Let’s talk double exposures today. Whether you’re using a 35mm film camera, a DSLR, or an iPhone, double exposures are easy to create and fun to experiment with.
35mm Film Camera
When shooting double exposures on film, you can do one of two things: 1) take good notes on each frame and be deliberate in your shooting and try to line up images; or 2) you can shoot whatever suits your fancy and embrace the serendipity.
Step 1: Load a roll of 35mm film into your camera. Adjust the ISO setting to twice the number on the roll of film. (If your film is ISO 400, set your camera to 800. If your film is ISO 100, set your camera to 200, and so forth.) This ensures the correct exposure. Shoot the entire roll and rewind it, but either leave the leader sticking out, or use a leader retriever to pull it back out.
Step 2: Load the same roll into your camera again, or for fun, swap it with a friend. Be sure the ISO is set to twice the number on the roll again to ensure correct exposure. Shoot the roll again, rewind it, develop it, and see what you got.
Depending on what type of DSLR you have, double (or multiple) exposures can be made a couple different ways. If you’ve got a DSLR with “multiple exposure mode” such as the Canon 5D Mark III or the Nikon D800 for example, it’s quick and easy.
Step 1: Shoot a subject with a strong outline against a white wall, or a bright blue or overcast sky. Negative space around your subject is key.
Step 2: Select the multi-exposure mode in your camera. Turn on the live view option. Now bring up the image you just shot in Step 1 and with live view, it’ll display in your LCD screen.
Step 3: With the image from Step 1 displayed in your LCD screen, line it up with your desired textured subject. Pay attention to line, color, and shape. It should also be against a white backdrop or a bright sky. Adjust your angle, zoom, and exposure settings as necessary, and shoot. The images will be automatically merged.
You can create double exposures on your iPhone thanks to a few easy-to-use apps like Image Blender, InstantBlend, and Ghost Lens. Each allows you to shoot images from the app to blend into a double exposure, or your can pull images from your camera roll to blend. You can make many adjustments to each image separately or to the blended image, to make one subject shine through more than the other.
All images courtesy of The Doubles Project, a double exposures collaboration by Vanessa Morrow and Steph Parke.