Double Exposure Photography 101: Top 12 Tips & Ideas For Beginners

Updated on November 1, 2022 in Photography by

Double Exposure Photography 101: Top 12 Tips & Ideas For Beginners

Double exposure photography may seem difficult to pull off but trust me, it’s quite easy and fun once you know the basics.

Photographers love experimenting with different photography techniques, camera settings, light settings, equipment, and more. And, double exposure photography is one of them.

It’s fascinating because what would be better than capturing 2 different kinds of photos in one image? The double exposure effect works beautifully and gives incredible results for portraits, landscapes, and every other photography style you can think of.

So, what is this amazing effect we’re talking about and how do you achieve that? Let’s find it all in this simple guide of double exposure photography for beginners.

What Is Double Exposure Photography?

Double Exposure Photography is a technique of combining two images into one by layering two different exposures onto one image.

A similar technique to this is called Multiple Exposure Photography where more than two layers of exposure are used in one photograph.

How Do You Do Double Exposure Photography?

Double exposure photography is easy to perform if your digital camera has an inbuilt setting for it.

Here’s what you need to do to perform the double exposure effect in photography:

– Go to your camera settings. From the drop-down menu, look for the ‘multiple exposure’ option. Obviously, you’ll be asked to capture more than one image.

– Capture two different images that you’ll like to be layered on one another.

– Your smart camera will automatically do the perfect double exposure photography for you.

How Does Double Exposure Works?

Having captured the exceptional double exposure effect, you must be wondering, how does double exposure works? While the result might seem the outcome of something very complex, the steps involved are pretty basic. They involve just these 3 simple steps:

1. Since you are required to capture more than 2 images, the camera shutter opens to capture the first photo then closes. The first image is usually the primary subject.

2. The camera shutter opens again to capture the second image, then closes, capturing the second image over the first image in the same frame. The second image is usually the background, understandably the second priority.

3. The final image is the combination of those two exposures into a single photo where both can be seen on top of one another.

5 Amazing Double Exposure Photography Ideas

Mix 2 double exposures

Double Exposure Photography

Experimenting with things can only lead to remarkable results. Most beginners will stop at creating a double exposure effect using two images.

But you may want to experiment a bit more to stand out from the rest. So, why not blend two double exposure effects into a single photo?

Mix and match different double exposures until you get your desired results. Though it may require a bit of photo editing, the results must be worth the effort.

Combine two images of the same subject

Double Exposure Photography

Using the different images of the same subject is one of the best double exposure photography ideas. This idea is quite unique since it allows the viewers to see the same subject in two different ways.

Use bright and bold colors

Double Exposure Photography

The use of different hues in an image can be very captivating. You may use different colored flashes to achieve that result. This makes a statement for you and makes you stand out.

Use black and white colors

Double Exposure Photography

On the contrary to the previous point, the use of black and white colors for your double exposure photography can help you add more depth and drama to your image.

Also, the image looks more seamless which makes it harder for the viewer to decide which image blends where.

Blend two images in an unexpected way

Double Exposure Photography

Be creative and blend two images non-traditionally. It could be just blending the second on the specific part of the image like just the head or the hands.

You may also merge just half of the image vertically or horizontally. You may have to use photo editing software to achieve the best results.

7 Useful Double Exposure Photography Tips

The flash trick

Double Exposure Photography

You may sometimes see the dark void in double exposures since things can get a little over-exposed. The lightly lit areas can look darker in double exposure photography.

The use of flash can help you fill those gaps with light as you may want to underexpose both photos to balance exposure in the final outcome.

Use a shutter release cable

The shutter release cable can be used to simply make the work easier.

Use the tripod

Double Exposure Photography

You’ll want to avoid any distortion and shaky images to get the consistent double exposure effect without any smudged graphics. The use of a tripod for double exposure photography can really help you stay stable and avoid any shaky photos.

Underexpose the subject

Double Exposure Photography

This is a nice trick to avoid over-exposure in the final product. However, it completely depends on the location and the lighting setup you’re using. Whether or not to use this trick can only be learned with experience.

Pick a seamless backdrop for first exposure

Double Exposure Photography

As I explained the process above, the film of your camera is exposed twice. It is exposed at the time of capturing the first image and then the second image into the single frame.

A plain, seamless backdrop for the first exposure will help you with a cleaner shot for the double exposure. The noisy background when combined with the second shot may not look as appealing.

Pick a colorful or textured background for the second exposure

Double Exposure Photography

The use of an eye-catching or vibrant background for the double exposure can really make the results appealing and unique.

Use the photo editing techniques

If you’re a beginner who does not have the camera for the double exposure photography setting, then the photo editing software is your best and only option.

You can create remarkable double exposure effects using Photoshop (you can learn the “how-to” using the embedded video below). Also, the use of image editing software also becomes necessary to refine the images.

The areas where the double exposure doesn’t look clean can be fixed in Photoshop too.

How To Create Double Exposure In Photoshop?

As I said before, if you do not have a camera that allows you to perform double exposure photography, or if you do not like the effect created by your camera, you can always use Photoshop to create this exceptional effect. Here’s how:

Final Words

I hope I was able to cover all the basics of double exposure photography in this article. And, I hope that you now know what is double exposure photography and how you can perform it.

I also hope that the tips and ideas explained in this article inspired you and gave you new ideas to experiment with.

If you wish to learn more about photography ideas, product photo editing, Photoshop tutorials, and more, then subscribe to the PixelPhant newsletter.

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