Double Exposure Photography: when and why you should turn two images into one

Double Exposure Photography: how, when and why you'd want to turn two images into one

How to make double exposures in Photoshop

How to make double exposures in Photoshop: step 1

1. Open your images
Open two images in Photoshop Elements: both appear in the Project Bin. Click on your background image – for us it was the close-up of the mushroom. Select All (Ctrl+A). Go to File>Copy (Ctrl+C) to copy this image to the pasteboard.

 

How to make double exposures in Photoshop: step 2

2. Paste one into the other
Next we selected the Portrait image from the Project Bin. Go to File>Paste (Ctrl+V). The mushroom image appears as a new layer in the Layers palette, and appears in the middle of the portrait in the main window.

 

How to make double exposures in Photoshop: step 3

3. Stretch with Free Transform
The mushroom image is smaller than the portrait, so needs to be stretched. Go to Image>Transform>FreeTransform (Ctrl+T). Grab each corner handle in turn and stretch the image until it fills the window.

 

How to make double exposures in Photoshop: step 4

4. Change the layer opacity
The mushroom image now completely obscures the portrait. Click on Normal at the top of the Layers palette. See what each Mode does in turn, then choose Soft Light and reduce Opacity to around 60-70%.

 

How to make double exposures in Photoshop: step 5

5. Reveal background pattern
Click on the Background layer in the layers palette, then on the Create A New Layer icon. Click Ctrl+Del so this layer fills with black. Change the Blending Mode from Normal to Hard Light. Set Opacity to 60%.

 

How to make double exposures in Photoshop: step 6

6. Uncover more of the face
Select the Paint Brush tool. Set it to white with a soft-edged width of around 400 pixels and an Opacity of 50%. In small strokes, paint over the black middle layer to reveal more of the facial features.

PAGE 1: Common questions about double exposure photography
PAGE 2: How to make double exposures in Photoshop

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