3 minute read

Creating with Multiple Exposures

Combining two images to make one is a fun way to get creative with your photography and frame everyday subjects in a new and interesting way

In the days of film photography, creating a multiple exposure was a cool, if unpredictable, way to achieve an in-camera special effect, superimposing one image over the top of another. The principal was very simple: make the first image, then make the second one without winding on the film. The only problem was the results were extremely hit-and-miss, and hard to control.

Thankfully, in X Series digital cameras, multiple exposures are easier to create and predict, and give superb results, too – no Photoshop required!

Start by selecting the MULTIPLE EXPOSURE mode, which you’ll find in the DRIVE SETTINGS menu, or on the drive settings dial if your camera has one – it’s indicated by two overlapping squares.

Learn photography with Fujifilm, Creating with Multiple Exposures

Now you’re ready to make the first image, which you can do as normal. Your camera will ask if you are happy and want to proceed to the second image, or if you’d like to recreate the first one (NEXT or RETRY). If you’re OK with your starting image, choose NEXT.

Learn photography with Fujifilm, Creating with Multiple Exposures

As you create the second image, you’ll notice you can see a ghost of the first image over the top. This is there to help you compose and take some of the guesswork out of the process. When you’ve framed your second image, you’ll again be asked if this is OK or if you want to try again (NEXT or RETRY). Choose OK and you are finished – the double-exposure photo is saved to the memory card as a JPEG file alongside all of the regular images.

Getting Creative with Multiple Exposures

Try picking subjects that complement or contrast each other in terms of color and texture. They don’t have to be the same thing – an architectural image looks great with a frame full of flowers superimposed over the top of it, for instance.

You’ll find that putting something dark over the top of an already dark object gives a very dark result, just as superimposing two light objects gives a result that’s too bright. To get around this, either compose to avoid dark-on-dark/light-on-light situations, or use the exposure compensation control, just as you would normally.

Also notice that the second image will show through the first picture in areas that are dark. You can use this to your advantage by first framing silhouettes against a bright sky, then framing intricate details that fill in the dark area.

Here are a few more ideas:

  • Try combining a landscape or architectural scene with a reflection of the same thing in a nearby river or lake.
  • Photograph the same subject twice – first normally and then with intentional camera movement.
  • Create a portrait, photographing the same person in profile and straight on.
Learn photography with Fujifilm, Creating with Multiple Exposures

Photo © Afton Almaraz

Combining Images in Post-Production

Of course, making your multiple exposures in-camera is not the only way of creating this effect. You can combine frames afterwards in software such as Photoshop, too. This not only gives you more control over how the frames are blended, and lets you fine-tune composition afterwards, but lets you combine more than two frames for even more creativity.