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Learn how to create the attractive double exposure effect with Photoshop

Today, the double exposure effect can be achieved with a DSLR camera by enabling Multiple Exposure and manually capturing both exposures. However, it is also possible to replicate this creative effect with the help of Adobe Photoshop and our own saved images or photos.

What is the double exposure technique

Double exposure is a technique in photography that consists of combine and overlap two or more exposures to create a single image with them. With them we get especially creative and artistic images capable of surprising anyone who sees them. The use of this method brings us several benefits, as it will allow us to embellish our images with a texture or stock image that we have found elsewhere.

It may sound very complex at first, but it is not like that at all. Once we have understood the whole process, we can integrate one photo into another, such as landscapes to portraits or other conceptual effects. With the help of a powerful tool like Photoshop, we can quickly combine different exposures to help us tell a story or express a message.

To create our images with a double exposure effect we will need a main photography. This will determine what shape or figure we are going to obtain, being especially important that it contains a blank space that is responsible for delimiting the shape of the image well. We will also need a secondary photography which will be in charge of giving the effect and merging within the outline of the main image, to achieve striking results.

Basic tips to keep in mind

To make our first double exposure in a simple way it is important to choose a photo where the ormain object is well marked and predominant, it can be a person or a group of people, an animal, a building, etc. To make the process easier, this image should have a white background but at least part of it in full. We must also look for a secondary image that can give us good results when merging them, such as a forest or details of nature. This is something that we will perfect over time and with our imagination.

To facilitate the work and the merger process it is also important that there is no excess of informationn within the images. It is best to avoid photos where there are too many overlapping elements or different colors that make the blending process difficult. As long as they are images with a more uniform texture, the double exposure process will be easier for us.

Steps that we must take in Photoshop

To start the double exposure process, the first thing we are going to do is insert our main image into Photoshop. Click on “File” and “Open” and select the image. Once inserted, we must give it a higher brightness and contrast, so that we can differentiate well between light and dark tones. To do this, click on the “Image” tab, select “Adjustments and Brightness / Contrast”. This will make a small window appear where we will have to adjust the parameters.

Photoshop upload brightness and shrink to an image

Erase the background of the main image and create a new blank layer

Next, we are going to erase the background of the photo, so it will always be easier if it has a white background. First we are going to double click on the word Background in the right column that will allow us to create a new layer.

Later we select the tool from the Magic wand that we find in the toolbox on the left and click on the background. This will delimit the entire white background around the silhouette and press the button DELETE to remove it.

Photoshop apply magic wand on white background

Finally, we will create a new layer. To do this, click on the “Layer” tab, select “New” and “Layer”. We will place this new layer (Layer 1) under the main layer with the image (Layer 0) and we will paint it white using the paint pot from the tool block. We make sure that the foreground color and the background color is white.

Add new layer with white background

Insert secondary image and create mask

Next, we are going to insert the secondary image, the one with which we are going to merge our main image. To do this we must click on the “File” tab and select “Place”. We select the secondary image and press accept. This picture will appear superimposed with the main image so we must adjust it. We can rotate or enlarge it as best suits us, taking into account that only texture will be seen within the texture of the main image, not the background.

Insert secondary image

Once finished, it’s time to create the clipping mask, which will become the basis for the double exposure. This is something that we will achieve by right-clicking on the secondary image layer and selecting the “Create Clipping Mask” option.

Create a cutting mask

In this way we will check how the secondary image is cropped so that it is embedded within the silhouette of the main image. This is the reason why it is important to have an image with a white background, otherwise we will not achieve this effect.

Created double exposure effect

Lower the opacity

Once here we already have a large part of the work done and our double exposure is taking shape. To finish we only have to lower the opacity to the secondary image layer. The opacity tool is found in the column on the right at the top. By default it is marked at 100%, so we must narrow it down to find a middle point where the images blend seamlessly, achieving a truly artistic touch.

Double exposure with Photoshop change opacity

In this way, we will have created our first double exposure effect using two images in a simple way. From here, based on practice and imagination, we will obtain increasingly spectacular and professional results.

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