How to create double exposure in Photoshop?

Dual exposure produces strong, visually striking images. Here you learn how to do it.

Double exposure, or double exposure, dates back to the time when cameras used film. Between each picture, the film had to be "pulled out", but if that did not happen, two pictures were placed on top of each other.

The technology has been further developed, digitized and perfected. There are countless guides to advanced editing, but here you will learn how to as simple as possible get a good result.

1. Photography

You depend on a good starting point. The goal is to get a white background, and a good dark silhouette. Place the model in a dark room in front of a window. The person should stand sideways so you get a good outline.

It is an advantage to use the RAW format which most cameras can shoot in. Then you get the greatest freedom in the finishing work.

2. Camera RAW Preparation

Open the image in Adobe Photoshop. If the image is in RAW format (.cr2, .NEF or .dng), you get Adobe Camera Raw, and can make adjustments there. (See below if the image is in .jpg and opens directly in Photoshop).

Juster bright tones up. Juster dark tones down. Reduce saturation to -100. It can also be nice to increase the contrast. What gives a good result varies from image to image. Try it out.

When you have finished adjusting the image, press Open. Go to Image> Mode and select RGB Color. Now you are ready.

2. Preparation in Photoshop

Open the image in Photoshop. In the Adjustments panel, click Black & White (1). Adjust different hues in the panel that appears.

Click on Levels (2) in the Adjustments panel.

Adjust the black and white levels as in the picture below. Try it out so that the background turns white and the silhouette becomes dark.

This is a good starting point. The most important is white background. How dark / light the model is gives different results and is up to taste and pleasure.


Double exposures often work best if you combine two different images. Landscape images often go well with the silhouette. Here you can make a stroke of genius by letting the image that is inserted emphasize the message in the image - tell more about the person or mood.

Go to File> Place embedded. Scroll to the image you want to use and select it.

Pull the corners to make sure the image covers the silhouette. (Tip: hold down the Alt key while dragging one corner). Press enter.

Then click on the field Normal, and switches blending mode to Screen.


More examples

Thanks to students on the line Photo / Experiences for borrowing sample photos!

Interested in photography? Read more about the line Photo / Experiences

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