Multiple Exposures for Beginners

21

New to Lomography? Have you been wondering how other people have been able to blend pictures together? You have come to the right place. With the technique of multiple exposure, you will find yourself achieving works of art that digital photography cannot compete with!

You will need a camera which can do multiple exposures, here are just a few examples which I recommend for beginner Lomographers:

  • Holga 135 / Holga 135 BC
  • Diana Mini
  • LC-A+
  • Smena 8M

35mm film which you are willing to experiment with, here are some affordable recommendations:

  • 100 ISO:
    • Lomography Color Negative 100 35mm
    • Fuji Superia 100 35mm
    • Kodak Gold 100 35mm
  • 200 ISO:
    • Klick Max 200 35mm
  • 400 ISO:
    • Lomography Color Negative 400 35mm
    • Fuji Superia 400 35mm
    • Kodak Ultra Color 400UC 35mm
    • Kodak BW400CN 35mm (this film is black and white)

This is a relatively small list of personal recommendations. There are many other cameras and films fit for the job, but the alternatives may be more costly or difficult for beginners. For example, doubles exposures taken with slide film that is then cross-processed can be amazing, but it is expensive and sometimes difficult finding a place that cross-processes. Be sure to read the guide for your camera to ensure you understand how your camera works.

What is a double/multiple exposure?

To explain this, I will first describe what an exposure is in the first place. When you take a photograph, you are exposing the film to light, which captures an image by basically making a chemical recording of that light.

Film can only be exposed to light so much before the chemicals cannot record anymore. If you were to take a picture on a sunny day with a long exposure (the B setting on most cameras, where “B” stands for “bulb”), then you will get either a very faint, washed out image or an entirely white image. Here is an example of when I accidentally had my Diana Mini (set to half-frame mode, so there are two pictures separated by the black line) on bulb mode on a sunny day:

As you can see, the image is completely washed out. The long exposure exposed the film to far too much light. Though sometimes it may accidentally turn out interesting, this is most likely what you do not want to aim for.

With a multiple exposure, you expose the film to light more than once. You do so by clicking the shutter, not winding the camera so you will not advance the film, and clicking the shutter once again. The parts of the film that were least exposed during the first click of the shutter will be most capable of capturing light during the second click.

Here are two shots I took with my Diana Mini in half-frame mode, where the right features double exposure:

The Importance of Avoiding Overexposure

Imagine we took a picture of a large white wall with a big black square in it and then took a second exposure of a red wall. The black square will take on a red hue, while the white of the wall will appear pink or possibly still white, depending on film sensitivity and the amount of light. Now imagine the same scenario with a flash used for both exposures. We would most likely wash out the first image entirely with the second exposure due to overexposure.

It’s not hard for even beginner photographers to see the key to successful multiple exposures is controlling how much light you need. To avoid overexposure, you want to aim to take multiple underexposed shots. Otherwise, one of your exposures can essentially erase the other, like so:

Attaining the Proper Underexposure

Say you want to take a double exposure of something indoors and you realize you need a flash. If your flash can be adjusted, then you may want to take your two pictures with the flash adjusted to half of what it would be for a normal, single exposure. The more exposures you want to take, the less light you will want for each exposure. If your flash cannot be adjusted, you can accomplish this by moving a bit further away from your subject(s) so less light reaches them.

If you are outdoors, you are most likely not going to change the lighting by taking a step back from your subject(s). Thus, the key is choosing subjects carefully and just paying attention to the lighting that is all around you. The sky, depending on the time of day and the weather, can be very bright and may wash out parts of a picture. Therefore, if you took a picture of a building and then an overcast sky, you will probably just barely see the building, if at all. However, maybe that is what you are aiming for, as I was here:

Other times, however, the sky hasn’t created overexposure problems for me, so it is always worth trying:

Of course, if your camera is capable of it, you can change the exposure index to help out attaining the appropriate exposure. I have not done much with this, so I recommend researching pushing and pulling film to learn about this.

Things to look out for…

Be careful to not underexpose too much! If there really is not enough light, then you could have such a faint exposure that it doesn’t show up even if the other exposure is not too bright:

Also, I would be weary of rotating your camera 90 degrees between exposures. I have seen people do it in a way that works, but I have not been able to get it right even once. Sometimes I have done it accidentally. It may be worth trying to see if you can do it well, but I’ve always regretted trying it:

Also, after all my warnings about overexposure, I do not want you to be afraid of using your flash. It is best not to over think and just go for it sometimes, so my last warning is to ignore all I have said so far if it feels right. My favorite double exposure resulted from using a flash for both exposures when it was completely unnecessarily to add extra light:

Which film is best for multiple exposures?

Logic would dictate that the film with lower speeds — which captures less light with each exposure — would be best, but anything can happen in Lomography. I did not list 800 ISO films earlier because I have found that I don’t like the way it handles multiple exposures, but individual shots have turned out great. This may be an unfair exclusion considering I did list Kodak BW400CN, which has been hit or miss with me for multiple exposures.

Anyway, rather than describe the benefits of each film, I found what I consider to be my best shots of each film speed.

100 ISO:

200 ISO:

400 ISO:

800 ISO:

Some Ideas

The possibilities are endless with multiple exposures, but here are just a few ideas:

  • Take a close picture of an object, then take another exposure of the same object slightly further away. You can also experiment with making one of the exposures more or less focused than the other.
  • Photograph something at a distance such as a mountain or a building; flip the camera upside-down and take a second exposure of the same exact scene.
  • Using a flash at night and preferably outdoors, take a picture of a friend on the left, then take a second exposure of the same friend on the right side. If you have a color flash, use two different colors for each exposure.
  • Place your camera on a tripod (and possibly even use a cable release). Take a picture of a friend posing somewhere. Then have your friend pose elsewhere in the frame for the second exposure. They’ll hopefully look a bit ghost-like; the trick is just to make sure the background is exactly the same for both exposures.
  • Take two pictures of the same thing from a slightly different angle. For example, take a picture of a building from across the street, then walk thirty feet down the sidewalk and take another exposure of the same building.

Closing Thoughts

These were only suggestions which I can only hope will work for you, but everything depends on context and you may find that my advice could be completely wrong in some situations. You’ll only discover what works once you start experimenting for yourself. Keep in mind that you cannot go wrong, especially if you have fun in the process!

written by carmenism on 2011-02-10 in #gear #tipster #beginners #top-lc-a-tipster #multiples #35mm #art #doubles #double-exposure #lc-a-top-tipster #exposure #top-tipster-techniques #multiple-exposure #tutorial #easy #holga-135 #holga-135-bc #diana-mini #basic #tipster

21 Comments

  1. kamiraze
    kamiraze ·

    Very nice, elaborate tipster! Good job

  2. badjuju
    badjuju ·

    Thanks for the tips!

  3. novakmisi
    novakmisi ·

    well done !!!!!

  4. awesomesther
    awesomesther ·

    loving all the details you put in this tipster! :)

  5. willyboy
    willyboy ·

    Great ideas at the end there, I'm gonna give these a whirl.

  6. keeklo
    keeklo ·

    Now, that's a very thorough tipster! I like!!

  7. amor44
    amor44 ·

    Great ideas section at the end!

  8. mimifleuri
    mimifleuri ·

    Thanks for the tipster. Can't wait to start multiple exposing!

  9. carmenism
    carmenism ·

    Wow, thank you for all the nice comments and likes! I really appreciate it. :) Glad you enjoyed my article.

  10. gitarre
    gitarre ·

    nice tipsters!

  11. dfektion
    dfektion ·

    thanks for the tips, loves it!!

  12. pomps
    pomps ·

    love the photos love the tips!

  13. robotmonkey1996
    robotmonkey1996 ·

    SO TIIIGGGHHHTTTTT!!!!!

  14. tammyislove
    tammyislove ·

    thank you so much! i do believe i probably overexposed my first roll of film. ill see when i develop them. this tipster REALLY helps! cant wait to try with my redscale xr film. :]

  15. avocado-in-a-world-of-cucumbers
    avocado-in-a-world-of-cucumbers ·

    This was super helpful - thank you! *grabs camera and starts shooting*

  16. carmenism
    carmenism ·

    @tammyislove, I hope your first roll turned out alright! I am sure it did. :) I cannot wait to try Redscale XR either!

  17. jbradley12
    jbradley12 ·

    Thanks for the tipsters! I'm starting out and learning a lot by trial and error. Now I'm heading out for some more trial and hopefully less errors.

  18. speezberry
    speezberry ·

    Hallelujah Thank the Stars!!

  19. wilarbadson
    wilarbadson ·

    Thanks a lot!! :) After this I hope that I will become more good at multiple exposure technique.

  20. lafoto
    lafoto ·

    Very useful, thanks a lot! :D

  21. checkmybadself
    checkmybadself ·

    Love it!

More Interesting Articles

  • LomoKino: Life in Moving Pictures!

    written by adi_totp on 2014-08-21 in #reviews
    LomoKino: Life in Moving Pictures!

    I bought the LomoKino years ago, and since then I've been having great times with it. I will continue documenting my daily life with the LomoKino, which is Lomography in motion! You can see the movements and facial expressions of people - it’s priceless! Documenting life in moving pictures, the Lomokino can be used as a camera that not only shoots moving pictures but also works like the multi-frame wonder camera, Supersampler!

  • My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    written by tomas_bates on 2014-11-12 in #gear #tipster
    My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    I backed the Kickstarter project for the Lomo’Instant earlier this year and was thrilled to receive it last week. I love how the camera naturally encourages you to experiment with its different features, whether it’s through flashing your multiple exposures with different colors or trying different creative techniques after your shots has been ejected. Here are a few tips from what I’ve discovered from playing with the camera so far (and a couple of tips I want to try out in future)!

  • Lomography Redscale XR 50-200 120: Perfect for Endless Multiple Exposures!

    written by adi_totp on 2014-08-19 in #reviews
    Lomography Redscale XR 50-200 120: Perfect for Endless Multiple Exposures!

    About two years ago or so, I purchased the Lomography Redscale XR 50-200. I saved just one roll of this film and waited for the right moment to shoot with it. In April this year, I just wasn't able to take it anymore! I loaded this film into my Lubitel 166+, which I realized I hadn't used for maybe about six months. One idea came to mind: taking crazy multiple exposures!

    3
  • Shop News

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    At 25% off you can take dreamy 35mm images with this little black beauty. Beam coloured light into your shots with its accompanying Diana Flash Back accessory and be the analogue king of the night.

  • Fresh Portraits Taken with the New Petzval Art Lens

    written by chooolss on 2014-06-26 in #lifestyle
    Fresh Portraits Taken with the New Petzval Art Lens

    As you may have already heard of, the Lomography X Zenit Petzval Art Lens works not only with Canon EF and Nikon F mount SLRs, but with their digital counterparts as well. In this gallery post, we're putting the spotlight on these lovely portraits that our DSLR and Petzval-lens toting community members have taken!

    4
  • Chemical Manipulations with the Lomo’Instant

    written by tomas_bates on 2015-01-21 in #gear #tipster
    Chemical Manipulations with the Lomo’Instant

    Perhaps you’ve already had chance to try light painting, multiple exposures and long exposures with your Lomo’Instant, but what can you experiment with next? Well, that’s exactly the thought I had which led to giving this Tipster a go. I wanted to shoot Lomo’Instant photos which felt a bit “messier” than what I’m usually used to and to use a technique which would open up new possibilities with the kinds of images I could create with my favorite instant camera. Well, here I go!

    2
  • How To Bring Your Images To Life

    written by andie_sollmer on 2014-07-08 in #gear #tipster

    Learn how to make a minimovie out of your favorite picture! It works best with Multi-lensed cameras like the Oktomat or Pop9, where you have many images on one single print.

    2
  • Shop News

    LomoKino & LomoKinoscope Package

    LomoKino & LomoKinoscope Package

    Enjoy a truly analogue moviemaking experience with Lomography's 35mm movie camera and an accompanying accessory to watch your films with. View your masterpieces in the most analogue way possible with the LomoKinoscope. Get it now 20% off the regular price!

  • What Photography and Tech Websites are Saying About the New LC-A 120

    written by chooolss on 2014-09-25 in #news
    What Photography and Tech Websites are Saying About the New LC-A 120

    It's only been a few weeks since we launched the newest member of the LC-A family, yet the Internet has already been abuzz with much talk about it. We're thrilled to see all the coverage that photography and tech websites and blogs have given the LC-A 120, so we've rounded up some of them to share with you right here!

  • The Wonderful Adventures of the Petzval Lens

    written by pripri2000 on 2015-04-23 in #people #news
    The Wonderful Adventures of the Petzval Lens

    As all you lomographers will know, since its re-inception we have been following the tracks of the Petzval Lens. Indeed, this bokeh-genius has been traveling far and wide, falling into the hands of many a photographer the world over. We decided to put together this little catalog of talented artists and their most enticing photographs, shot using the Petzval lens, so we can show you what wonders and mischief we have brought upon us. Come take a look at the outcome of the Petzval’s transnational journey.

    3
  • December 18th Advent Offer: Save 10% On Film Today! (Online Code: FILMFANTASY10)

    written by jacobs on 2014-12-18 in #news
    December 18th Advent Offer: Save 10% On Film Today! (Online Code: FILMFANTASY10)

    With the holidays just around the corner, it's a great time to make sure you have loads of wonderful films for all the fun festivities coming up. Today's Advent deal of the day is here to help you do just that! Head on over to the Online Shop and save 10% on our wide selection of films. Do the right thing and keep your camera happy this year!

  • Shop News

    Colorsplash your World!

    Colorsplash your World!

    At 30% off you can now color your analog images with 12 different color gels. Experiment with 35mm slide film and play with the built-in color flash for the most intense colors!

  • Tinker on the fly: A color filter made from spoiled film

    written by dopa on 2014-05-25 in #gear #tipster
    Tinker on the fly: A color filter made from spoiled film

    Probably each one of you has been annoyed with failed film. This is particularly annoying when you get the developed film back from the lab, but you get blanks because the film was not exposed. It's either the film transport didn't work, or you have not taken the lens cap off, etc. Read on and I'll show you an alternative to just throwing away the film: Simply use it as a color filter for your camera, with the La Sardina for example.

    3
  • Lomography x Oxjam Clapham Rumble!

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-09-11 in #competitions
    Lomography x Oxjam Clapham Rumble!

    Oxjam music events raise money to help Oxfam combat poverty and suffering around the world. Last year, their emergency and development work reached a staggering 15 million people in 55 countries! In line with this year’s Oxjam Clapham which takes place in October,with have collaborated with the event's organizers for a very exciting rumble! The Oxjam Clapham Rumble gives you the chance to win some tickets, a Sprocket Rocket with a Flash, and to be a part of something exciting. Join the competition and grab the chance to win!

    1
  • Portugal. The Man Petzval Concert Shoot by Matthias Hombauer

    written by zonderbar on 2014-06-27 in #people #lomoamigos
    Portugal. The Man Petzval Concert Shoot by Matthias Hombauer

    The New Petzval Art Lens is the perfect portrait lens. But have you ever wondered how it performs in difficult situations with low light and unpredictable movements, such as a concert? Viennese rockstar photographer Matthias Hombauer proves that such a challenge can be surpassed with exceptional results. In Linz, Austria he met the American rock band Portugal. The Man and shot excellent black and white photos! Check out the gallery below and let Matthias teach you how to work with the lens during concerts.

    1