In-camera multiple exposure: a quick and easy guide

Multiple exposure technique

How to take a multiple exposure in-camera

Multiple exposure is an old technique that was enjoyed by photographers long before digital cameras came along. The process involves exposing two or more images onto one frame so that there’s a multi-layered effect, with parts of both images revealed on top of each other (see our guide to Digital camera effects from A-Z). This used to be achieved by disengaging the film advance and taking two shots on the same piece of film.

Obviously, there’s no film advance on a digital SLR, but many cameras have a digital version of the feature built in, which is easily accessible from the menu. Even if your digital camera doesn’t have that component, you can still achieve the same effect by combining two images in Photoshop and blending the layers together (find out How to give your image a painting effect).

In this project, we’ve used the multiple exposure technique with a little twist: both images are essentially the same, we’ve just moved the camera a fraction between the two shots. This creates a painterly, almost impressionistic view 
of the woods for a cool, artistic effect. 
For the finishing touch, we’ve added a monochromatic warm tone. So let’s 
see how it’s done…

How to make an in-camera multiple exposure


Multiple exposure technique: Step 1

Step 1: Two into one
Most SLRs enable you to take a multiple exposure simply by navigating to the appropriate menu setting. If your SLR doesn’t have this feature then you can just take two exposures and combine them in Photoshop using a suitable layer blending mode.

Multiple exposure technique: Step 2

Step 2: Keep it steady
Despite the sense of motion we’re getting from merging two slightly different exposures, it’s still a good idea to use a sturdy tripod (see our 4 tips for sharper shots when using a tripod). Try to move the camera just a fraction between each shot so the final images appear slightly out of alignment.

Multiple exposure technique: Step 3

Step 3: Pre-visualise
Set your SLR’s preview mode to black and white. This way you’ll be able to pre-visualise the end result, which means you can concentrate on bringing out the shapes, textures and tones in your multiple exposure.


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