Double exposure tips
16 Double Exposure Photography Tips for Creating Cool Photos
There will be times when your scenes don’t have that wow factor. This is where double exposure photography can help. It is a creative way to make your photography and scene more interesting.
Read on for 16 of my favourite double exposure effect tips. These have inspired me to look at my photos from a new perspective.
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What Is Double Exposure Photography?
Double exposure photography refers to merging multiple images. The goal is to make them surreal, emotional, or humorous.
The double exposure effect may look complicated at first. But it’s easy to make in-camera and in Adobe Photoshop. You don’t need a double exposure camera, as there are a few other ways you can create them.
Traditionally, you would expose the same piece twice, creating a double image. But modern editing software means you don’t have to rely on analogue cameras to create double exposure images.
In the editing world, you have endless possibilities to combine images. You can transform ordinary photographs into powerful masterpieces.© Anna Maghradze
1. Using the Tilt-Shift Effect (No Extra Equipment Needed!)
You don’t need to invest in a tilt-shift lens to achieve this effect. Photoshop has a great tilt-shift tool that will transform your photos into soft works of art.
If you want to be extra creative, blur one of your photos instead of the entire image. Or blur everything except for one important detail. To add this feature, go to Filter > Blur Gallery > Tilt-Shift.
2. Create a Fake Reflection
There are many ways you can create reflections. One of them is creating a double exposure with the help of a separate window photo.
Take photos of different reflections. Merge them with photos of people, animals, or simple objects. This will create moody—often abstract—photos that will add a spark to your portfolio.
I love photos of surfaces with raindrops and bokeh, as you can see. They help to add interesting textures to my multiple exposure photography.
3. Create a Double Exposure Diptych
Diptychs are photo collages made of two separate images. These are a dream come true for those who love artistic photography. You can take these collages to the next level with the help of double exposures.
If you have two double exposures you’re happy with, see if they complement each other. Place them side by side to create a double exposure diptych if they do. Two, in this case, is much better than one. This is a great way to show off those multiple exposure photos.
4. Experiment With Simple Portraits and Detailed Textures
If you don’t know what to do with a simple portrait, merge it with a photo of detailed textures. Sand, raindrops, rocks, wood, etc., are ideal for this. Combining something plain with something complicated will give you a balanced result. It will also save a lot of simple photos that you might discard. I have saved hundreds of photos to experiment on. Those spontaneous creations are some of my most popular double exposure effects.
5. Convert Your Results to B&W
A lack of colour will strengthen the emotions in your double-exposure images. If you want to express yourself in a vulnerable way, experiment with this.
I love converting my double exposure images to black and white. It gives them a unique depth and allows me to experiment with something akin to film photography.
6. Combine Two Things That Mean a Lot to You
Nothing has as much impact as an image of something meaningful. For example, nature is something I care about. My love for biology and the world inspires me to work with details that reflect these passions. Because of this, I often include nature in my double-exposure images.
What do you love? Is there a way you could combine your interests with the help of this technique?
7. Start a Themed Double Exposure Project
Think of a photo series based on a specific theme. This can be plants, architecture, family, a season, and so on. Don’t choose something too advanced. Challenging yourself too much will discourage you. Instead, find a theme that speaks to you and gives you the perfect amount of obstacles to overcome.
8. Work With Silhouettes
Many double exposure photographers choose to work with silhouettes. But what if you worked with silhouettes only? It would give you a fun and doable challenge. And an opportunity to show very creative sides of yourself. Try silhouettes of yourself, other people, or random objects. Anything else that catches your eye can create unique composite images.
9. Express an Emotion Through Self-Portraiture
Try a self-portrait double exposure. Sometimes I create emotional double exposures. I tend to combine portraits with photos of nature that speak to me for those.
Feeling lost reminds me of lonely roads, while joy makes me think about the summer. You may have completely different associations with these emotions. This is exactly why you should experiment!
10. Merge Two Photos of the Same Person
Two images of the same person in one photo can express confusion, curiosity, or a search for meaning. If these topics inspire you, you’ll have lots of fun with this idea. Don’t be afraid of going the extra mile. As you can see in the photo below, I merged two photos in only one area. And then I converted my results to black & white.
11. Pick Two Random Photos
If you want to have fun, merge a few random photos. I do this when I have interesting photos that I’m not sure what to do with. A random process doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful. Your results might create a story of their own, which others will find encouraging. A lot of my double exposures were happy accidents. But they led to great feedback and even greater creative growth. Try and forget about any other double-exposure ideas. Shoot interesting textures, shapes and forms instead.
12. Make Simple Objects Look Fascinating
Take photos of everyday objects you usually take for granted. Try to make them look like something else. A silhouette of a dull-looking building could become the outline of a starry sky like the photo below. This technique will enhance your imagination.
13. Use an Animal Silhouette
People and objects are often featured in double exposures. If you want to stand out, create a double exposure with photos of animals. Though the results of this experiment may not end up in your portfolio, they’ll let you have lots of fun.
If you don’t own a pet or have any photos of animals, try using a free use stock photography website. There, you’ll have access to thousands of free photos to add to your experiments.
14. Merge Two Double Exposures
This is great for those who enjoy experimenting with many elements at once. The results may look messy at first. But a few adjustments will result in something abstract and striking.
When I merge several double-exposures, I tend to use photos that have similar colours. This usually guarantees that the results won’t look too dramatic. If this isn’t possible for you, change the opacity of one of the double exposures or use the tilt-shift tool.
15. Instead of a Silhouette, Use a Shadow
Outlines of any kind are fantastic to work with for double-exposure photography. Shadows are as effective as silhouettes in this genre. They’re fascinating to work with.
Take a photo of someone’s shadow and transform it into a story. You can do anything your heart desires with outlines of this sort. All you have to do is go out, take photos of a few shadows, and turn them into something beautiful.
16. Let Others Know What Makes You Laugh
Double-exposure photography is often associated with serious and emotional topics. But it doesn’t always have to lack humour. What makes you smile or laugh? This can be a season, a family member, or something completely different. You can use your sources of happiness to make something that will put a smile on someone else’s face.
When it comes to double exposure, almost anything is possible.
If you want to succeed, keep these three rules in mind:
- Acknowledge that the editing process will be challenging. Some photos won’t look good together no matter how hard you try.
- Let it go and try something else if a composition doesn’t work.
- Your hard work will pay off. Work with as many photos as you can, and believe in your vision.
All you need is your photos, Photoshop (it gives you more control than Lightroom), and some free time.
Try making a double exposure effect with the ideas above and share them with our community. We’d love to see your results!
Double Exposure photography is one of the topics we cover in our creative photography course, Wow Factor Photography.
Tips & Tricks for Creating Double Exposures That Rock
Double exposure is a technique that has been used by many photographers for years. It combines photographic skills, imagination and creativity.
So what exactly is a double exposure?
Simply put, double exposure is a combination of two different images in one frame to create a unique photo. Taking double exposures means overlaying or superimposing two exposures in one frame.
In creating double exposures, a photographer can combine a nature scene with a city scene, or a portrait with greens from a park. The idea is to come up with thought provoking, awe-inspiring and unique photos that will make people marvel at the level of imagination and creativity of the photographer. Most double exposure photos come out as dramatic, dreamlike or avant-garde (just like a painting).
Creating a double exposure photo normally requires one to take an initial round of shots and then a second round to create the superimposed images. Years ago, this was done using a film camera and a dark room for developing the images. DSLR photographers can easily also come up with double exposures, although not all digital cameras have this function or capability.
In a DSLR camera, creating a double exposure image can be done with the help of several camera settings. As previously mentioned, though, this function is not available in all DSLRs (and those functions may be available in other types of cameras such as mirrorless cameras). Some of those that can be used for double exposures include Canon and Nikon DSLRs; the OM-D line of cameras by Olympus; the X-Pro1/2, X-T1/2 and X100 cameras by Fujifilm; the A6X and A7 cameras by Sony; and so many more.
Changing your camera’s settings to get double exposures may sound easy, but there are actually other things to consider aside from that. As such, it is important to know the basic tips to follow when shooting double exposures, especially if you are a first timer.
Photo by Richard P J Lambert
Shooting Double Exposures With A Film Camera
Whether you’re using a digital or the traditional film camera, you need to be absolutely sure that you have the right equipment. So, this is the first thing that you need to consider. Next, check your photoshoot location.
Come up with a shot list or a prospect for the shots you are going to take. Be sure to specify which ones are initial shots and which ones are the second shots. Additionally, you have to check the weather forecast for the day of your shoot. This will help you determine if you need to bring extra equipment and if you need to do some adjustments with your planned shots.
Before you start shooting, remember that everything in photography is unplanned. Even the most choreographed photo session often sways from the original plan. So, keep your shot list with you, but always be ready to innovate and think out-of-the-box.
You will be shooting two images with your old school camera. The first image will be your primary subject, while the second image will be the supporting or supplementary. Normally, first images have the light or sun behind them. The second image, on the other hand, can either be a landscape, figures, flowery items or a textured backdrop.
Decide which images you want to be primary and secondary and try to imagine what they will look like when superimposed. This will give you an idea of how to execute the shot.
Now, you’re ready to shoot!
Since you are using an old school camera, you will be shooting on film. Thus, you have to set the ISO to 200 to 400. In addition, since you will be exposing the film two times, you have to underexpose it by one stop.
Once your camera is set, shoot one whole roll of first images. These will be your silhouettes. After finishing the roll, rewind it and then reload. You are not yet ready to shoot over the silhouettes. If you want to take note of your shots, have a pen and paper ready so you can write down and describe the images you took.
Carefully develop your roll of film in the dark room. It’s safer if you do the developing yourself as commercial developers might not print the superimposed photos (because not all of them actually know what these are).
Shooting Double Exposures With a Digital Camera
As previously mentioned, it is important to have the right equipment before going out to shoot. For digital camera double exposure shoots, having a shutter release cable, a flash and a tripod will greatly help. Likewise, be sure to bring with you a plain black or white cloth or anything that can be used as a backdrop.
The next thing you should do is find out where your camera’s multiple exposure features or settings are. You have to be familiar with how it works. It will be a good idea to read the user’s manual and to do a simple research online. It will also help if you practice before going on an actual shoot. You can do this at home or anywhere you want to, as long as you are able to practice using two images in one frame.
What you can do with the images depend a lot on the type of digital camera you use. For example, the Canon 5D Mark III is more flexible than most DSLRs because you can shoot more than two exposures in one image. On the other hand, there are DSLRs with limitations. Take time to study your camera and familiarize its functions.
Once you are familiar with your camera, it’s time to shoot. Set your DSLR to Multiple Exposure mode and start shooting the first image or layer. You can also choose to use an image already saved in your memory card.
The next step is for you to shoot your second image. Be sure to position and frame it well so it does not cover the entirety of your first image. The two images should blend well. To do this, experiment with the angles so you’ll know which scenes complement each other well. Do not be afraid to experiment; this is what double exposures are all about.
Some Tips & Tricks to Remember
The actual steps for taking double exposures may be simple, but you will still need to follow some tips and consider some tricks that can help you.
- Although there are no set rules for double exposure photography, it is important to follow some techniques. For example, you need to know that using lighter or brighter subjects is not recommended because this will affect the details of the image. Instead, use darker scenes or subjects. The best advice? Use silhouettes. They work best for double exposures.
- However, it is also important to go a little extraordinary. You can, for instance, use a dark silhouette over a bright or shining white background. The effect will be quite dramatic, with the white washing out the image and creating an interesting scene.
- You can also choose to shoot double exposures that come out like ghostly apparitions. To do this, simply position your subject away from the frame. This will create a translucent illusion.
- Of course, some DSLR photographers, especially those who are busy, prefer to create double exposures with the help of a software. But, where’s the fun in that? It’s always exciting to try out something new in photography.
If you want to make really good, thought provoking, innovative and awe-inspiring double exposures, start practicing now. As they say, practice makes perfect, right?
The secret to creating the perfect multiple exposure is revealed! Lomographyeight 75
Multiple exposure or ME is the main effect in lomography. It's fun, creative and often leads to incredible results, fantastic shots. But multiple exposure isn't just about pressing the button twice. There are some technical details to keep in mind. This tip contains a guide on how to get the perfect multiple exposure shot for beginners and no longer completely new to lomography.
I first got into lomography with Holg's TIM (Twin image maker). I was dying to experiment with double exposures, , but my shots never came out the way I intended, and that disheartened me. . In most cases, they were either overexposed to such an extent that it was difficult to understand what was depicted there, or it was just a mess of two shots. Here is an example of an overexposed double exposure. This happens when too much light hits the film. Note that the picture is washed out, the colors are faded, and the contrast between the two shots is barely discernible.
Expose your film correctly
The light hits the film twice - this is the meaning of "double exposure". That's why if you don't set up your camera properly, you'll overexpose the film! Your camera has "sunny", "cloudy", "overcast" settings. These are, in fact, aperture settings. The aperture is the hole through which light enters the camera to “record” the image on film. The “sunny” setting is the smallest aperture and the “cloudy” setting is the largest to let in more light. To prevent overexposure, switch to the next smaller aperture before shooting.
When it's cloudy, set your camera to sunny mode if you want to double exposure.
On cloudy days, set the mode to cloudy.
You might be worried, because most Lomo cameras have 3 aperture settings and only one shutter speed (the length of time the shutter opens to let in light and expose the film). What to do if it's very sunny and you can't switch to the next smaller aperture ? Do not worry, because the film allows some degree of overexposure. This means that even if you overexpose the film, the picture will still not be blurry and detail will be retained to some extent. But take into account that black and white film can "forgive" the greatest degree of overexposure. Color negative film is more tolerant of overexposure than slide film, while slide film tolerates a minimal amount of overexposure.
Look at the picture above. This photo was taken on a sunny day when I was in the port of East Misamis in the Philippines. Since my Holga does not have a “very sunny” aperture mode, I could not switch to a smaller aperture. And so I overexposed the film. The boat was rusty, but you can hardly see any signs of rust in the photo. In addition, the picture looks too bright. But in general, it looks good, because my film can tolerate some degree of overexposure.
One shot dominating another
Now that you know the principles of correct film exposure, you can safely "play" with aperture settings. When you are taking a multiple exposure photo and want your first frame to be sharper and more dominant in the final shot, you need to set to two different aperture values for shots. For example, take a shot at the cloudy aperture, and then take a second shot at the sunny aperture. A shot taken with the "cloudy" setting will be sharper and brighter than one taken with the "sunny" setting, which will look almost ghostly, implicit.
Here open up unlimited scope for creativity. Above is a photograph of a tuk-tuk, a vehicle used in Bangkok. This is a great way to move (to move) on busy streets.
Munich Airport? No, never been there. I don't even have a visa. This is a photo of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. I took a photo of the airport, lowered the aperture, and removed the sign that said "Munich Airport".
Plan your photo
As I said, double exposure is not just pressing the shutter button more than once. It takes a little (or a lot) to plan the shot. Have you seen the winning photos in the Multiple Exposure competition? It wasn't just random double exposures. Here's what to remember:
Imagine how your photo will turn out. Ask yourself the question: how do you combine photo A with photo B to get photo C? Avoid merging two shots that are overloaded with details , you end up with a doubly overloaded photo.
What a mess!
If you really want to merge 2 overloaded photos, then follow the previous tip and make one frame more dominant than the other.
- Pay attention to dark areas and shadows in your pictures.
- Pay attention to dark areas and shadows in your pictures.
Do you notice dark areas and shadows in your pictures? We need to go into more detail on this, because it's probably the strongest move in your arsenal of Multiple Exposure Tricks.
Let's start with a photo of Boris the puppy. Boris is a Boston Terrier. They are widely known to the public for their black and white coloration, which resembles a tuxedo. Take a closer look at the photo, do you see how Boris's black color allows the details of the second shot to break through to the surface? Shadows, blacks and other dark colors allow details in the second shot to come through . In the photo above, you can definitely see the tiles and wood floor against Boris's black wool.
How can this be applied to your Lomos? With a little planning, you'll get stunning double exposures.
The first photo is a picture of a person. I made it in a dark room, illuminating the model with red light. This way I managed to get a lot of shadows on the first frame. Taking into account the location of the shadows in the picture, I took the second frame and voila! Photo of a half-lion, half-human with shadows.
- Lighter parts show through
And here is a photo of another person who is inside the leaf, as if in a trap. The photo of the man was also taken in a dark room with red lighting, which created a lot of shadows in the photo. The second picture is a sheet. I made it glow and shine by lighting it from behind. Note that the leaf veins are very bright. This allowed the veins to show through the first photo, especially on the right, even though there are very thick shadows in that part of the image.
Here are the tips and tricks I came up with during the first 4 months of my experiments with lomography. I'm sharing them so that novices to lomography don't waste as much film as I did. But above all, I share tips to help lomographers become more creative photographers. Remember that lomography is an artistic and experimental form of photography. Don't limit yourself to the tips I've given, challenge yourself to discover the other nuances of multiple exposure photography!
Have you ever tried to combine long exposures, flash and macro in one photo?
I'm sure you can think of other tricks that are important when shooting multiple exposures, why don't you share them here with all of us?
written by paperplanepilot on 2011-12-08 #gear #tutorials #art #shadows #tips #tutorial #exposure #mx #guidelines #guide #tipster #ghost #multiple #tricks #beginners #image
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Find Out More About
7 experienced photographers share the secrets of multiple exposure
Sometimes a photo story cannot be told in one shot. A multiple exposure image consisting of two or more shots is a distraction from reality and a retreat into the unknown. Try to use the tips of seven professional photographers in your work to master the art of multiple exposure.
- "Great exercise to do a double exposure in camera first." Beata Angyalosi
Photographer: Beata Angyalosi.
Photo of a deer.
Equipment: Canon 6D camera, Sigma 85mm f1.4 lens. Settings: exposure 1/4000 s; f/1.4; ISO 250.
Equipment: Canon 6D camera, Canon 200mm f2.8 lens. Settings: exposure 1/320 s; f/8; ISO 500
The photographer spends a lot of time outdoors and lives in Romania, where illegal logging destroys the homes of many animals. She wanted to create a painting that would convey the importance of preserving animal habitats. Because the photographer wanted an image with a mood, she paired a misty pine forest in Slovenia with a portrait of a deer with beautiful antlers that resemble roots.
Photographer: Beata Angialosi
A great exercise is to first take a double exposure in the camera. Usually you should photograph your main subject against a clear background. With the second image, you can complement the dark parts of the object. When you create a double exposure in Photoshop, you want images that blend well together. Use the Multiple and Screen options on layers, they are very simple.
Beata also occasionally applies clipping masks depending on the theme and how it fits the image.
- "Browse through all available Youtube video tutorials and read all the tips you can find." Anna Efetova
Photographer: Anna Efetova.
Photo of the ocean.
Equipment: Canon 5D Mark III camera, Canon 100mm lens, 2.8L. Settings: exposure 1/4000 s; f/2.8; ISO 100.
Equipment: Canon 5D Mark II camera, Canon 50mm 1.4 lens. Settings: exposure 1/125 s; f/10; ISO 100
The photographer first saw the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal. A few days later, she visited a place called Nazare, which is famous for having the biggest waves in the world. The sight touched Anna to the core. At any moment in time, she can close her eyes and be in this place. Photo about this feeling.
Photographer: Anna Efetova
Creating a good image can take several hours. Browse all available video tutorials on the topic on Youtube and read all the tips you can find. A multiple exposure shot is primarily about feelings and sensations, but how can you express your feelings without having the skills? First learn the technique, and then everything else.
- "The secret to a good multiple exposure image is many layers, maybe even up to forty." Ariadne de Raadt
Photographer: Ariadna de Raadt.
Equipment: FUJIFILM X-T1, XF 18-135mm F.3.5-5.6R. Lens LM OIS WR.
Settings: focal length 135 mm; shutter speed 1/340 s; f/5.6; ISO 200
For a long time, the photographer was attracted by the idea of capturing the chaotic movement of people in a mass, without paying attention to any particular character. The multiple exposure method is ideal for this idea. This image was taken from a jetty one evening on a North Sea beach in the Netherlands.
The secret to good multiple exposures is many layers. Do not shoot them all from one place, change the angle. The main components in multiple exposure are composition and light.
The photographer usually shoots in RAW format because it preserves all the details. The most exciting moment for her is when all the photos are imported into layers in one Photoshop file. You need to use different opacity and blending modes (screen, soft light or multiply) before settling on something specific.
Photographer: Ariadne de Raadt.
Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera; EF 24-105mm f/L IS USM. Lens settings: exposure 1/340-600 s; f/5.6-6; ISO 100
- "Think about the story you want to tell, not just the visual appeal. Start shooting from there." Igor Sinkov
Photographer: Igor Sinkov
Eye. Equipment: Nikon D7100 camera, Tamron 90 mm 2.8 lens. Settings: exposure 1/160 s; F/7.1; ISO 100.
City. Equipment: Nikon D5000 camera, Nikon 18-55mm lens. Settings: focal length 18mm; shutter speed 2.5 s; f/9; ISO 200
Igor came up with this multi-concept image to be able to tell many stories and cover dozens of topics. This image is about modern life in the big city, spirituality, mental health, growing up and responsibility, security, the future, technology, dreams and more.
Photographer: Igor Sinkov
You need to have a clear concept behind every multiple exposure image. Take a break from this. When you shoot a portrait, there should be a darker side and a lighter side of the face so you can play with the layer blend modes in post. Igor usually uses the Screen blending mode for landscapes and city shots. Once you've composed your images, you can use masks to highlight what's important. Remember: black hides and white shows.
- "When creating a multiple exposure, use Photoshop's basic tools (crop, transparency, blend modes, transform) to make the process as easy as possible." Alexey Poprotsky
Photographer: Alexey Poprotsky
Forest. Equipment: Nikon 800D camera, Nikon AF-S 24-85 f/3.5-4G ED VR lens. Settings: focal length 72mm; shutter speed 1/400 s; f4.5; ISO 200.
Hiker. Equipment: Canon 7D camera, Canon 17-40 f/4L lens. Settings: focal length 30mm; shutter speed 1/800 s; f4; ISO 400.
Mountain. Equipment: Nikon 800D camera, Nikon AF-S 24-85 f/3.5-4G ED VR lens. Settings: focal length 75mm; shutter speed 1/400 s; f4.5; ISO 200
This photograph was born out of the photographer's love for nature. The idea was to get a forest, a mountain and a person in the frame - and nothing else. Mankind is subject to the power of nature.
Photographer: Alexey Poprotsky
When creating a multiple exposure, use the basic tools in Photoshop (crop, transparency, blend modes, transform) to make the process as easy as possible.
- "Combine your images together using Photoshop's blend modes: Screen, Multiply, Lighten, Soft Light and Overlay." zaozaa19 (Porapak)
Photographer: zaozaa19 (Porapak)
Equipment: Fujifilm X A2 camera, Fujifilm 16-50mm lens. Settings: exposure 1/125 s; f/2.8; ISO 200
Photographer: zaozaa19 (Porapak)
When combining people's faces with nature photos, don't forget to capture your silhouette against the white sky. Try shooting during the golden hour on a sunny day to minimize glare. For the background, think about shapes and textures that will work with your own unique style. Blend your images together using Photoshop's blend modes: Screen, Multiply, Screen, Soft Light, and Overlay.
- "It's good to think about potential multiple exposure layers when shooting." XiXinXing (Shannon Fagan)
Photographer: XiXinXing (Shannon Fagan)
Equipment: Canon 5D Mark II camera, 24-105mm F/4L USM lens.