Posts Tagged ‘multiple exposure’

Double Exposure

December 14th, 2009

A few days ago I decided to experiment with multiple exposures.

I’d been meaning to try it for a while now and kept forgetting, until something reminded me of it recently.

A multiple exposure is a photographic technique in which a single image is created by making two or more exposures (photographs) on a single piece of film (or digital equivalent). A typical DSLR, like my Nikon D700, allows you to make such pictures manually.

There are also software programs out there (can anyone say Photoshop?) which can allow you to superimpose two or more pictures.

However, I wanted to try it in-camera. Besides, I don’t own or use Photoshop, so…

I decided to test it out by taking portraits of my father. I can never spend enough time with him, and I can never have enough pictures of him.

Below is one of the resulting pictures. The photograph is unaltered except to convert it to greyscale (black & white).

Seeing Double (D700, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, f16, ISO 200, 1/320secs)

It came out pretty much as I envisaged it, though is not perfect by any count. I’ll be trying more double exposures in the future and hopefully you’ll see the difference of lessons learnt…

I shot at an aperture of f16 (a very small opening) as I didn’t want available light to affect the picture. I wanted only to have my lighting affect the picture.

I used a single flash to light, and just moved it to the other side when I changed position to take the other shot. The light in each case was directed at the far (i.e.: non-visible) side of my father’s face as I wanted both to have outline shots and to limit the light that hit the near side of his face. If I’d lit the camera-side profile I would have added detail to the side of his face and head for each shot – and meshed together things would just get messy and horrible.

I tried to have two different types of image and expression combined. And I managed to get him smiling in one, and asked him to turn his head very slightly towards me in the other.

I must say, my dad is so patient… He sat through the whole thing with a wry smile, watching me variously fiddle with the position of the flash, find the right angle to shoot from, or curse at my camera or at myself – the multiple exposure setting expires after each image made or if any other settings are touched. Which could be frustrating, and frequently was, as my fingers aren’t the most dexterous.

I always end up pressing some button I shouldn’t when trying to cradle camera, lightstand and flash and rearranging them on the other side after an exposure was made. I should have just used two pre-programmed flashes. But I was lazy and so ended up circling the armchair my father sat in more than I should have. (That said, that expiry thing is perfect – imaging forgetting to unselect multiple exposure once you’re done. You could end up shooting through a whole memory card’s worth before you realised…)

Hokay. So that wraps it up for today.

Yep. Just one picture.


Oh alright. Here’s another. Also of my father. Taken a while back now. Also in black & white. I used a single flash to light him, and to get the light soft and lighting as I wanted I ended up putting the diffusion dome on the flash head and piling on layers of tissue paper (I was shooting TTL and hadn’t thought of shifting to manual mode…)

Da Profile

More pictures coming soon!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Portraits | Comments (1)

Creative Commons License
Ziad Salloum Photography & The Desert Jerboa by Ziad Salloum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at