General Question

kenmc's avatar

What is the best way to double expose a photograph?

Asked by kenmc (11746 points ) October 27th, 2010

I’m curious about double exposure.

Like, should one under expose both shots? Or is that unnecessary?

Is there a particular film that is best for it? (I have 664 Polaroid film in mind for a 100 Land camera.)

What are some thoughts about composition when double exposing? Juxtaposition, congruency, ect…

Do double exposure photos appeal to you? What are your thoughts on this type of picture?

Any other info about this subject would be much appreciated! :)

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8 Answers

amazingme's avatar

My favorite way to double expose a photo is using my holga camera. I love that I don’t know when to stop advancing the film and all the double exposed shots that are created.

Last year, I forgot to advance the film on my regular SLR, and I got a photo of random trees and a photo of my brother ‘beating me up’ together. It came out amazing because it looked like I had done that on purpose.

I have a double exposed photo of my brother and sister drunk in New Orleans and the other shot is of a couch. Very hilarious.

kenmc's avatar

@amazingme Care to share those shots? What sort of SLR do you have?

amazingme's avatar

I have a Pentax k1000.

I’ll share the shots soon, I have to scan the photo in and I still haven’t figure out the scanner yet.(It’s new!) Tomorrow! :D

I also distressed the image with my brother. I scratched the negative and then burned it. It looks amazing.

rooeytoo's avatar

Do you mean within the camera? Why don’t you do it in Photoshop?

SundayKittens's avatar

@amazingme Holgas are the best! I’d love to see the shots, too.
My experience with double exposure is very uncontrolled and experimental, and that’s how I like it. Just play around and make sure to show us!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You’re on the right track using Polaroid. The above suggestions are valid and useful, but using Polaroid instant is a classic method for achieving multiple exposure in the true sense, without having to wait for processing, or emulating fake multi-exposure with photoshop.

There are two different ways to accomplish this. It works with film, digital, and Polaroid.

Natural Light… If your ambient exposure is say ⅓0 sec @ f/5.6 for a single capture, then a double exposure would be half of that being 1/60 sec @ f/5.6 or ⅓0 sec @ f/8. This technique will cause your setting to be properly exposed, but your double exposure object to be half exposed, seemingly transparent by 50% against the ambient background. Get it?

Flash… Use a high shutter speed to black out ambient light and create a dark background. Use your flash guide number to calculate subject exposure for each individual frame. Add as many as you like against the black background. There is no compensation necessary in this scenario. If your flash says 15 feet @ f/4, then shoot every multi-exposure at 15 feet @ f/4, just like the chart suggests, and everything will be perfectly exposed.

Have fun with it. Using Polaroid is a great way to accomplish this task.

kenmc's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Invaluably good info! Sounds like it will work best for a film SLR, which I have and will be using for this effect.

This is probably my best attempt so far, for those interested.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Interesting contrast between subject matter… man vs nature is always a strong statement. In this method, you’d want to expose 1 stop under on each frame to accomplish a single good exposure. But with film, you could just sandwich the negatives together and wouldn’t really need to shoot it that way. There’s something nice about having it all locked down on one frame though.

I do my double exposures with Photoshop. Notice it’s the same guy in each of the shots. Shoot one, change outfits, and then shoot the other. It’s tedious, but the results are seamless erasing out the top layer..

Bump the tripod once and you’re screwed!

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