Unlimited PS Actions, graphics, videos & courses! Unlimited asset downloads! From $16.50/m

Next lesson playing in 5 seconds

  • Overview
  • Transcript

1.2 Creating Effective Double Exposure Effects

What is a double exposure? You'll discover the answer in this lesson, and you'll also see how to blend photos in Photoshop using a few essential tools. Let's learn the do's and don'ts of creating effective, high-end double exposure effects. We'll discuss important tips like knowing which photos to choose and how to use certain tools in Photoshop to bring them all together.

Related Links

1.2 Creating Effective Double Exposure Effects

Hey everyone, and welcome back to this course. In this lesson, we'll dive into the dos and don'ts of double exposure effects and go over essential tools in Photoshop for achieving highly effective results. Let's begin. In the beginning, double exposure effects can seem pretty easy. But if you're not careful about your composition and photo choices, you may run into a few problems. Take these test pieces I created, for example. Admittedly, they're not too bad in style, and with a little editing, they could probably be even better. But there was one thing that was missing for me, and that is a certain magical quality. Double exposure effects are highly dependent on the stock photos you choose. So when considering this effect, try to search for stocks with distinct looking features. Let's start with the stocks I used for the cityscape. I was super happy and impressed with this series of photos available on Envato Elements. In fact, all the images you see in this course are available with your Elements subscription. One of the first things that stands out is the mood. High fashion portraits are great for double exposures because they have less of that cheese factor we often see in stock photography. They also have the ability to blend well with other types of photos, like this night time cityscape. What works for this particular final result is studying the general mood. This model has a standard moody model vibe, with a slight pout and high fashion poses. If you check out the series of photos shot by the same photographer, you can see how each pose dramatically changes the mood of the photo. When picking photos for your final effect, keep in mind that cropping affects your composition too. I immediately knew I wanted to find photos that blended well with this close up shot. But for a more impactful composition, I also needed to find photos that were taken far away too. So while the initial close up shot works, It's important that I don't include more photos that are awkwardly cropped. Pictures where the model is either hidden by objects or cut off in a scene probably won't blend as well into the final design. Another great thing that works is finding a series of photos of the same model. Let's take a look at how this applies with our duotone double exposure. Again, high fashion photography or high end portraiture works best for this result. But you can also make do with a simple series of photos of the same model shot at different angles. I was lucky enough to stumble across this blonde model featuring a super cute outfit with a bowler hat and furry coat. Even little details like this can make a huge impact on the quality of your effect. So what I find works best is giving yourself a list of quick questions to ask when searching for photos. What is the energy of this photo? How does the outfit affect the mood? Does the emotion read clearly? How can I use this emotion? What are the colors and what do they represent symbolically? And how hard will it be to blend these photos together? Speaking of blending photos together, let's consider the role different compositions play in how hard it will be to achieve these effects. If you want to create double exposures like the first two, what usually helps is picking models that are clearly within the shot in standard poses. Awkwardly cropped shots may become unusable unless they're magical on their own. But for the third double exposure, the effect is not as simple. This effect requires us to put all our photo manipulation skills to the test by studying different photo compositing techniques. To build a surrealistic theme, we'll start with a hand stretched out on a tree. Many might find this image unusable, but I know a quick layer mask will do the trick for removing the unwanted background. Then we settle on a landscape image that is hard to overlook. Roads have a way of symbolizing different paths in our lives, and the added fog brings more mystery and allure to this shot. To bring more focus on this symbolism, we can also add a quick silhouette to bring it all together. See how it works now? By following this surreal theme, I can select photos that fit the mood. An awkward pop of color or misplaced object would definitely throw the entire composition off. With all this in mind, let's make a quick review of the dos and don'ts of selecting photos. Do pick quality, well lit photos of your models. Study their body language, poses and expression. Plan your composition around their outfit and general mood. And experiment with different landscapes, portraits, and cityscapes for the desired effect. On the other hand, try not to pick awkwardly cropped photos, as well as images with smaller sizes or resolutions that may distort when adjusted. Don't pick difficult compositions that require further editing, or themed photos that don't pair well together. In order to make the most out of the double exposure effect, we'll be using these essential tools in Adobe Photoshop, and I'll be using the latest version of Creative Cloud. Feel free to take some time to study them on your own if you're having any difficulty. Layer masks. Layer masks are essential for this effect. They hide any unwanted parts of our photos non destructively by painting black onto the layer mask. Reveal these areas again by painting white onto the mask or choosing to delete or disable the same mask. Clipping masks. Clipping masks are great for organization, and more. By setting a new layer, shape or adjustment as a clipping mask to another, you'll keep images from spilling over into the next. The clip layer is bound by the edges of the one below it that it's clipped to. But you can also move it around pretty freely to try out different effects. Adjustment layers. Adjustment layers are often highly underused ways to change the color, intensity, and saturation of your photo. It personally took me a few years to use them, but now I love them for the added control in my work. In this series, we'll use adjustment layers like gradient map, color lookup, and curves to make the necessary changes to work conversation for a seamless blend. Now that you have a better understanding of which photos to use as well as the tools required for double exposures, let's move on to creating fantastic double exposure effects. We'll start with the cityscape exposure in our next lesson.

Back to the top