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A multiple exposure is where you take two images on top of one another. This used to be achieved in the days of film, where you would take one picture and then instead of advancing the film strip to the next frame to take the next picture, you would simply leave the film in the same place and take another picture right on top of it. Taking or editing the shots in Black-and-White usually produces the best results because you don't have to worry about color theory or anything like that - black and white just works.
Here are the steps to take high-key double exposures just like the one above. You can skip steps 3-6 if you are taking regular, non-high-key double exposures:
- Turn on the Multiple Exposure feature on your camera.
The Multiple Exposure feature is located in different areas of the menu system for every camera - use your intuition, check your camera's instruction manual, or Google search to find where it is located.
Here is a list of cameras that a have Multiple Exposure feature.
You can scroll horizontally on that page to see all of them. Most higher end Nikon DSLRs (D300s and D800 for example) have the multiple exposure feature in the camera's menu system.
- Turn Auto-Gain OFF, if possible. Auto-Gain automatically attempts to neutralize the EV, which isn't useful for the high-key nature portraits.
- Put your camera in Aperture Priority Mode and then select your F Number (I used ~f/4).
- Put your camera in Spot Metering Mode.
- For the first shot, center the Auto-Focus Point and take a picture of yourself. The background should be as close to 100% white as reasonably possible. You can achieve a white background by having the sky fill up the background behind your head (having the sun directly behind your head and lined up with the lens will produce the best result. Light overcast days are theoretically ideal, but not necessary.) Using flashes against a white wall to create a silhouette also works.
- For the second shot, bump up the Exposure Compensation to around +2 EV and take a picture of whatever you want (I like trees with leafs on them) and make sure the background is 100% white for this image as well. I would recommend experimenting and taking each shot by themselves to see which settings you need to use in order to get the background to be 100% white for each individual shot, +2EV is only an estimate and is only what I was using on that particular day, all situations are different.The key is to just get the background to be white and not gray - use whatever settings necessary.
- After you have taken two shots, they will automatically stack and should show up in your LCD screen (you can't retrieve the original individual images if using a Nikon DSLR). You can then continue to take more and more double exposures until you get a really good one - I took dozens if not ~100. Some cameras automatically turn off the multiple exposure feature after you have taken one multiple exposure - if you find that this is the case for your camera, simply turn the multiple exposure feature back on before you take your next set. The Nikon D800 has an option to leave the multiple exposure function on all the time, making things a little faster. The D300s does not.
If you want to use previously taken shots, or don't have a multiple exposure feature on your camera, you can do this in Adobe Photoshop (The image above was done in PS). Here are the steps:
- Create a new Photoshop document and drag and drop 2 images into the Photoshop document so the two images show up in the bottom right in the Layers Palette as 2 layers.
- Select the top layer, and then select "Screen" for its blending mode. You also can try experimenting with "Multiply" (The Multiply blending mode will darken instead of lighten).
- (Optional) You can Dodge Highlights by using the Dodge tool to whiten up anything that didn't turn out to be 100% white.
- (Optional) You can adjust the Curves of the image by raising the left-most lower point upwards vertically a little bit, and/or the right-most upper point down vertically a little bit; You can apply the same adjustments to individual color channels in the same Curves adjustment window as well (Red, Blue, Green).
- File > Save As 8-Bit JPEG.
After you have created your images, post them in the PhotoExtremist Flickr Group or the PhotoExtremist Facebook Page! Be sure to tag them with "multiple exposure" and/or "double exposure" so we know what we are looking at and can search for them in the future!
If you enjoyed this video and article on multiple exposures, I highly recommend my e-book and video series Trick Photography and Special Effects which has over 300 e-book pages and 9 hours of instructional video content focusing solely on universal creative photography and Photoshop techniques just like this one.
Photoelasticity Birefringence is a visual phenomenon that occurs when placing transparent plastic between polarizing material. The effect shows the stress contained in the plastic.
In order to take pictures like this, you will need to place a hard transparent plastic object between two polarizers. Make sure your object is backlit as well. Fortunately, LCD computer monitors are backlit AND have a linear polarizing material in front of the backlight, so this takes care of everything. If you go this route, all you need to do is find some cool looking plastic and stick a polarizer filter on your lens and you are set to go. If you don't want to use a laptop computer screen or just want to to get rid of the ugly RGB pixels, use a light table with polarizing paper on top of it instead.
You'll also want a polarizing filter to place on your lens. This can be circular or linear, it doesn't matter. Things that work well are cheap transparent plastic cups, forks, spoons, and knifes. Prisms, plastic wrap, and cheap packaging material work good as well. Things that unfortunately don't work are water, glass, and anything that isn't a transparent plastic (crystals might be the only exception, although this is unconfirmed). Water can sometimes look okay-looking, but not nearly as cool as plastic.
In order to capture great bokeh shots you will need to set the aperture of your lens to as shallow as it can go. Use a 50mm f1.8, a 70-200mm f2.8, or if you don't have those, you can still probably use the 18-55mm kit lens that came with your camera (just make sure to zoom in all the way and set the aperture to as low as it can go, f5.6 in most cases).
Because we are working in low light situations, it is a very good idea to have the camera on a tripod to rid camera shake. You can light your subject up with a lamp. In the video I used regular incandescent / tungsten light bulbs in the background and lit my subject up with a near-incandescent modeling lamp as well. If you are a strobist you can use an external flash to light your subject, just make sure to put some sort of tan colored gel over your flash unit to make sure the lighting in the background and on the subject match color temperature.
Additional Resources on Bokeh Photography
- DSLR Bokeh Tutorial
- Shaped Bokeh Tutorial
- Creating Faux Bokeh Backgrounds in Photoshop Tutorial
- "Bokeh" Wikipedia Page
- iPhone App "Synth Cam" simulates shallow depth of field bokeh shots