Photography News | Issue 33 | absolutephoto.com
Photo school Camera class Everyone has to start somewhere, even pros, so every issue we’re looking at the core skills every beginner needs. This month, how to shoot multiple exposures in camera and create them in Photoshop
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Creatingmultiple exposures in Photoshop is very simple and it gives you total freedom in how the final image looks. Essentially, all you need to do is add one image to another as a layer and alter the layer blendingmode or layer opacity (or both). Photoshop and Elements have well over 20 blendingmodes, but you’ll find the most useful in the Darken, Lighten and Contrast groups at the top of the list. One of the main advantages of makingmultiple exposures this way is that you can use pictures taken a long time apart, unlike most cameras, where the effect needs to be created with consecutive shots (unless you’re using in-camera processing). And you can resize and reposition the separate pics so they work perfectly together. It all adds up to an expressive and free-form technique that rewards experimentation and while you can use as many layers are you like for this technique, here we’ll keep things simple with just two. Next month: How to remove digital noise Softwareskills: Make amultiple exposure inPhotoshop
Words & pictures by Kingsley Singleton
A multiple exposure is simply an image created by exposing the camera’s sensor (or a frame of film) more than once. The most common kind, double exposures, used to happen more often by accident than design, thanks to film getting stuck in the camera and failing to wind on between shots, or when a half- exposed roll of film was reused, and most of us who shot on film probably experienced it at least once. With digital cameras these mistakes don’t happen, but people still choose to create such effects, because in the right circumstances, they can look amazing. You can make some incredibly ethereal and surreal images and the style is very free-form, so benefits from experimentation. Below we’ve listed three effects to try, but use your imagination and you can make something very special.
Shooting your multiple exposure Finally, frameup, focusand trigger the shutter for the first then second shots (or however many frames you chose) and both scenes will be recorded. Some other things to bear in mind: the main one is to predict how light and dark areas in the frame will react; you’ll find dark parts will allow light areas on subsequent frames to show up. There’s also composition to consider, and though the technique is expressionist in style, some planning will help different elements gel more easily, rather than crashing into one another. To help, some cameras let youuse live viewmode in conjunction with multiple exposures, so you take the first image and then recompose the second on screen. Vary your exposures and have fun! Once you’ve got used to the basics, you can bring other techniques into the mix, for example using fast and slow shutter speeds or intentional camera movement. Just make sure you shoot in Raw and you can tweak the exposure and colours with more freedom in processing. Most modern DSLRs will also allowyou tomakemultiple exposures with in-camera processing; the option will be found with the other editing effects like cropping within the playback mode – on Nikon camera it’s called Image Overlay mode and is found in the Retouchmenu. Next month: Noise reduction
them so that the finished image isn’t too light (or dark). The lighten mode just uses an uncontrolled cumulative route. On Nikon DSLRs, this is referred to as Auto Gain, with On being ‘average’ and Off taking the ‘lighten’ route. Doing it the manual way If you want to control the exposure manually, all it takes is a little mental arithmetic. Say you want to combine a landscapes with a shot of a cloudy sky. With the multi-exposure mode set to its uncontrolled, ‘lighten’ mode, just put the camera in manual mode. Set the f/number to control the depth- of-field as required, then, using the exposure bar as a guide, frame up on both subjects to gauge their relative brightness. Now imagine the landscape meters at 1/30sec and the sky is 1/250sec, just increase the shutter speed by a stop for each and you should have a fairly balanced exposure, so you’d be shooting at 1/60sec for the former and 1/500sec for the latter. When shooting with the ‘average’ orAutoGainmode switchedoff, you’ll also need to be mindful of white- balance, as no correctionwill be made in camera for this and the colour in all the exposures will usually be judged from the first shot. The manual route is complicated, but part of the fun is doing it this way, and chancing upon interesting looks through experimentation. Three ideas for in-cameramultiple exposures effects
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1. Open and stack the pics In Photoshop or Elements, hit Ctrl+O, highlight the two pics you want to use and click OK. Now, on one of them, go to Select>All then Edit>Copy. You can now close that image down, and back on the other one, go to Edit>Paste. Take a look in the Layers palette (Window>Layers) and you’ll now see the image you copied in as Layer 1. 2. Experiment with Blending Modes and Opacity In the Layers palette click on Opacity and lower this to around 50% – lower or higher can work, too, depending on the image. Changing the Blending modes will give a different look to lowering the Opacity, so return the latter to 100%, and click Normal to open the list. Try the Screen, Lighten, Multiply, Darken, Overlay and Soft Light modes for the most natural looks. Adjust the Opacity again if the effect is too strong. 3. Experiment with composition Now, in the Layers palette, double-click the Background layer and hit OK to unlock it. Using the Move tool (V) and with the Show Transform Control box ticked at the top, reposition and resize both layers to fit nicely with each other by dragging inside the box or using the corner handles to resize. When you’re happy with the look, go to Layer>Flatten Image to finish, and save the picture with a new name (File>Save As…).
Finding the mode Most modern DSLRs feature a multiple exposure mode, and you’ll find it either in the shooting menu alongside settings like the interval timer, or sometimes with the Drive modes. On the Nikon D800, for example, the mode is found in the Shooting Menu; there you can also choose whether the effect is for one image only, or to be used until deactivated. Next you pick how many shots you want to make up the exposure. It’s best to start with a low number like two or three, especially while you’re practising. Multiple exposures of more than a few frames must be very carefully planned or they can look quite incoherent. Dealing with exposure Therewill alsobe anoptiongoverning how the separate exposures are combined, and it’s this which can prevent you from ending up with an overexposed mess; the fact that the same ‘frame’ is exposed to light more than once means it’s easy to allow too much in andmake it too bright. Again, different cameras have different names for this, but primarily it is split into ‘average’ and ‘lighten’ modes. The former of these stores the shots in sequence and then processes
1. Use texture For the first image, focus closely on a simple texture, like woven fabric or a rocky surface. For the second, shoot a regular scene, like a landscape, portrait, or architectural shot. 2. Enhance a silhouette For this look, first shoot a silhouetted figure or profile; you’ll need them to be against a bright background like a white wall or the sky, and you might need to use some negative exposure compensation (the +/- button). Next, shoot a regular image, and it should only show up through the dark silhouette. 3. Create ghosts Using a tripod or similar to keep the camera position identical between shots, take the first picture with a figure or figures in the scene. Wait for these to move, then take the second and the background will show through them.
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