What to do if you want to exper­i­ment and sur­prise the client with unusu­al shots, but you don’t have the time and desire to buy more equip­ment and gad­gets for the cam­era, to deal with com­plex prepa­ra­tion for a long and drea­ry time?

Catch a detailed guide on what mul­ti­ple expo­sure is and how to do it so that you can eas­i­ly and quick­ly get spec­tac­u­lar shots with a min­i­mum of time.


What is mul­ti­ple expo­sure
How to make a mul­ti­ple expo­sure on a film cam­era
Mul­ti­ple expo­sure on Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji­film
How to make a mul­ti­ple expo­sure on Nikon cam­eras
How to make a mul­ti­ple expo­sure on a Canon
How to make a mul­ti­ple expo­sure on Fuji­film
How to do mul­ti­ple expo­sure on Sony
How to make a mul­ti­ple expo­sure in Pho­to­shop
Results. Where to Apply the Mul­ti­ple Expo­sure Effect

What is multiple exposure

Mul­ti­ple expo­sure or dou­ble expo­sure is a cre­ative tech­nique in pho­tog­ra­phy, when two or more frames are com­bined in one pic­ture, super­im­pos­ing one on top of the oth­er with dif­fer­ent opac­i­ty.

Ini­tial­ly, expo­sure in pho­tog­ra­phy is the amount of light that a matrix or pho­to­graph­ic emul­sion receives in a dig­i­tal or film cam­era. There­fore, if the pic­ture turned out to be too light, then it is called over­ex­posed or over­ex­posed, and a too dark pic­ture is called under­ex­posed. When we make a mul­ti­ple expo­sure, the light hits the same frame at least twice, show­ing dif­fer­ent scenes in one frame.

How to make a multiple exposure on a film camera

Mul­ti­ple expo­sure is not the inven­tion of fan­cy SLR cam­eras with a lot of room for exper­i­men­ta­tion. For the first time, this effect was obtained pre­cise­ly on film.

The point is to over­lay two scenes on the same piece of film. To do this, you will have to use it sev­er­al times — after you shoot the “basic” frames, you need to rewind it and put it in the cam­era again, as you would do with a new film.

The main dif­fi­cul­ty is to accu­rate­ly com­bine the “low­er” and “upper” frames. To do this, mark the bor­ders of the frame with a pen­cil or mark­er when you load the film for the first time in order to posi­tion it the same way the sec­ond time.


Because of these nuances, a qual­i­ty result is dif­fi­cult to achieve spon­ta­neous­ly — you need to ini­tial­ly decide that this film will be devot­ed to mul­ti­ple expo­sures, because when you mea­sure the frame width, the first shots will def­i­nite­ly light up. In addi­tion, you need to remem­ber exact­ly what is shown in each of the frames so that the mul­ti­ple expo­sure turns out to be mean­ing­ful.

If you want to sim­pli­fy your task, buy a film cam­era with a built-in mul­ti­ple expo­sure func­tion. Such cam­eras allow you to take a new frame with­out wind­ing the film onto the next one. For exam­ple, this func­tion is avail­able in Sme­na-8M, Ama­teur cam­eras and com­pact cam­eras (those with which we all took pic­tures in the 90s) Sam­sung Slim Zoom 145s, Sam­sung Fino 115s, Rollei Prego mod­els 145, 115, 90.

Multiple exposure on Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fujifilm

Now almost all dig­i­tal cam­eras have a mul­ti­ple expo­sure func­tion. It is enough to go to the cam­era menu and select the appro­pri­ate shoot­ing mode, but there are nuances.

How to make a multiple exposure on Nikon cameras

Make sure your cam­era is capa­ble of shoot­ing in this mode. Find this func­tion in the cam­era menu. Almost done! It remains only to select the set­tings and start tak­ing pic­tures.

Possible settings for shooting in multiple exposure mode

  • Num­ber of shots. How many pho­tos will be includ­ed in your final frame. For exam­ple, in the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 cam­eras, a mul­ti­ple expo­sure can be made up of a max­i­mum of 10 frames.
  • Over­lay mode. The way the expo­sure of frames, their light and dark areas will inter­act with each oth­er:

- Add. Expo­sures are super­im­posed with­out mod­i­fi­ca­tion, light­en­ing or dark­en­ing, as is. This is how dou­ble expo­sure works in film cam­eras;

- Aver­age. Each frame is bright­ened depend­ing on how many expo­sures are used for the pic­ture. Saves from over­ex­po­sure;

- Light­ing. The cam­era uses only the bright­est areas to com­pose the final frame. It turns out that if you pho­to­graph the night sky and put water on it on a bright sun­ny day, then where the sky was, there will be a piece of the image with lighter water.

- Dark­en­ing. The cam­era com­pares the images and leaves the area that is dark­er. As in the exam­ple above, only in reverse.

By the way, there are sim­i­lar blend­ing modes in Pho­to­shop, and with the help of them you can make mul­ti­ple expo­sures in a graph­ics edi­tor.

  • Save all expo­sure val­ues. All pho­tographs involved in a mul­ti­ple expo­sure are addi­tion­al­ly stored on the card, inde­pen­dent­ly of each oth­er.
  • Select­ing the first expo­sure. If you’re shoot­ing in RAW, you can des­ig­nate a frame over which you’ll over­write every­thing else.

If con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing is enabled, mul­ti­ple expo­sures will be record­ed as long as you hold down the shut­ter but­ton. The dif­fer­ence from con­ven­tion­al con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing is that all expo­sures tak­en are record­ed on one frame.

For con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing, set the inter­val between shots so that the cam­era takes pho­tos with a delay when the shut­ter but­ton is pressed. Then, if you shoot, for exam­ple, an ath­lete, sep­a­rate jerks will be vis­i­ble when mov­ing.

Some cam­era mod­els make life eas­i­er for the pho­tog­ra­ph­er, allow­ing you to see the pre­lim­i­nary result if you turn on the live view mode. But not all. For exam­ple, in the Nikon D850, you must turn off this mode, oth­er­wise the cam­era will not allow you to start tak­ing pic­tures.

How to make a multiple exposure on a Canon

This man­u­fac­tur­er has mul­ti­ple expo­sure for many mod­els: Canon 90D, 7D Mark II, 6D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, R5, R6, RP mir­ror­less and oth­ers.

  • In the menu, select the “Mul­ti­ple expo­sure” mode.
  • Set the num­ber of frames that will be involved in the pho­to. Canon, like Nikon, allows you to choose from two to 10 frames per shot.
  • Choos­ing a blend mode (or merge mode):

— Addi­tive. Super­im­pos­es one pic­ture on top of anoth­er, com­bin­ing their bright­ness. The orig­i­nal frame is slight­ly lighter as the expo­sures are summed;

- Aver­aged. He adjusts the expo­sure him­self where the frames over­lap, so that in these places the pho­to does not turn out to be over­ex­posed;

- Bright. When light and dark pix­els are super­im­posed on each oth­er, lighter ones remain on the final frame;

— Dark. Pri­or­i­ty on dark areas of the image. The lighter parts of the image dis­ap­pear from the frame.


The pre­lim­i­nary result can be mon­i­tored in Live View mode. With the Canon EOS 6D, for exam­ple, you’ll instant­ly see what the final merged image will look like.

  • Con­tin­u­ous mul­ti­ple expo­sure mode. An effect that is cre­at­ed dur­ing con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing. It con­veys dynam­ics and move­ment well. For exam­ple, when shoot­ing ath­letes or dancers. A shut­ter speed around 1/2000 is suit­able, and the num­ber of frames in a mul­ti­ple expo­sure is from 2 to 5.

How to make a multiple exposure on Fujifilm

Of most Fuji­film cam­eras, such as GFX 50R, GFX 50S, X‑A5, X‑Pro2, mul­ti­ple expo­sures can only be made from two shots.

  • Select “Mul­ti­ple expo­sure” from the menu;
  • Take a pho­to and press OK. Then recom­pose the shot and take anoth­er pho­to.

How to do multiple exposure on Sony

What we mean by famil­iar mul­ti­ple expo­sure is not in Sony cam­eras. But the Sony a7R III allows you to shoot four images in a row, so that each pix­el cap­tures infor­ma­tion from the red, green and blue chan­nels.

Such frames have more col­or infor­ma­tion, the dynam­ic range of the frame expands, and the noise lev­el decreas­es. As a result, four images remain on your mem­o­ry card, which can then be com­bined in graph­ic edi­tors.

But even on a cam­era with­out mul­ti­ple expo­sure sup­port, you can pre­pare frames that you then com­bine in a graph­ics edi­tor, cre­at­ing the same effect.

How to make a multiple exposure in Photoshop

  • We select two images — the “base” and the sec­ond, which we will impose on top.
  • We drag one to the oth­er.
  • Choose a blend­ing mode that gives a nice look­ing result. Most like­ly, the best effects will give blend­ing modes: Burn, Dodge, Screen, Over­lay, Soft Light, Hard Light.
  • We adjust the strength of the effect using the Opac­i­ty para­me­ter, and also throw a mask on the upper image, on which we use a black and white brush to show or erase the over­lay effect where nec­es­sary.

The advan­tage of the graph­ic edi­tor is that you con­trol the look of each frame in a mul­ti­ple expo­sure, as well as com­plete con­trol over the result. Cre­at­ing the effect takes only a cou­ple of min­utes.

Mobile applications for creating multiple exposures

Bright shots with mul­ti­ple expo­sure can be cre­at­ed on a smart­phone. This will require spe­cial soft­ware. Here are a few appli­ca­tions that can cre­ate images with this effect:

  • pixlr
  • Snapseed (reduced mul­ti­ple expo­sure mode)
  • Blend Pho­to Edi­tor
  • square pic col­lage
  • Blend Pic Col­lage

A life hack for those who didn’t like any of the above: if you dri­ve the words “mul­ti­ex­po”, “dou­ble expo­sure”, “pho­to blend” into the Play Mar­ket or App­Store, the search engine will return sev­er­al dozen paid and free appli­ca­tions.

Results. Where to Apply the Multiple Exposure Effect

  • Take a pic­ture of the same sub­ject at dif­fer­ent focal lengths. This will cre­ate a dynam­ic zoom effect.
  • Com­bine the por­trait and the envi­ron­ment around the per­son, inte­ri­or details, cloth­ing items, close-up hands, there­by reveal­ing the char­ac­ter of the hero.
  • Com­plete the “main” frame with tex­ture, flash­es of light, bokeh. This will bring an inter­est­ing tex­ture to the pic­ture.
  • Cap­ture the same sub­ject by mov­ing or rotat­ing the cam­era. You can even try to turn the cam­era over, there­by “tip­ping” the scene. Ide­al for cre­at­ing sur­re­al cre­ative shots, an unusu­al look at archi­tec­ture and nature.
  • Cre­ate motion effects for dynam­ic scenes using con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing for mul­ti­ple expo­sures. Suit­able for report­ing, film­ing hol­i­days, com­pe­ti­tions.


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