James C Photography | Multiple Exposure

Multiple Exposure

July 30, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I have been getting more and more into the method of creating images via multiple exposure. The idea of multiple exposure and initially double exposure came from film photography. The photographer would take a picture on film and not wind the film but stay on the current frame. Then a second picture would be taken, hence the name double exposure as the film was exposed to light twice. Multiple exposures are any number of exposures more.

In digital photography, multiple exposures are significantly easier. Some cameras have an in-camera function to accomplish this. For the rest of us, Photoshop is the best way to go. You can choose any number of photos you have and combine them in various ways. Let's get into some examples and the methods used to create them.

Let's start with these simple examples:

Double exposure silhouette of a man overlaid in golden clouds with a circular rainbow in the background[Untitled]Double exposure silhouette of a man overlaid in golden clouds with a circular rainbow in the background

[Untitled]

Double exposure of a female model clothed with a hiking trail overlayWearing the PathDouble exposure of a female model clothed with a hiking trail overlay

"Wearing the Trail"

In these double exposure examples, there is a dominant image that overlays on top of an underlying image which shapes the image. To start, I chose an underlying image that has a good silhouette form. A levels adjustment layer is added in Photoshop to increase the contrast to the point of losing data on the image creating just the silhouette. The inside of the silhouette is then painted with black. The dominant image is then opened and place in a layer above the silhouette. The blending mode of this new layer is changed to lighten. The layer is then changed using the transform tool to stretch and move it until the best position is achieved.  It's important in this step to take your time and play with the image to find the way that the images compliment each other. In the case of "Wearing the Trail", I stretched the trail until the path fit the model's body like a dress would. Finally, I chose a background that was appropriate for the image.

Next time I will go into more advanced methods that utilize more that just the underlying silhouette to create more detailed multiple exposure images.


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