Multiple exposure techniques have been around since the analog days. Be sure to give them a try if you’re in search of a creative break from the norm!
As photographers, it’s important to always explore new and different techniques in order to keep our creative muscles active. A popular way to exercise our creativity is by utilizing alternative photography techniques. Shooting multiple exposures is one such example. With origins dating back to the film photography days, multiple exposure techniques are still highly popular to this day. The images created through multiple exposure photography tend to take on a surreal, ethereal, or conceptual nature. One thing that they definitely won’t be is boring. If you’re looking for creative photography projects to help sharpen your imagination, consider giving multiple exposures a try!
Before embarking upon a multiple exposure project, it is often helpful to first have a concept in mind. Having a well fleshed out concept is critical to the success of a creative vision. What overarching theme do you want your images to have? How can the use of multiple exposure techniques help realize it? What stories do you want your images to tell? Of the elements that will appear within your multiple exposure images, what should be the focus? What will remain static and what will repeat? The answers to these questions will inform the decisions you make during the creative process.
A popular multiple exposure technique involves the overlaying of silhouettes with other images. The subject of the silhouette image is up to you. Silhouettes of a person are a popular choice, but it can also be of a plant, an animal, or whatever else that tickles your fancy. Creating the silhouette image can be as simple as photographing someone against a bright white background. Ostensibly, the silhouette functions as a frame within which other images can be overlaid. These can be images of textures, repeating patterns, or anything else that can complement or contrast against the silhouette. Many cameras have this function built-in (similar to how the process was done on film) so you can do this in-camera rather than simulating the effect in Photoshop.
Another multiple exposure method that’s arguably even easier to achieve can be done through stacking multiple images. Your framing remains static, but your subject can appear and even overlap multiple times within the same image. It’s a great way to illustrate the passage of time or to showcase a sense of repetition. Obviously, this will require that your camera be stationary. Make sure you find a safe place to set up your camera, or mount it onto a sturdy tripod. Many cameras also have this functionality built-in. As with many alternative photography techniques, stacking multiple exposures can be a process of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to experiment with this technique and let your concept inform your creative decisions.