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3 ways to create double exposure photos


Double Exposure photos are not just for artistic portraits. They are also a wonderful means to express yourself on your scrapbook layouts. The use of double exposure techniques can add a lot of meaning to a photo, allowing you to convey a deep story without the extra bulk that can come from embellishments.Use double exposure prints for photos with a dream like quality in layouts that contemplate how life has changed. I often use them when I want to reflect about my son growing up. I have also been known to add them to project life spreads. The double exposures are an easy way to make everyday photo themes a bit more interesting.

You might also notice that many of my blog banners feature double exposure images. I use this type of photo to bring together two concepts. In the header for this article, I use books to symbolize a library of albums. The books are blended with an image from my original blog header from the first days of this website. That header image remains consistent through many parts of my web design but has been refreshed by the use of the double exposure. As you look through MSE, check out the headers for each article. Each header incorporates an image which helps to define the article category. You can use double exposure photos in a similar manner for your layouts to bring two stories together onto one page.

Double exposures create a wonderful dreamlike quality for your photos and project life spreads. Try experimenting with them to tell deeper stories.If you are looking at the double exposure photos and thinking that they are too hard to create, you would be wrong. Some methods are admittedly easier than others. What is most necessary is the desire to experiment. Each time you work at creating a double exposure print, you will get a bit of a different result. This is part of the magic of the double exposure photos, at least for me. There are a few tips to keep your results more consistent:

1. Photograph one of your subjects with a neutral background. This can be a blank white wall or a large expanse of blue sky. The entire photo doesn’t need to have the neutral background but there should be portions of open area or white space for the second image to peek through.

2. One of your subjects should be defined or darker. For example, I tend to dress my son in dark shirts when I take a double exposure image. It sets him off from the white background and the second image fills in areas of white space around him.


3. Consider not just contrast but also the texture and placement of the subjects in your photo. It’s not always easy to do, but if, for example, both exposure have one central dominant image, the two may not blend together well.


Let’s take a look at a few examples and introduce you to  3 ways in which you can create a double exposure image.

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Method 1:  Photoshop 

Many people opt to use Photoshop to create their double exposure photos. In the memory keeping world, it is used often by digital scrapbookers. Try a tutorial if you want to use photoshop to create your double exposure prints.


Photoshop Elements

Method 2: Use an Action

Yes, this is another Photoshop method. This time, however, you are simply installing an action and running it. If I am using Photoshop, this is my preferred method of creating double exposure photos.

double exposure kit from creative market

I bought the Double Exposure Kit from Creative Market. It’s as simple as adding two photos to a project and hitting the run button in your actions menu. I currently use Photoshop Elements 12 with this action and have had wonderful results. The kit gives you not one, but  twelve actions to play with. It also gives you a measure of control, allowing you to tweak your results after the action has played. My only issue with it is that I found myself experimenting with the list of actions and lost a bit of time. You may want to set a timer with this one.

new film intro

This is the image I created using the Double Exposure kit. You might recognize if from some of my latest You Tube videos as it is now part of the video introduction. For this particular image, I used one black and white photo with a color photo. Try mixing different contrasting images to get different results.








Method 3: Use an Analog Camera( also know and Lomography)

I have saved the best method for last! Of all the methods to create double exposure photos, this one is my favorite. There is nothing quite like the magic of taking a photo with an analog camera. There is no instant gratification like that of using a digital camera or photoshop. This is the most experimental way in which to capture a double exposure but I feel as though each print is a tiny surprise gifted to me. Yes, some digital cameras and even some apps for your mobile device which will create a double exposure. However, when I have used those apps, I don’t feel as though they give me enough time or control. The analog camera allows me the option to shoot the picture, then move on to a new location to discover my second exposure. I have gone as long as an hour in between exposure shots. After discovering the gentle magic of the analog camera, I moved away from the use of the mobile style apps and haven’t tried another.

There are quite a few different analog cameras which will gift you with a double exposure. My current favorite is the Lomo Instant camera. It’s similar to an Instax but has more features. Think of it more along the lines of an instant SLR.

Christy Strickler- Child of Summer's End-double exposure scrapbook layout for Get It ScrappedChild of Summer’s End by Christy Strickler |Supplies Patterned Paper, Brads, Chipboard, Die Cuts: My Mind’s Eye; Tape: Recollections, Freckled Fawn; Letters: American Crafts; Enamel Dots: Twine and Ink; appears in an article for Get It Scrapped










For this double exposure photo, I snapped a shot of a summer scene which included a blue sky and an orange flowering tree. I then posed my son near a white wall with him looking out towards the sky. The summer scene provides the texture for the photo in the form of the palm trees. After snapping my second shot, the instant print popped out of the camera to reveal this shot. The hardest part about practicing double exposures( or any print) with an instant film is that you must shoot several photos to acquaint yourself with the camera. I took 5 bad shots before I got my settings correct. Now that I know the camera, I take photos with ease. However, I can tell you it wasn’t easy thinking about those 5 badly exposed photos and the cost of the film. In the long run, I feel my experiment has paid off and I adore my Lomo Instant camera.

You must keep in mind that the key to a good double exposure photo is a willingness to experiment. Practice, practice and practice some more. As you do, you will be able to refine your double exposure images no matter which method you choose to create them. The end result is always worth the effort, for you get stunning photos to use on your blog or on your scrapbook layouts.

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Scrapbook Techniques for Double Exposure Photos from Get It ScrappedTo see more examples of double exposure photos on scrapbook layouts, check out this article from the Get It Scrapped Blog.






Multiple Exposures for Beginners, an article from

A Lomography Guide to Multiple Exposure from
Follow My Scrapbook Evolution’s board Photography Inspiration: Double Exposure Photos on Pinterest.



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Class options for learning how to create double exposure photos:

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