Double exposure photography is a genre that merges multiple photographs to create a single story. Stories told through double exposures are often very thoughtful and visually appealing. Like optical illusions, they catch the viewer's eye, compelling them to wonder how such an image was created.
Certain cameras can merge photographs before they're even imported to a computer. Film cameras, too, can smoothly combine two images to create an excitingly unexpected result. This genre isn't limited to specific cameras, however. Thanks to editing programs like Photoshop, double exposures have entered the world of photo manipulation as well, allowing every keen learner to create a unique image of their own.
In this tutorial, I'll teach you how to create a single double exposure with the help of two photographs. What I usually do is combine a dark silhouette against a white background with a more complicated image of nature. A dark silhouette gives me a perfectly blank canvas to work on, while the detailed photograph gives me a chance to express myself in intricate ways. Because of this, I'd recommend using a photograph of a silhouette whenever you create double exposures. However, this is just my preference, so feel free to be as experimental as you like!
I'll also be using Photoshop in this tutorial, but don't feel limited if you're using a program like GIMP. The programs' features are relatively similar, so you won't have much trouble with this. 🙂 Other than that, all you need is a big imagination and a desire to learn new and exciting information.
That's it! Double exposure photography might seem like an extremely complicated process, but it's the kind of technique that gets surprisingly easier the more you practice with it. In addition to giving your photographs a louder voice, double exposures will enhance your imagination and boost your creativity.
Though there are many Photoshop actions that will create double exposures for you within seconds, it's handy to know how to create one manually. I prefer manually working on an image instead of using a Photoshop action for several reasons:
- – It gives you more creative control
- – It helps you familiarise yourself with a variety of editing tools you would've otherwise skipped
- – It encourages you to be patient as you create new layers and merge photographs
- – It makes you a better photo editor
If you have the time and desire, I'd definitely recommend creating a double exposure of your own. If you do end up making one using this tutorial, feel free to share a link to it in the comments below! I'd love to see your creations and encourage you. Also, let me know what your favourite double exposures of all time are, and what you think of this genre in general.
Keep improving and practicing!
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