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How I Create Double Exposures In Photoshop

Gavin Phillips discusses how he creates double exposure style works of art in Photoshop, plus shares a tutorial on how to replicate the effect.

|  Adobe Photoshop
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Lady in the Lake

What's A Double Exposure?

The double exposure goes back to film days when you would photograph two different shots on the same film frame or shoot a roll of film, rewind the film and shoot it again.


How To Create One Digitally 

You can create double exposures with digital cameras as well, of course. Many artists love the surprise and spontaneity of shooting double exposures in camera and then seeing what they have achieved. However, I prefer to create my double exposures in Photoshop as you have complete artistic control of exactly where you position your main photo, and how you  blend it with the background.


It's Not About Dragging & Dropping 

Some people mistakenly think that creating double exposures in Photoshop is simply a case of dragging/dropping one photo into another and changing the layer blending mode and/or opacity. However, there is far more to it than that.

You can see exactly how I created this art in this step by step movie: Lady in the Lake Double Exposure How To (iPhone or Ipad users can watch the tutorial here). 


Merge Nature & People 

I have found that using shots of nature work very well as background photos. I like to show the connection of people with nature. My 'Lady in the Lake' art, shown above, is comprised of two photos.  

Here are the two original photos. As you can see, I've 'cooled' the woman down to make her fit more with the very cold background photo.


  Images for blending


I very rarely just blend two regular photos together. Instead, I use my complex Photoshop actions to give me other toning and subtle softening effects. I use my just released 'Elegance' set of actions (and movie tutorials) that allow you to make any tweaks to the effect in the Photoshop layers.


Something A Little Bit Different

If you are a professional photographer and photograph weddings, nearly every bride would love a double exposure in their wedding album. Showing soon-to-be brides this art is a great way to separate yourself from the competition as well as increasing your print sales.







Gavin Phillips has been creating complex Photoshop actions, movie tutorials and plugins for Photoshop for over 15 years. You can review his latest set called 'Elegance' over on PhotoEffects.Biz

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