Multiple Exposure Photography Tutorial

If the above video is not displaying properly, you can watch the YouTube video tutorial here.

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.
Human Nature (Double Exposure)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Turn Auto-Gain OFF, if possible. Auto-Gain automatically attempts to neutralize the EV, which isn’t useful for the high-key nature portraits.
  3. Put your camera in Aperture Priority Mode and then select your F Number (I used ~f/4).
  4. Put your camera in Spot Metering Mode.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.


Droid City (Multiple Exposure)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. (Optional) You can Dodge Highlights by using the Dodge tool to whiten up anything that didn’t turn out to be 100% white.
  4. (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).
  5. 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!


"Trick Photography and Special Effects" by Evan SharboneauIf 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.

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34 Responses to Multiple Exposure Photography Tutorial

  1. Alex says:

    I am a fan dude ! and I already own your amazing book 😉

  2. roshan says:

    ur wrk gr8………..:)

  3. Jackie says:

    Thanks so much Evan…you do ROCK !!!!!

  4. Emmanuel says:

    for real ur da best, i do love the work

  5. rajesh v dulera says:

    ur explanation r very easy and excellent.I like ur ideas nd creations.Im daily learning new ideas from ur tutorial.thanks EVAN…..

  6. Jay Prewitt says:

    Evan you are a freakin genius!!! I have learned a good bit from your tutorials. Never stop doing what you are doing.

    Thank you,
    Jay P.

  7. Pingback: Create a Multiple Exposure Photo in Photoshop

  8. Emma says:

    am working on it so hard that i at least get that book

  9. Pingback: Create a Multiple Exposure Photo in Photoshop | Photoshop Roadmap

  10. elishab says:

    I always check out this website for photoshop tutorials – – they have some easy to follow advice laid out clearly and some amazing effects

  11. Hey Evan,
    tried it today – worked really well for the first try 😉

    Here it is:

  12. Thank you very much for every tutorial and idea you share. My first try :

  13. poly says:

    your tutorial book is awesome dude…learning many things from it…worth every penny

  14. Anonymous says:

    I like to disseminate understanding that will I’ve accrued with the year to assist enhance team efficiency.

  15. SEM says:

    Hi there! I just would like to give an enormous thumbs
    up for the great info you

  16. Kelli9429lk says:

    Generally I don’t read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice post.

  17. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

  18. Mark says:

    Bought the ebook but it only has 192 pages instead of 300 and only 3.75 hours of video instead of 9 hours. Emailed several times and got no response.

  19. R Sail says:

    These multiple exposure photos are great. Think there is an inbuilt function in the 5D mk3 which lets you do this without photoshop.


  20. Mark, it sounds like you purchased a pirated/bootleg copy of the course from of a different website other than my own. I was able to take down one of these product listings recently.

    The only official place where you can exclusively purchase the actual, original, authentic ebook and videos is at the main domain: – any other site that has their own buy button is not an authentic site.


  21. jamie says:

    Hi there Evan its Jamie here i would lov to do your photography courses could you give me the prices please my email is thanx would be apriciated if you could let me know soon thnx

  22. Pingback: INTRO! and a tutorial! | Photography tips and tricks

  23. Lex says:

    I like this guy. I do not own his book but i like his enthusiasm about photography. I also like his CAN DO attitude on how to make creative photos on a budget.

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  27. Bali Driver says:

    Nice tutorial, you my favorite tutor

  28. ryan venner says:

    ur tutoris has me lyk oOOoooO wow!!11!!!11!!
    much luves frm japan 🙂
    sorri if englis is not good very

  29. John says:

    You can try this Photoshop action for creating Advanced Double Exposure Effects in Photoshop:

  30. Nasrin says:

    This tutorial very helpful for beginners photographers.

  31. Michael h Dean says:

    Brought book last year but now can’t find it. Can you send me link so I can sign on.

  32. Pete Green says:

    Hi Evan
    I bought your ebook a couple of years ago and saved it in iBooks. However, it is gone, disappeared, vanished.
    Can I re-download it, or should we have to buy it again?

  33. Emma says:

    This tutorial is simply amazing. Thank you for sharing it with us, I’ll definitely be using it in the future.

  34. Ryan Chapman says:

    The creative concept like something different.

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