Can a camera REALLY capture your aura and real the true you?

It is the latest wacky wellness trend but we discover if a camera can REALLY capture your aura and real the true you?

  • Aura photography was pioneered by Californian entrepreneur Guy Coggins
  • READ MORE: Holly Willoughby’s brand Wylde Moon promotes aura cleansing 

Ever wondered what colour your aura is? The latest obsession in the wacky world of wellness is ‘aura photography’.

Social media is lit up with people sharing insights into their character and state of mind from a ‘photograph’ of their aura — a ghostly, multicoloured halo conjured by a special camera and electrical sensors.

Taylor Swift mentions hers in her song Bejeweled; ‘aura manicures’ are trending on TikTok (real aficionados get their nails painted to match their own personal rainbow), while Gwyneth Paltrow has revealed her ethereal cloud of yellow and green signified, among other things, optimism, generosity and perfectionism. Of course it did.

Aura photography was pioneered in the 1970s by Californian entrepreneur Guy Coggins, whose AuraCam 3000 captured what enthusiasts believe is a genuine emanation of the kind clairvoyants have long claimed to see without mechanical aid.

Translating electrical charges picked up via a person’s hands into a spectrum of colours, the camera then superimposes the ‘aura’ over a portrait photograph taken at the same time.

Aura photography was pioneered in the 1970s by Californian entrepreneur Guy Coggins (stock image)

The result, it is claimed, is a 2D representation of the ‘chakric energies’ — you might know the concept from yoga — flowing through a person at a particular moment of time, and thus their innermost feelings and desires.

Part psychotherapy, part psychic consultation, aura readings are a red-hot trend. But what did our writers think? Could sceptics be converted? 

What did the spectral clouds tell them about who they really are? And why did one writer emerge baffled by the contraption’s recording of an emotion it couldn’t possibly have just guessed?

I look like Kate Bush as an alien

By Jane Fryer

I place my hand on the sensor, which measures electrical charge, while Laura takes a photo of my head and shoulders. Pictured: Jane Fryer

There are many things Gwyneth Paltrow has that the rest of us do not. An extraordinarily toned set of abs, multi-million-pound lifestyle brand and the killer stealth wealth wardrobe that we all admired during her recent court case.

Sadly, most of it is beyond our means. Even her famous vagina-scented candle costs £60.

But her enthusiasm for ‘aura reading’ is rather more accessible. For £35, it takes just 15 minutes to discover whether your ‘radiant energy’ (or electromagnetic field) is a hot red, creative orange, compassionate green, thoughtful blue or a veritable rainbow of colours like Gwynnie’s.

This insight into your personality traits — the next big thing in self-nurturing, apparently — is carried out using a special camera, a small silver-laced hand sensor and some software fed into the iPad of my American aura reader Laura Childs.

‘It is tech meets entry-level spirituality and greater self-awareness,’ she says. It’s also wonderfully quick.

I place my hand on the sensor, which measures electrical charge, while Laura takes a photo of my head and shoulders. After barely five seconds, up pops my radiant energy on her screen.

‘Ooh! Big aura today!’ she cries. ‘Very green. Really green, in fact. And yellow.’

She flips the screen to show me looking rather queasy in a sea of what looks like ectoplasm.

‘Green is where we find balance and empathy,’ she says, adding it can also mean I want everyone to be happy and am social, communicative, value close-knit family and have a strong sense of community.

Which is all very pleasing. Unlike tarot reading, there are no scary predictions in aura reading, no Grim Reaper clutching his dreary old scythe. (Though a pal of mine had an aura that came out totally black, which doesn’t sound that cheery.)

Laura prints out a photo of my aura. The SLC Studio in East London is one of the few places you can have it photographed in the UK and people travel from all over for 15 minutes with Laura.

(If you’re not in London, try Aura Energetics in Glastonbury, Somerset,; The Brighton Wellbeing Clinic, thebrightonwell; Feathers Academy in Cheshire,; or Aura Cleanse in Edinburgh,

She explains that this is just a snapshot of my aura, right now. It changes according to our energy and is affected by external factors, so mine is likely to be skewed by the massive row I had ten minutes earlier with an estate agent. And would be similarly affected by the calming presence of my dog on my lap, or a fat win on the lottery.

Laura turns to the slash of vibrant yellow that appears over the chakra in the solar plexus. (Chakras are spiritual energy centres in the body.)

‘This is your gut feeling. Intuition. You know what feels right and wrong. You know what you want and don’t want,’ says Laura. ‘Or . . . it could signify indecisiveness and lack of confidence. It can sort of go either way.’

Meanwhile, the dome above the head represents our state of consciousness. If you’re burnt out or tired, it would be shallow — flat almost. Whereas mine is beautifully arched, showing a strong sense of self and openness. It is yellow, for logic and intellectualism, all of which I rather like the sound of.

Afterwards, on the train, as I sit admiring my steeple-high aura in the takeaway photo, I wonder — is it all a load of old rubbish, or is there any accuracy in my green and yellow veil? Because much of Laura’s reading does ring surprisingly true. I am mad about family and friends, love a bit of community — the allotment, church, school, street. Or, as my husband puts it: ‘You’re a total busybody.’

Though, sadly, no one has ever described me as either logical or intellectual. Laura says it’s ‘self-exploration’. Maybe, but I still look like I’m sitting in a gigantic sulphurous fart. My pals are more positive: ‘Wow! Great album cover. Sort of Kate Bush as an alien.’

For another tenner you can buy a crystal from Laura. I chose a long, thin, beige one that might help link me to the dead. Or might not.

Mine is a weird nuclear green

By Harry Wallop

So what does my aura reveal? First of all, there is nothing above my head. Gywneth Paltrow had a full rainbow. Pictured: Harry Wallop

I think I am meant to look ethereal and spiritual. In reality, I look like the Ready Brek kid, after he has spent too long in the Chernobyl fallout zone. Half of me is glowing orange, the other a weird, nuclear green.

Welcome to the strange world of aura photography.

I went to the studio with an open mind. Truly. After all, I have had acupuncture and believe it helped me with a trapped nerve — even though I know it is not fully backed up by science.

So what does my aura reveal? First of all, there is nothing above my head. Gywneth Paltrow had a full rainbow.

‘It is a little bit shallow here; that can be a little bit of tiredness, maybe almost burned out,’ says Laura.

Well, it’s certainly true I am tired a lot of the time, but surely Laura could spot that the moment I, a father of four with a full-time job, walked in through the door.

It gets more interesting when she starts analysing the green colour. There’s a lot of talk of my heart.

‘Things related to the heart can relate to heartbreak and grief on one side of the spectrum and falling in love on the other side,’ she says in her gentle, Californian accent.

I had, in fact, learnt of the death of a family friend just a few hours earlier, news that had hit me surprisingly hard. Had this contraption somehow managed to record this?

We then move on to the orange.

‘It relates to creativity, sensuality, sexuality, the desire to pursue things that are pleasurable,’ says Laura.

Why is it a murky, dingy orange, not a zesty Jaffa orange? Does that mean I have stopped being open to adventure? ‘It’s open to interpretation,’ says Laura. ‘It can mean a lot of things.’ Umm, OK.

‘Ultimately, that is for you to take home with you and decide,’ she adds.

Ah, so aura photography is a woo-woo Rorschach experiment — the psychological test that uses your interpretation of inkblot designs to assess personality traits and emotional tendencies.

It shows you what you want it to show. Do you want it to show you to be lethargic and lacking in vision? Or energetic and spiritual? You decide.

But if you have spent £35 on a picture, I imagine most people believe their aura really does exist. I remain unconvinced.

Giant aura means I have star power

By Claudia Connell

It’s on the left that my aura shows a flash of pinkish white, which shows that I am in tune with my spirituality. Pictured: Claudia Connell

Who doesn’t want to be told that they light up a room? That the minute they enter, everyone else’s world gets a little brighter?

That’s what Laura says after taking a photograph of my aura.

Mainly orange, with a touch of red and pink, the shape goes high above my head and stretches wide on either side of me.

‘People will absolutely sense your energy when you enter a space,’ she says.

To prove her point, she shows me photos of other people with weedy little auras that aren’t a patch on mine.

On the downside, she tells me my energy is a little conflicted. Orange, the dominant colour, represents my willingness to try new things, while the red can mean I am also drawn to safety, security and the familiar.

I can relate to that. I often tell myself I am going to try something new and exciting and then . . . can’t be bothered. Take the time I decided to learn Spanish, booked myself on to a course and then didn’t go to the first lesson because there was no parking and I didn’t fancy a long walk.

When it comes to the aura on either side of me, the left represents the internal, the stuff we keep inside ourselves, while the right displays the energy we want others to see.

And it’s on the left that my aura shows a flash of pinkish white, which shows that I am in tune with my spirituality.

‘That spirituality could mean you feel connected to the universe or have an affinity with nature or religion,’ says Laura.

None of that sounds very me but, as it’s only a hint of pink, perhaps my spirituality is a work in progress?

I notice others have green auras, linked to the heart chakra and representing compassion. I have no trace of green, so does that mean I’m heartless?

Laura assures me it doesn’t and that people who have too many colours are often confused and chaotic. Additionally, shape and colour can vary over time.

As I leave, I decide I have enjoyed the experience — it’s fun and entertaining — but nothing more. That said, I can’t help but feel a bit smug about my giant, orange aura.

It couldn’t spot my hangover!

By Katie Glass

Having recently started a new relationship, I’m expecting a pretty, pink, heart-centred aura. Instead, what I get is a Hare Krishna orange. Pictured: Katie Glass

I am in Glastonbury, the British mecca of spirituality, stocking up on essential oils, when I get the call asking if I want to have my aura read. Er, obviously, yes! I’m familiar with aura readings having grown up in this hippy corner of Somerset. I arrive for my aura reading with a hangover. A Taurus, I celebrated my birthday the day before my reading. Is this going to mess up my karma?

‘People who are hungover can have an aura that’s a little bit shallower on the top,’ warns Laura, explaining that tiredness can make the colours we project less vibrant. I put on my best grin and try to channel my most uplifted self.

Having recently started a new relationship, I’m expecting a pretty, pink, heart-centred aura. Instead, what I get is a Hare Krishna orange.

‘That’s very orange’, Laura says.

She tells me the vibrancy of my aura suggests a powerful ‘life-force’, while its egg shape, with its pointy top, indicates a strongly-burning internal flame, thankfully not quelled by my hangover.

The bright orange, she continues, emanates from the ‘sacral chakra’, located below the navel in the womb and hips, and represents the creation of new life and new projects. The zestiness of my orange suggests someone creative, open-minded and curious, with a strong desire to explore, most specifically in pursuit of pleasure.

This sounds like me to a tee and is especially familiar having spent the past two days dashing around London celebrating my birthday with cocktails and sightseeing.

Orange dominates my aura but it does have a touch of bright yellow too, reflecting the solar plexus chakra, a fire element indicating personal power and confidence. It’s a mix that suggests someone action-oriented and filled with ideas.

‘Someone who wants to make decisions and knows the right decision for them,’ says Laura.

This also rings true. After a few years of flailing around trying to ‘find myself’, as I turn 42, I now feel I know what I want and need to do.

What rings truest of all is what my orange aura suggests about embracing challenges.

Having moved to the countryside during lockdown, I’ve stayed positive through the endless challenges of a new environment and renovating an old cottage.

It’s the house that took me to Glastonbury, and it feels good that my aura reading captures where I want to be.

It feels like my soul is being read

By Liz Jones

It’s no less nightmarish when I see the image of my slightly alarmed face surrounded by orange and yellow light in a pyramid shape. Pictured: Liz Jones

I hate having my photo taken and yet today, I’m not just submitting to a headshot, I’m allowing my energy, my very soul, to be documented.

It’s no less nightmarish when I see the image of my slightly alarmed face surrounded by orange and yellow light in a pyramid shape.

Though there’s good news. Apparently, everything above the ears represents consciousness, so my high aura means I’m quite energetic and forceful (a flat shape would mean a person feels depleted). It’s true: I can be very determined.

Laura says orange indicates I’m adventurous and open to finding stories (hmm, she knows I’m a writer). It also tells me I have lots of ideas, which is also true: I have recently written a play.

Yellow, meanwhile, denotes power, intellect, generosity and playfulness. An impressive combination. But while the yellow shines brightly on my left, my ‘yin’ side, which is where ideas are manifested, it’s weaker on the right, the ‘yang’ or action space, which tells Laura I have yet to act on my ideas, as there is indecision.

This isn’t true: I sent the play to a producer.

A weaker right side also means I’m introverted (true) and lack optimism (currently true).

As for the other qualities, while I’m indeed generous, I’m the least playful person you’ve ever met. Interestingly, I don’t have any red, which is about having a stable home: correct, as I’m still renting. ‘What we’re seeing today is a snapshot of where your head is currently at,’ she says.

I ask how I can use my reading to help me — will my ideas work, will I earn money, buy a home? — but am told it’s not a predictive tool. It’s about being reflective, taking a pause and being self-aware.

Reading my booklet on the way home, I wonder why I showed no tan colour, which is far more me: organised, highly intelligent but cautious. Or green, which is about being ambitious, a perfectionist, someone who works long, hard hours. Absolutely me.

Crucially, given I lost a loved one only 24 hours before, my aura didn’t show a trace of grief. Once again, I’m left questioning the wellness industry.

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