a similar size for easer comparison). / MidNite Walkers Paranormal Research Society

Eidolon Paranormal also conducted some experiments within controlled conditions (as mentioned earlier on this page) here a few of our “controlled orb experiment” photos.

White Sugar Orbs
The “Orbs” in this photo are actually white sugar. / Eidolon Paranormal
Drinking Chocolate Powder Orbs
The “Orbs” in this photo are actually hot drinking chocolate powder. / Eidolon Paranormal
Aerosol Orbs
The “Orbs” in this photo are caused by the spray from aerosol can. / Eidolon Paranormal

A few of you may be wondering why we chose these, and other house hold items, it was purely because they were controllable with differing mass, liquidity, and weight, and all would react in differing ways within the field off the camera flash.

Random Orb shots taken by Eidolon Paranormal team members

Insects, rain, dust, light refractions….or spirits?

Interesting Orb
This photo is taken in Infra-red night vision on a standard wild-game camera. We have no explanation at this point as to why the “arrow” shape appears on the top of the orb. / Eidolon Paranormal
Blue Orb 1
This “Orb” is from a photo taken at St Johns Cemetery. / Eidolon Paranormal
Blue Orb 2
This “Orb” has a peculiar shape, we believe it to be an insect moving at high velocity from left to right of shot. / Eidolon Paranormal

The images used in this article remain the property of Eidolon Paranormal and MidNite Walkers Paranormal Research Society.


  1. Hi, were specialists concerning orbs in France. I can explain what it is. I studied it. Ability to see real orbs depends on the person who take the picture. I give explanations and can come and explain it… it is expensive but you will be informed after my conference. Bye

  2. I’ve seen orbs before. Most recently yesterday evening 6/10/18. My family and my son’s friend were seated in our living room, just talking, when a white wisp caught my attention. I turned to look and noticed my husband was also watching this white, wispy, jellyfish-like thing propel itself upwards and then just disappear. “Did you see that?” I asked. “I’m not sure what I just saw,” he replied. “What did it look like?” I asked. He hesitated before replying, “A small white-ish, jellyfish-type…. thing.” No one else saw it. However, about a year ago I was at the kitchen sink grabbing a couple of forks or spoons, as we were about to sit down to dinner, when I suddenly realized my whole family had gone silent. I turned to look at them and realized they were all looking up at the ceiling where the wall and ceiling met. There, a blackish-brown cloudy mass, no bigger than a baseball, strewn through with what appeared to be crackling static electricity, floated and quietly churned. I looked away from it at my family’s faces. “What is that?” I asked. They said it had floated out of the kitchen when I stepped in and was now just hanging out there on the ceiling. I walked up to it and reached up towards it and it seemed to at once dissipate and recede till it was no longer there. Not sure what either of these things were, but glad I wasn’t the only one to witness them as in the past I’ve been the only one awake to see something similar.

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