The photography technique of double exposure has been around long before the advent of modern digital cameras, and certainly before the introduction of the camera phone. Simply, double exposure is the art of superimposing one image on top of another. Using a double exposure technique, artists can blend two photos, overlaying a cityscape on a portrait or a landscape photo on wildlife.
What is double exposure?
What used to be a fairly analog technique — it required literally exposing the same frame of film twice, hence the name — can now be achieved using digital technology and editing apps. This surreal form of photography creates a superimposed effect, blending two images to create one single but effectual visual.
Double exposures can enhance one image by adding a second layer of detail and focus. Think of nightlife lights blended with a subject’s portrait, showing off the excitement and liveliness of a night out. Or a detailed mountainscape superimposed on a camping tent, conveying the peacefulness of a night under the stars. Your double exposure possibilities are limitless — it is up to you to capture the scenes or portraits and bring them to life, in unison. This added storytelling element can truly boost the attention-grabbing quality of any image.
How to do the double exposure effect
While double exposure photos used to require film cameras and rolls of film, they are now made possible using intuitive technology. Tools like the YouCam Perfect app allow users to create their own double exposure photos in seconds. Here’s how to get started.
1. Select your primary photo
Whether it’s a selfie or a portrait, your primary photo should serve as the main “subject” of the final image. This will be the focal point of the blended photo and it’s where the viewer’s eye will immediately go.
Pro tip: The YouCam Perfect photo blending option works best with a portrait photo, so snap your best portrait to get started!
2. Select your blending effect
Once you’ve taken your portrait photo and uploaded it into the app, click the “Blending” edit option to begin. Here, you can choose from any of YouCam Perfect’s blending effects, including seasonal-themed overlays, stars, cityscapes, countrysides, landscapes, nightlife, and so many more. You can also add in your own photo here, and the app will instantly recognize it as the overlay.
Once you’ve selected your overlay blending option (this will be the image that will be superimposed on top of the primary portrait photo you selected earlier), the app will blend the two together, creating the double exposure shot. You’ll immediately see how the app’s editing technology has identified the subject in the first image, and seamlessly blended it with the details of the second.
If you’d like to change how the superimposed image was blended, use the Eraser tool to define the edges of your primary subject. Changing the eraser hardness levels will also either blur edges, or provide harder and sharply defined lines. This can help add detail in the borders of the two images, defining how seamlessly (or starkly) they are blended. Use your own personal preferences here to blend. The creativity options are endless, and it’s up to you how you want to display the photo blending.
3. Change the background of your image
After you’ve blended your two images together to create the double exposure, you can also change the background of the image to make further edits. If you’d like to keep the graphics of the blending photo on top of your primary photo, no need to make more edits.
However, if you’d like to either change the color of the background, or add another image as a background, here’s your chance to do so. Simply select a solid color as a background — you can choose from any of the pastel or bright colors available in the slider — or choose another photo from stock sources or your own camera roll to serve as a background.
Carefully adding a third element to your image can even further show off your personality and creativity. Use this tool to build on your original photos and tell a story to your audience.
YouCam Perfect: Your go-to photo editor
Ready to get started creating your own double exposure photos? Download the YouCam Perfect app, available now for iPhone and Android, and start your creative journey.