How to shoot and edit double exposure photography

double exposure flowers
The effect of overlapping several photos appears intricate, but is easier to achieve than it looks (Image credit: Lauren Scott)

As a technique, double exposure photography is nothing new. It has existed since the early days of film when, traditionally, the same slide was exposed twice to produce a superimposed image. In the digital age, the effect can be reproduced using one of the best professional cameras with a dedicated Multiple Exposure mode. However, if your camera doesn’t have a dedicated mode, or you want more creative control over the final image, you can also mimic the effect in Adobe Photoshop – which is what we'll do here. 

In this tutorial, discover how to shoot the best initial portrait image for this technique, as well as how to edit the two images in Photoshop for a striking and abstract result. One of the great things here is you don’t have to shoot your portrait and overlay images at the same time. If you have the perfect fill-in image within your archive, it’s easy to have a go – provided you have a camera with manual shooting modes and a willing subject.

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Lauren Scott
Freelance contributor/former Managing Editor

Lauren is a writer, reviewer, and photographer with ten years of experience in the camera industry. She's the former Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, and previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer magazine, Technique editor for PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, and Deputy Editor of our sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine. An experienced journalist and freelance photographer, Lauren also has bylines at Tech Radar,, Canon Europe, PCGamesN, T3, Stuff, and British Airways' in-flight magazine (among others). When she's not testing gear for DCW, she's probably in the kitchen testing yet another new curry recipe or walking in the Cotswolds with her Flat-coated Retriever.