“Double and multiple exposures allow you to indulge in fantasy, but one of their strongest uses is the intensification of reality” Freeman Patterson – Photography for the joy of it.

quiver tree multiple exposure


Multiple exposures in-camera are really easy

In my previous blog Multiple Exposures In-Camera, I explain that Multiple Exposures are images where two or more photographs are superimposed in a single frame. These days, it is so much easier to create multiple exposures, either in-camera or in post-production.

quiver trees


Creative Expression

There are many online resources on the technical aspects of multiple exposures, but if you have a basic understanding of negative and positive values it is enough.

White, in terms of exposure, represents burnt out data. Once burnt out, that part of the image is gone forever, you will not be able to bring it back or overlay it with anything.  Black represents areas where nothing was exposed and these areas are perfect for overlaying the second exposure.  The second exposure will “fill in” the darker parts.

When shooting with film one also has to keep in mind that the combined exposures could result in the overexposure of highlights in the final image. This results in the need to underexpose each image in order to end up with correct exposure for the final image. The good news with digital is that as long as “auto gain” is switched on with Nikon or “multi-exposure control” is switched to “additive”  on Canon, the camera will sort this out for us.

In-camera Double Exposures

A double exposure is an image consisting of two overlayed photographs and can very easily be achieved in camera. The easiest way to achieve this effect is by photographing the subject in the first image as a silhouette. This will create the black/negative area for the second image to expose in. The second image can be anything such as a texture or landscape.

Double Exposure Portraits


Tip: Bear in mind where the dark or black area was in the composition of the first exposure when you compose the second image.

Multiple exposures

I found working with an uneven number of exposures to be more successful, with 9 exposures being my favourite.

There is no end to the creative options, such as zooming between individual exposures, rotating the camera around a fixed point while moving the pivot point, vertical or linear movements or even completely random movements.

Double Exposure Portraits