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Playing with Double Exposure

by Katie Tavares (follow)
Tutorials (6)      Technical (2)      Exposure (1)     
You don't have to be a professional photographer to experiment with double exposure. Once you know how to do it, it's quite easy and most of all extremely fun.

So let's keep this simple, if you haven't heard of double exposed images before, it's the combination of 2 images within the 1 frame. This process can especially enhance engagement and wedding portraits as the overlapping images have a real potential to magnify the story of the captured subjects in a unique way. Having said that, you can use double exposures for anything you like, especially since you're experimenting.

Feather and Stone - wedding portrait
Feather and Stone Photography 2014

I like to create double exposures in 3 different yet equally effective ways, they include utilising:

- film
- a digital camera
- Photoshop

My first experience with double exposures came about while I was obsessed and I really mean obsessed with Lomography and analog cameras. To see about Lomography, visit Lomography.com.au.

The process involves; shooting through a roll of film, rewinding that film and then shooting over the top of it. The end result is always a mystery as of course you can't check your progress until the film is developed. This creates suspension and adds chance to your creative process.

Another way to do this is by using the double exposure function within your digital camera. Some cameras have this function and others do not. My Canon 70D does and it is super fun to play with as you can see your progress immediately. Additionally, there are no costs involved in buying and developing film, therefore you are free to experiment with as many frames as you possibly can imagine, or as many as your SD card will allow.

Katie Tavares 2014 - engagement portrait
Katie Tavares 2014

The last method I use to create double exposures is Photoshop. All I do in this scenario is have 2 separate layers consisting of 2 separate images and then in the top right of your layers window, change the opacity of your chosen layer to create the overlapping effect you desire.

Katie Tavares 2014 - engagement portrait
Katie Tavares 2014

Some fun things to try:

- Layer dark images over lighter images to create a stronger contrast

- Layer portraits over textures such as; brick walls, flowers or water

- Layer one portrait over another

- Layer depths for example; shoot an image of someone standing far away on top of someone standing closer (if it's the same person, all the better)

- If using film, wait a few days or even a few weeks before shooting over the top of your images for added surprise and unexpected results

Get experimenting!

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