A consistent theoretical description of the spin dynamics underlying photo-PHIP (para-hydrogen induced polarization) experiments is given and validated experimentally: spectra from zero-quantum coherence (ZQC) "in-phase" and "out-of-phase" were obtained and evolution of ZQCs and the population of singlet spin state was tracked and modeled. Data from recent literature [O. Torres et al., J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2014] are reinterpreted. Advantages of using M2S sequences such as APSOC for detecting photo-PHIP are demonstrated. A sequence for 2D ZQ spectroscopy based on APSOC is proposed and the fundamental principles of ZQ spectroscopy are formulated. This investigation opens a new way to obtain information on the sign of J-couplings using ZQ spectroscopy. The proposed method is also useful to track the redistribution of the singlet spin population in various PHIP related experiments, which is essential for efficient polarization transfer to target nuclei.