The Multiple Exposure (MX) technique is one method to create some of the most unique photos know to Lomographers! We all love MX, but what are the techniques? Flowers are my favorite subject for MX. I often mix them with landscapes, old factories, trees and so on. Now, let's take a look at how we can create those wonderful images!
A good multiple exposure shot can be created by two clear images with vivid colors. For the above photograph, a picture with a church and another one with tulips are merged together which turns out to be an eye-catching image. It is always good to find something special and unique to your current season. Let’s check out some tips on how to take a better MX shot now!
【What you need】
1. Camera（LC-A+、Holga、Diana、whichever camera with the MX (multiple exposure) function is a must!）
2. Film（Any films are fine, higher ISO is preferable）
3. Splizter is optional
1. About the weather
First of all, it is important to know how much light you would like to expose to your film. The exposure of two images has to be similar so as to create a harmonic MX shot. “Overcast” and “Backlight” weather are the keys.
When you photograph a flower in overcast weather, you will be able to get a better result of the color of the flower petal. Besides that, other exposures on the leaves and stems will be darker. This may help you take a satisfactory MX shot. We can also apply the same rule for landscapes or buildings. It is easier to merge the buildings with the flowers if it’s taken in overcast weather as the exposure of buildings will be the in a lower key.
The best result for an MX shot with buildings can be created with the backlight. The contrast of the picture will be stronger if there is enough sunlight. As the buildings will be turned into silhouettes when the sky (background) is bright. This is an ideal situation for exposing the flower or other objects on the building afterward. (The top photo placed in this article is the one of those examples)
2. Flower first? Building first?
This is another common question. To me, it does not matter which comes first. There is not much of a difference between putting a flower first or a building first as I have tried both before. The key is, we need to know that “the brighter exposure shot will appear more than the darker one” on film. As long as you understand the balance between the two, it will be a good MX shot.
3. What are the criteria of choosing flowers?
You need to be careful when you choose which flower to be photographed. If you pick those with brighter colors (Lilies, Sunflowers, Cosmos, etc…), keep in mind the light can be reflected by the petals, so a strong contrast may result. And If there’s enough light, you may pick flowers in red as well (Roses, Tulips, etc..) However, I will only recommend you to pick those when you are not using red-scale or B&W films. Flowers with darker colors are the least preferable as they can’t reflect much light.
Besides, things around the flowers are crucial too. As if they are in a sharper or brighter color than the flowers, the focus of the picture may change.
4. How to choose the background and/or landscape
As long as you are in the situation of overcast or backlight, do not worry too much about the rest. Though remember to pick the darker background/landscape to merge together with the flower. For example, white buildings are not good choices (such as a church for instance). We shall pick instead with the shape, and how good the line of the building is.
5. How to shoot
※Let’s assume we are using LC-A+ with ISO 100 slide film.
・How to shoot the flower
If the flower is not tall, let’s photograph above it with which a better framing will result. Including the sky in your photo is not recommended as it may be too bright and affect the desired MX effect. When the flower is small, turn the focusing mode to the 0.8m and try to capture the flower as close as you can. If the objects around the flowers are dark, you should exclude them from the picture too!
ISO setting depends on the light source. The image I posted above is shot with ISO 200. Since there was enough sunlight, it was bright enough (distance mode was 0.8m as well)
・How to take a shot of buildings/landscapes
The most important thing for this part is to beware of the shape and outline of the building. The color does not matter too much since we are going to merge it with another image. You need to frame the building with a good angle. The first image in this article is taken with ISO 100 for the building part, but again, it depends on the light condition at that time.
Only if you would like to emphasize the details of a building, you may need to adjust the setting for the exposure slightly. If you are confused, shoot with different ISO settings. That’s what I usually do!
Refer to the photos below – the ISO setting makes a huge difference on resulting images.
6. Use the splitzer
By using the splitzer, you can take MX shots in an easier way and more interesting results can be obtained.
・Hide the part you would like to exclude in the picrture
You can avoid the extra surrounding areas when you photograph the flowers by using splitzer. You can also use it to hide the half frame, and shoot flowers with another half later. As a result, you can increase the amount of flowers in the photo.
・Expose the landscape symmetrically
By using a splitzer, you will be able to take the landscape twice by holding your camera upside down. Therefore, you can get a symmetrical image before merging the flower above it.
For the image below, I shot the factory twice symmetrically, and I took another shot of flower above it. And the photo turned out to be really cool!
Do you understand more about MX after reading this entry?
Let’s try MX! You will have so much fun when you get a satisfactory result! Whenever you see something beautiful like flowers, or scenery, that will be an opportunity for you to capture them all with your new-found knowledge on MX!
Enjoy your MX life!