Double Exposure Photography Tips

Multiple exposure photography is a technique in which two or more images are superimposed to get one final image. Double exposure photography was discovered by accident when film failed to advance properly. Later, photographers began utilizing this technique to come up with artistic results. Digital cameras today have a function built in that helps photographers take multiple exposure photographs in-camera. David Bergman from Adorama shares some insight on how to use these built-in modes to take double exposure photographs:

Like any other artistic effects, the double exposure effect can be achieved in Photoshop in a much more controlled manner, but doing it in-camera will challenge you to think more creatively as an artist. Bergman specifically discusses his tip for Canon camera models but this feature is built into many modern cameras. Be sure to go through your camera menu or your camera manual if you have difficulty finding it.

  1. In your camera menu, look for “Multiple Exposure” and select it.
  2. You may find many modes to combine multiple images. Select “Additive” mode. In this mode, when two photos are overlaid, the brighter part of each photo wins out. Bergman shares that you can see both the exposures better if they have darker tones.
  3. For the first exposure, try to shoot against a bright background. In the video, Bergman photographs his subject by placing the bright sky as the background and filling in the subject’s face with a little bit of flash. This creates a photograph with a mixture of bright (sky and skin) and dark tones (eyes and hair).
  4. For the second exposure, try to photograph some texture, like rocks, leaves, or interesting patterns. As discussed earlier, the additive mode will blend the images so only the brighter part of the overlaid images will be visible over the darker areas of the first image. Keep this in mind as well.
  5. You can shoot in live-view mode to line up the frames for convenience.
  6. Take a lot of frames until you get some keepers.

example of double exposure photography

Remember that there are no rules for double exposure photography. You can get as creative as you want, and be sure to experiment with other camera modes as well.

“Play around with multiple exposures, and you can get some interesting images that hearken back to the early days of shooting film.”

Have you taken some interesting double exposure photographs that you would like to share? Be sure to comment below and let us know.

For further training: The Photography Tricks Chapters

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