A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Artistic Double Exposures in Photoshop

A double exposure is a great way to spice up an image. Today, we'll look at how to create beautiful double exposures in Photoshop.

Coming to you from Aaron Nace with Phlearn, this engaging video starts with the basics of creating a double exposure effect in Photoshop. Nace begins by combining two photos, using the Move Tool to drag one image onto another. He then enlarges the top layer to cover the background fully, ensuring a perfect overlay. This step sets the foundation for the effect.

The video continues with an important technique: using the Screen blend mode to merge light information from one image onto another. This method allows the top image's light areas to appear while making the darker areas of the underlying image visible. Nace demonstrates this with clear examples, showing how different photos interact based on their light and dark areas. 

Next, Nace discusses how to adjust visibility using Levels. By tweaking the midpoint slider, you can control the prominence of the overlying image. This is for fine-tuning your double exposure to achieve the desired artistic effect. Nace points out that the effectiveness of this technique depends on the lightness or darkness of the areas where the images overlap. A darker base image works better when applying a lighter image on top.

The video also explores scenarios where the effect might not work as well. Nace illustrates this with a light overlay image that obscures the subject's face, highlighting the importance of choosing images with complementary light and dark areas. He advises viewers to ensure that the critical areas of the underlying image remain visible by selecting darker overlay images.

To further demonstrate, he uses a third image, showcasing the flexibility of the Screen blend mode. He flips the overlay image to place dark areas over the subject’s face, enhancing visibility. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Nace.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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