2 Ways to Create Multiple Exposure Images

Multiple exposures—or the art of exposing a film twice—used to be a difficult thing to do. With digital photography and Photoshop, it’s a whole lot easier. If you’re wondering how to create a double exposure, this video tutorial will point you in the right direction:

There are two basic ways in which you can create multiple exposure images: in-camera and post-processing.

Creating Multiple Exposures In-Camera

Some digital cameras have a built-in function that allows you to create multiple exposures. All you have to do is to find it in the menu system. It depends on the make and model, so check the manual that came with your camera to find this setting.

how to do multiple exposures in-camera

Multiple exposure mode on the D810

With the Nikon D810, you have to go to Menu > Shooting Menu > Multiple Exposure. Make sure it is enabled and done! As Chelsea Northrup explains, some cameras allow you to select the number of exposures, which by default should be two.

The next thing is to find two subjects with contrasting exposures. Ideally, the main subject should be silhouetted which helps when you want to put the second exposure on it and make it see-through. In order to create a silhouetted image, ensure that your subject is backlit. Bringing down the exposure compensation by a stop or so will also help.

double exposures

In-Camera Double Exposure

Once you have the first image that you want to use, reset the exposure compensation so that it no longer underexposes. This ensures that you have a properly exposed second image which shows through in the final result.

Creating Multiple Exposures in Photoshop

The second option is to create a multiple exposure image in Photoshop. Select two images for this purpose. Northrup selects one blown out image and another which is properly exposed. The second image is pasted onto to the first one in Photoshop.

multiple exposure in Photoshop

You can easily create multiple exposure images in Photoshop

Select Screen so that the second image becomes see through. The next set of edits will depend on your preferences and how you wish to see the final image. Northrup creates a layer mask for the second image (flowers). Now with black selected, she paints over the eyes of the subject to clean them up.

She goes on to create a copy of the first image and another layer with a solid white background. She paints right over it, blending the two layers.

Finally, the layers are merged and cropped to leave out any aspect of the image that is not required.

photoshop multiple exposures

Post-Processed Double Exposure

Have you tried either of these techniques? Show us your results in the comments below!

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One response to “2 Ways to Create Multiple Exposure Images”

  1. justin says:

    I assume that you can’t do the post-process style of these in-camera?

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