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Multiple Exposure — Creating Illusionary Photographs In 3 Simple Steps

Multiple exposure is the ability of getting multiple exposures (more than one picture) on the single frame. This translates to photographing the same subject at varying exposures and thereafter merging the exposures to result in the creative piece of art. In a film camera this requires that instead of exposing a frame and then using the next one, the same frame on the film is exposed multiple times.  Multiple exposure is an effective technique for creative photography. It enables you to introduce special effects to objects. With this technique you can render dreamy & nostalgic air to the scene, enhance the subject or the scene with special effects. It opens up the creative possibilities for the photographer. It takes some inspiration to know where you are heading. Here are three steps to get started with multiple exposure photography.

  1. Turn On The Multiple Exposure Option

    Most of the DSLRs offer the option for multiple exposure. Read through the user manual to find out if your camera offers the multiple exposure control. Turn on the multiple exposure and set the number of shots required to create the desired effect. The maximum number of shots for multiple exposure varies from camera to camera. Here you may also be able to set the gain for each consecutive shot etc.

  2. Manually Set The Exposure For Each Shot

    If your camera doesn’t allow you to set the gain of each shot, carefully set the exposure for each shot that you take. This step plays a crucial role in getting the desired effect. When planning a multiple image shot, you have to be particular about the placement of images in the final frame and accordingly set the exposure for each shot. Multiple Exposure technique requires you to deliberately overexpose and underexpose the consecutive shots so that each shot in the final image stands out with distinct effect and identity.

  3. Apply The Technique

    Fine-tuning the camera is the beginning of the creative out burst. Multiple exposure opens up the plethora of opportunities for an individual; where your imagination is the limit. Here are some techniques to provide you an idea about how you can achieve creative multiple exposures.

    • Shooting At varying intervals: Set the camera on the tripod and take the multiple shots at varying interval. It will result in imposing the static image over each other while the dynamic portions of the scene will be overlapped to create beautiful (and intensifying) effects.

      Winter's Glory

      Winter's Glory by a4gpa

    • Applying Different Color Filters For Successive Shots: Set the camera on the tripod and apply different color filters for each shot in the series of multiple shots. It is advisable to use red, green and blue filters to ensure the color balance of the scene.
    • Focus Shift: This technique requires you to take two consecutive shots of the same scene, one sharply focused and the other one be blurred and hazy. The combination of the two images result in rendering a glowing effect to the subject.
    • Create A Swirl: This technique is about slightly rotating the camera with each successive shot to imitate the effect of polar panorama in the final image.
    • Create A Mirror Effect: You can achieve the mirror effect by taking the two shots with inverse relationship. Take one shot with the camera held upright and turn the camera upside down for the other shot to invert the image. The combination of the images will result in the mirror effect.
    • Multiple Images Against A Dark Background: This technique works well for portraits, where you can judiciously place the multiple exposures of the subject in the frame to form an unusual composition.

      This Is Passion

      This Is Passion by Joslynan

    • Experiment: Experiment with your own ideas and style. While the technique of multiple exposure gives the freedom of merging the multiple images to form an effective image, you can use this technique creatively to produce the various effects by creatively zooming in and out of the scene between multiple shots, applying panning effect, etc.

If your camera does not offer the flexibility of making multiple exposures, the simple way is to combine the multiple images to form a single image during post-processing. Thus shooting RAW helps and post-processing brings a lot of flexibility to fine-tune the output to your preferences. Have you tried multi-exposure photography yet?

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1 comment… add one
  • Dave Harley May 4, 2012 @ 20:19

    This is very cool! Thank you kindly for the info.

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