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Time
35 mins

Create a double-exposure portrait photo
Double exposure photography can create amazing results but you can create a similar effect with photo editing software, even if you don't own a film camera.

Posted by Cat Morley from London, United Kingdom • Published See Cat Morley's 1141 projects »
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  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 1
    Step 1

    Start by opening a portrait photo that you like in your favourite photo editing proram. You can use any photo you like but if it's already quite an interesting photo that you love, the results will be even better. Here's one of me at a wedding recently blowing some bubbles.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 2
    Step 2

    Now create a second layer on top and paste in your contrasting photo. Something with a lot of texture, such as a nature photo or city scene work well but you can get creative and try all kinds of things. I'm going to use a photo I took of the Tokyo skyline.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 3
    Step 3

    Set the blending mode on the top contrasting layer to Screen so that your portrait shows through.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 4
    Step 4

    Reposition, scale and rotate the top contrasting photo until you find a position you like. I tried to positioned mine so that the light trails from the traffic would look like they were being blown through the bubbles.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 5
    Step 5

    Hide the top layer and then select the focus point of your bottom portrait layer. I made my focus the bubbles and my face.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 6
    Step 6

    Feather your selection by about 150 pixels.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 7
    Step 7

    Select the inverse.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 8
    Step 8

    Darken the outside edges of your focal point.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 9
    Step 9

    Now, desaturate your portrait layer.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 10
    Step 10

    Adjust the levels to give the portrait a strong contrast, making the light areas bright white and dark areas dark black.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 11
    Step 11

    Make the top contrasting layer visible again.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 12
    Step 12

    Use a soft eraser brush set to 50% opacity to erase the top photograph around any areas you'd like to bring out of the portrait, such as the eyes, nose, mouth and bubbles in this photo.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 13
    Step 13

    Use a soft paint brush set to 50% selected with the colour black to paint any areas on the bottom portrait layer that you don't want to shine through.

  • How to take a double exposure photograph. Double Exposure Portrait - Step 14
    Step 14

    Adjust the levels and saturation of the finished photo until you're happy with it and then you're done!

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Comments

Creative Khadija
Creative Khadija · Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, PK · 20 projects
Awesome! this is a brilliant idea Happy
Cat Morley
Cat Morley · London, GB · 1426 projects
Thanks so much!
Reply
PixieFey
PixieFey · Chester, England, GB · 150 projects
Love this how to.
I only have an old version of PSE and tried it tonight. My results were diabolical. A combination of a poor choice of photos plus me. Never mind I'll have another go another time.
Cat Morley
Cat Morley · London, GB · 1426 projects
It's a little tricky finding just the right two photos to use but it's awesome when you do. I can't wait to see how yours turn out!
Reply