Experimenting with transparencies.
To achieve a double exposure through editing, you’ll need to stack your images on top of each other and then experiment with the transparency and opacity of your top image. Opacity is the extent to which something blocks light, and with Photoshop, you can change the opacity of layers, filters, and effects so the underlying image shows through.
Masking for beginners.
Layer masking is a reversible way to hide part of a layer. If there’s a section of your first image that won’t look good laid over your second image, masking is a great solution. Masking gives you more flexibility than permanently erasing part of the image, and it’s especially useful for making composite images or double exposure.
The basics of blending.
“You don’t have to worry about winding the film back to the correct place,” Long says of doing double exposures in photo editing software. “You’ve got so much more control over how things are going to blend. You can blend things that you couldn’t blend in the darkroom.” Blending controls how pixels in your image are affected by a painting or editing tool. Instead of dodging and burning in the darkroom, blending in digital lets you merge the images on a pixel level.
Once you understand the basics, you’re ready to successfully create a double exposure or composite image. Those miniscule adjustments can be what makes your double exposure or composite successful.
When it comes to creating stunning double exposure photographs, Long says, “all the rules are off. You can do whatever you like.” Push your creativity and experiment with new tools, whether you’re using film or digital. Your first few double exposure attempts probably won’t be perfect, but don’t be discouraged. As with anything, this technique takes time and practice to master.