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What is multiple exposure? This is a combination of two or more frames into one. The method of photography, which began with an error and became widespread over time among photographers, is used to create contemporary art photography.

In this quick guide, we will explain how to properly use the multiple exposure effect and what if the camera does not support the double exposure function?

When using film cameras, the occurrence of double exposure most often occurred due to the negligence of the photographer, which led to a double exposure to the same piece of film. But the undoubted artistry of some frames accidentally received led to the fact that the most eminent photographers began to develop the direction of the multi-exposure in photography and used it with confidence. For example, Sarah Moon.

Some modern digital cameras feature dual or more exposure. To create a multi-photo, just switch in the camera settings. However, to create the correct multi-exposure photograph, you need to know some nuances.

When applying one frame to another, you must strive to combine the dark and light parts of the image so that the lightest spots of one frame fall on the darkest fragments of another.

Calculate the total exposure of the image correctly. If exposure to the first and second 1/60 frames at f = 8 is required to obtain a correctly exposed photograph under your conditions, each image must be taken with underexposure of 1 step.

It is advisable to shoot the second frame with the same settings as the first. But, if the lighting conditions for the second shot are different, then you should naturally change the exposure pair, and also remember to make the frame 1 stop underexposed.

What if the camera does not offer a multiple exposure function?

A regular editor will help. Using the editor implies even more control when combining photos, although in some way it removes the spontaneity and unexpected fantasy of the result. Editing in Photoshop becomes a technical matter and no matter what the master is, a certain fleur disappears from the picture, which consists of those small flaws and accidents that make the picture a photograph, not a picture.

When using post-processing in the editor, there is no need to initially shoot two or more frames at the same time. The photographer has the opportunity to combine photographs taken at different times.

You need to open one image, the second is copied and pasted onto a new layer in the working space of the first image. Then, using a wide range of tools, the photographer mixes the two images together until the desired effect is obtained. You can change the “transparency” or “opacity” of layers, “multiply”, use “soft light”, Hard Mix or “exception” – these are just a few of the many blending modes that you should experiment with. Each gives very different results with suitable pictures.

However, even such apparent ease of processing does not remove responsibility in the correct arrangement of dark and light sections of frames. The dark should be under the light, and not vice versa.

Does the multiple exposure have any other, non-artistic use?
Many of the best underwater photographs are taken using double exposure. One shot is a close-up of a marine creature with a flash. However, due to its depth, the background looks black or very dark. But it’s enough to combine the resulting photo with a picture taken in shallow water, the final image will look more natural.

Double exposure is also used to enhance the depth of field and obtain photographs in the interior, where different light is used.

A few tips for getting a multiple exposure shot
Use two frames, one of which is fine-grained and the second subject is a close-up shot.

Interesting shots can be obtained if you initially shoot studio portraits, both large-sized and full-growth, and then, rewinding the film again, go to photograph wildflowers, landscapes or textures.
multiple exposure photo options
by hodachrome

Mixing colors allows you to get interesting effects in the pictures. You can also combine pictures taken with different lenses – for example, portraiture and widescreen.
A great option would be to combine street-photo with a cloudy sky or uneasy sea surface.
Do not dwell on the obvious. First, use two frames to combine. You may like the abstraction of the resulting pictures and you can combine more of them with more confidence, so that in the end you can become the author of the most abstract and most unusual art photograph.

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