How To Make Double Exposure Effect In Photoshop

photoshop

WHAT IS PHOTOSHOP?

Adobe Photoshop is a raster graphics editor developed and published by Adobe Inc. for Windows and macOS. It was originally created in 1988 by Thomas and John Knoll. Since then, the software has become the industry standard not only in raster graphics editing, but in digital art as a whole.

Adobe Photoshop is the predominant photo editing and manipulation software on the market. Its uses range from the full-featured editing of large batches of photos to creating intricate digital paintings and drawings that mimic those done by hand.

What is Photoshop and how does it work?

Adobe Photoshop is a critical tool for designers, web developers, graphic artists, photographers, and creative professionals. It is widely used for image editing, retouching, creating image compositions, website mockups, and adding affects. Digital or scanned images can be edited for use online or in-print.

What are the benefits of Photoshop?

It allows you to create and edit images for both print and web. Photoshop itself gives the user complete control over all kinds of image manipulation, editing and special effects and can be used for exact calibration of images for all output methods.

WHAT IS DOUBLE EXPOSURE EFFECT AND HOW CAN I CREATE IT IN PHOTOSHOP?

In film photography, a double exposure is a combination of two exposures in one image to produce evocative results. In this easy-to-follow tutorial, learn how graphic artist Erica Larson uses Adobe Photoshop to combine two photos, creating a seamless double exposure effect. 

Headshot of Erica Larson - Adobe associate creative art director, designer

Erica Larson dreams up inspired designs every day as an Associate Creative Director on the Adobe Studio team. She makes stuff that makes others want to make stuff.

Photo composite of a bison against a white background and a snow scene blended in with its body

Take a quick one-minute look at Larson’s double exposure technique—the steps are written out below.

Before you start.

The best images to use with this technique are high-contrast photos with distinct light and dark areas. Use these sample images if you’d like, or practice with your own.     

Step 1: Prep your images

Open your two images and drag one on top of the other. Larson dragged the snowy landscape on top of the image of the bison. Then, in the Layers panel, set the Blend mode to Screen and reduce the Opacity setting. 

Before/after shows original bison image and the final composite with snow image added, blending mode set, and Opacity reduced

Step 2: Get clear

To bring out the bison’s face and other areas, Larson added a mask to the landscape layer. This allowed her to simply paint wherever she wanted those details to come through. 

Paint with black on layer mask on snow layer to reveal bison’s face and front legs

Step 3: Add more color

For a dramatic touch, Larson added a Gradient Fill layer using the Violet, Orange preset, before setting the Blend mode to Overlay and reducing the Opacity to 60 percent.

Add Gradient Fill adjustment layer, set blending mode to Overlay, and reduce opacity for photo composite effect

Step 4: Keep focus

To keep the focus on the bison’s face, Larson adjusted the Gradient Fill angle to 0 degrees. She clicked on the gradient to open the Gradient Editor and shifted the violet color stop and the Color Midpoint to get the desired effect. 

Set the gradient fill angle to 0 and adjust color midpoint

Get twice the exposure.

Find pairs of photos to combine in your photo gallery and have fun creating fresh takes. 

Combine images and photos to create composites in Adobe Photoshop

Note: Project files included with this tutorial are for practice purposes only.

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