Early Double Exposure Portraits


Double exposure has been around since the late 1800’s. We often use this technique to merge two subjects in a single photo. This can make our photos more interesting to look at. Let’s take a look at some double exposure portraits from the 19th century.

photo via Retronaut

In film photography, double exposure is a trick where a single frame of film is exposed twice or more in order to achieve multiple images in a single frame. The photo that comes out is a combination of the two images that were shot, one superimposed on top of the other. This technique has been around for more than a hundred years as evidenced by the images that you see here.

In the 1860’s photographers were looking for a way to boost their business. Because of this, they thought of a way to make the subjects appear twice in the photograph – thus the birth of double exposure. In the images presented here, you can see that the subject is seen twice in the photo but having a different position. To create this type of image, the photographer would shoot the subject in one position and then the subject must move swiftly to another position before the second image is taken. The photographers also used rotating lens caps and special plates to come up with these double-exposed images. Nowadays, we can easily create double-exposed images simply by taking a second photo on the same frame or by using the multiple exposure option on our cameras.

photos via Retronaut

The information for this article was taken from Retronaut and Wikipedia - Multiple Exposure.

written by jeanmendoza on 2011-11-29 #lifestyle #vintage #multiple-exposure #photography #double-exposure #19th-century


  1. gvelasco
    gvelasco ·

    Very cool. Every one of those gives me an idea.

  2. morty
    morty ·


  3. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    Double exposures were also used to produce the famous "ghost" pictures that were used to dupe marks of spiritualists.

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