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Double Exposure Wedding Photography Tips

As a wedding photographer, the sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity. Whether you choose to experiment while creating photos in camera or during the post-production stage – there are countless techniques that can help you upgrade your photography game. Double exposure wedding photography is one such way that allows you to narrate beautiful stories in creatively edited images. Double exposure photography merges two images overlapping each other. This technique combines two images into one by layering two distinct exposures onto a single image. The creative multiple exposure photography is a similar technique based on the same concept, except that instead of two, you get numerous images to blend into one. Both techniques have a common goal – to help you enhance your creativity and level up your photo game. 

Double Exposure Wedding Photography

infographic stating use double exposure wedding photography for dreamlike, illustrated storytelling

Photographers often use double and multiple exposures to convey a visual story using a single image. As there are two or more images involved, the idea behind each picture is to highlight a specific part of the account. The final piece of art is the complete edited version with all its symbolic elements combined into one. The photos have a striking, dreamlike effect as they portray an illustrated story, conveying something profound. The best part is that you don’t necessarily have to set up something separately for double exposure wedding photography – your couple, the venue, the surroundings can be all that you need to create striking images using double exposure wedding photography techniques.

How To Do Double Exposure Photography

infographic stating you can create double exposure photographs using your camera or Photoshop

You can create double exposure photographs with a camera or use a photo editing software like Photoshop. Digital cameras today have double exposure settings that allow you to experiment with this technique in camera. Basically, you’ll be exposing the same frame twice by choosing the base or foundation image from your storage memory card and adding the second layer on top of it. 

Following are specific double exposure photography tips you need to keep in mind when creating a double exposure image in camera:

  • Set up your camera in a way that provides balance. You can use additional support gears like a monopod or tripod.
  • The base and layer images are sharp photographs with high exposure, for which you can also use a flash to fill the light.

The camera settings will take care of the photo editing to bring out the right color and light balance. Although much easier than a manual one, the basic techniques for capturing a double exposure with a digital camera are still the same. 

Double Exposure Wedding Photography Tips

1. Plan Your Theme

infographic stating create an emotional story from the moments captured

As a wedding photographer, you can use double exposure wedding photography in numerous ways to showcase your couple’s love story. Before you try out this technique, get a clear idea of the story or the theme that you wish to illustrate. All you need is two sharp images and an idea in mind. Connect your two photos and bring out an emotional connection or a backstory that you can depict as you combine the two images into one. If your subject is the bride or groom, you can add wedding day elements that suit their personality. You could also add interesting patterns, textures, color pops as pieces to bring out your theme better. 

2. Prepare Your Photos

Get spectacular sunset wedding photography shots or be creative with silhouette photography. Your base image can be any object, scenery, or beautiful sunset. As long as your theme’s subject is present, it can be anything. Another critical point – a double exposure wedding photo will need a seamless backdrop. Once your idea for the picture is clear in your mind, you can also shoot it with a white or black background. For the layer image, ensure you add texture, prints, or anything that adds vibrant colors against the high-contrast base layer. 

3. Create And Edit 

infographic stating use your imagination and creativity to make your edit more visually appealing

Start blending your images to bring out your idea the best way. Whether it is a creative bridal veil shot or a close-up shot of the groom, get imaginative with the photos when you edit during post-production. Try flipping the picture or try looking at it from a different perspective to get unique results. You can also use Photoshop to edit your images to build your artistic, visually-appealing double exposure photograph.

Double Exposure Photography Techniques in Photoshop

As we said before, if you are unable to or simply don’t prefer creating the double exposure wedding photo in camera, then you can use your editing skills to create the effect in Photoshop using the following steps.

  1. Select Your Images

First, you’ll have to select the two photos you want to blend using the double exposure Photoshop edit features. Choosing the right images is essential. You must ensure that your selected images are sharp, good-quality images that are also well exposed. You can use this criteria to select your base image and the layer image overlapping it. 

  1. Set Your Base Photo 

In this step, you will remove all the imperfections from your base photo, eliminate its background, and prepare it for the additional layer image edits. 

To get the best double exposure, it is always best if your base image has a white background behind your subject. In case your base image does not have one, you can always edit your photo to carve out the subject and add a white background to it. You can use the Pen tool to select and mark the subject outline. Select the Quick Selection Tool from the options bar on the left. Add a 0.5px feather (from the right-click options) to the selected section of the image – this will help you refine the edges of your subject. 

  1. Add The Layer Image

Once the selection is ready, select Make Selection from the right-click options. Create a layer mask present for the same. Select the edited base image and press Ctrl+J to have it in a new layer – this will help you eliminate the background and create a layer mask. To get the white background, add an Adjustment Layer with the solid white color.

Ensure that the base layer remains on top of the newly created adjustment layer in the right section. Desaturate the image. Desaturation or muting the colors means adding more black and white. Directly press Ctrl+Shift+U or go to Image → Adjustments → Desaturate.

  1. Blend The Two layers

Now it’s time to add the surface layer to the base layer. Move the surface image over the base picture by selecting the Move tool to get the exposure right. Add a black and white adjustment layer and clip it to the layer with the surface image. This means that the black and white effect is only applied to the surface image. 

The next step is readjusting both images to fit well with the final idea in your mind. For this, you need to make the light parts brighter and the dark areas darker. Ensure the selected edit is set to High Contrast to bring out the black and whites correctly. Confirm that both picture sizes are of similar proportions. If not, adjust them to fit accordingly. 

Select the surface layer on the right panel. With the layer still selected, choose the Screen Blending Mode. Reduce its opacity to help you reveal the base photo below it. 

  1. Final Edits 

For the final modifications, add a levels adjustment layer and clip it to the black and white layer by holding down ALT or OPTION on a Mac or by right-clicking the layer and selecting Clipping Mask. With this Mask tool, select the brush and remove all the extras. This will get you the ideal blend of the two photos without image sharpness. Watch the gray area of the surface image as you move the highlights slider to the left. 

To get the desired result using this double exposure software, change the contrast, color harmony, hue, and saturation. Make all the necessary adjustments until both your images mix smoothly. 

Further Read: How To Use Gradient Mapping For Creative Coloring In Photoshop

As a wedding photographer, you get to capture stunning couples, heartfelt stories, true love, breathtaking venues, and decor. All of these make for great subjects individually, but when you use the double exposure technique to capture certain elements from the wedding – you tell multiple stories through a single shot. But the key to creating these visually striking photos is learning how to use the double exposure photography tip to enhance your storytelling. Using different double exposure backgrounds, you can experiment with your subject and the several double exposure wedding photography themes. As we say for a lot of other photography techniques, double exposure is one that you will perfect with practice – whether you choose to do it in camera or during post-production. 

At ShootDotEdit, we know how precious time is for wedding photographers and help to lessen your post-production workload through our professional photo editing services. To learn more about how we can help, check out our pricing plans.

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