Ah, double exposure photography. It’s the swoon-worthy, surreal look that makes you wonder, how in the world did that photographer get a shot like that? You might think that camera settings had everything to do with it, and in some cases that might be true, but in the age of digital photo editing, anyone can get the look with a great idea and the right tools. The cool thing about the double exposure photo editing technique is that it gives you the ability to think outside of the box, push the limits of your creativity, and make unique imagery that helps tell the story you are wanting to convey.
If you’ve never tried to get the double exposure look yourself, it probably seems like a complicated action. The truth is, with a little help from BeFunky’s Photo Editor and knowing how to use the right blend modes, you can create double exposures in no time! Before we get into it, let’s talk about where this technique originated from, because although it’s a popular look nowadays, you might be pretty shocked that it isn’t a recent discovery. Then, we’ll show you how to make it happen!
What Is Double Exposure Photography?
Double exposure photography is a term used for combining two photographs into a single image. By taking one image, superimposing it over another image, then using a blend mode to tie it all together, you’ve got yourself an ultra-creative double exposure. Chances are, you see these kinds of photos all the time just by browsing the internet or scrolling through your social media feeds.
Even though they’re quite a popular look, the technique started decades ago. Back when photographers were using film, double exposing an image was most likely created because of a mistake (whoever said mistakes were a bad thing?). In order to create a double exposure, a photographer would capture a photo on a portion of the film where another photo already existed. The results were disappointing to those who didn’t mean to capture two images on the same spot of film, and surprisingly awesome to photographers who weren’t afraid of producing out of the box images. The latter kind of photographers started to do it on purpose.
Once double exposure photography became an effect people wanted to create, photographers ended up figuring out ways to do manipulate their photos in the darkroom by placing two negatives on top of one another while they created their prints. With our modern equipment and techniques, we are able to recreate these effects in the photo editing process. And lucky for you, with BeFunky’s Photo Editor it’s easier than ever, since we’ve taken care of all the complicated actions for you. Double exposure greatness can be obtained in just a few clicks!
How To Create Double Exposures In BeFunky
When you’re ready to create an amazing double exposure, you’ll first need to find the two images you want to use. When you’ve got them handy, upload the one that you want to use as the background into BeFunky’s Photo Editor by selecting it from the Open tab or dragging-and-dropping it right into the interface. It helps to have a background image with a lot of contrast, particularly with darker areas that can peek through when the top layer is placed.
Make all the edits to the background photo that you desire, and when you’re ready to add the next layer, select the Images/Layers tab at the top of the Edit menu. Select the Computer button to upload a photo from your computer or click the ‘...’ button to search over a million free stock photos to use as your top layer.
When your image appears as a thumbnail in the Images/Layers tab, double-click it or drag-and-drop it onto your canvas. Use the blue circles around your top image to resize it until it is the same size, or slightly larger, than your bottom layer.
You’ll notice that when the top layer is selected, an Image Properties toolbar appears where you can change the color overlay, tint, and more! First and foremost, select the Options button in the Image Properties toolbar and click to open the dropdown menu underneath Blend Modes. This is where the magic happens. The best Blend Modes to use when creating double exposures are the Screen and Lighten modes. For this particular image, we’ve chosen Screen. See how it makes the top image act as a screen that lets the darker elements of the bottom image peek through?
You can continue to resize and adjust the position of the top image by clicking and dragging. Move it around until you like what you see. When you're happy with how your double exposure looks, click the Flatten Layers button in the top left corner of the canvas to blend the two images together perfectly.
Finding two images that work well together can be a little tricky, so experiment with different types of photos to see what you like best! It’s usually best to pair a bottom layer that has more shadows with a top layer that has more highlights.
Just look at how amazing it can be to pair a couple photos for a double exposure! And the best part is, the possibilities are endless (especially with access to a huge library of free stock photos right from within BeFunky’s Images/Layers tab!) and the results can be so creative.
The double exposure technique is so fun to experiment with and shows you that sometimes mistakes can begin a trend, even if it’s centuries later! Not only can double exposures produce some great images for your social feeds but it can also produce some great imagery that you can use on posters and graphics. Try experimenting with double exposures and share what you come up with!