Be Inspired

Go forth and multiply!

The multiple exposure mode on your Fujifilm X Series cameras is probably one of those functions that you know is there, but you’ve never really tried. You might have dismissed it as a little gimmicky, or perhaps just not thought that you could put it to much use. But trust me, this function is a highly-addictive way of taking images.

The good news is, every X Series model has the feature so you’ve really no excuse not to give it a whirl. Exactly how you access it will vary from model to model, but you should find the icon – two overlapping rectangles – in the Drive menu, the Adv. setting or, as on the X-T2 I used, the Drive dial on the top-plate.

Once you’ve selected the mode, the process of picture taking is simple. Point it at your first subject and take a picture. The camera will then give you the option to Retry the shot if you’re not entirely happy by pressing the left button on the rear quadrant or move on to the next shot  by pressing OK.

When you press OK, you’ll see that the original shot appears as a ghost image on the rear LCD or in the viewfinder so you can frame the second more accurately. You may also want to change the exposure with the exposure compensation dial, so you get a decent balance between the two exposures. That, essentially, is it. Once you’ve taken the second image you again get the chance to reshoot if you’re not happy, or press OK to save the file. Images are only saved as JPEGs.

The skill (and fun) comes in working out what combinations work best and the more you use the multiple exposure mode, the more you’ll realise the creative opportunities you have. Generally speaking, I found that combining a texture on the first frame with a subject in the second frame can render great results. The textures can be almost anything – I’ve used carpets, tarmac, wood and brickwork as starting points. It’s important that these textures are evenly lit, which is why you should shoot these multiple exposures on overcast days. The other option is to shoot combinations of subjects that complement one another, or the complete opposite. You really can let your imagination run wild.

Once you’ve captured your images, you may need to apply some further tweaks in Photoshop or Lightroom. For ideas or inspiration, take a look at these images, then get out there and give it a go yourself. I guarantee you’ll have a whale of a time.

My first shot here was a concrete inspection cover, then I cropped in tightly on this thatched cottage for an old world look. In Lightroom, I lifted the colours slightly using the Vibrance slider.

This church graveyard had some tombstones covered in ivy. I captured those first, then turned to capture one of the windows – I’m really pleased with this effect, which I further enhanced using the Bleach Bypass preset in Lightroom. Don’t know how to use presets? You can find details in my recent How to video.

This spooky-looking door was created by photographing a weathered wooden door and then this entrance door. Turning to Lightroom, I then applied the Yesteryear preset to make it look like a photograph from the 1800s.

Straight from the camera, this image is a simple combination of a Neighbourhood Watch sign with a warning to motorists to slow down. It’s all rather Big Brother, but the juxtaposition of the two shots works nicely, I think.

10 replies »

  1. Thank you for this wonderful article. I’ve enjoyed using the double exposure mode. I like the fact that you are constrained to two successive exposures and have to think about it at the time, rather than putting something together later. It’s also useful that you can use double exposure in conjunction with other aspects of the camera, such a shooting in sepia.

    I have some examples on Blipfoto. (https://www.blipfoto.com/search/entries?q=%40tridral+%23amlygiaddwbl+)

    Temporary Face: https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2285017586489886827
    Craftwork: https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2281362215648887414
    Without Ceremony: https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2244037993738273182
    Reflections on Time : https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2216186094792215857
    Ghost in the machine: https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2187465809687741516
    Gorfennaf: https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2206670081428033340

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  2. Hi Roger, can this technique be used on identical shots but focused differently to give front to back focus when the lens wouldn’t normally cover the range?

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  3. Thanks for this article. I noticed the two rectangles on the drive dial on my X-T2, but have never gotten around to trying, until now. Will have to try it out this weekend.

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  4. A very interesting article which has wetted my appetite. For info, sadly not all X-series cameras have the multiple exposure mode – the original X100 for example.

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  5. This feature on both my X-T1 and X-T10 provides a lot of entertainment. Try making one exposure in focus and the second one with close up color out of focus. This works particularly well with giving roses or lilies a dreamy quality. Play around by changing apertures and speeds between shots or rotating the telephoto lens to get flair. You are only limited by your willingness to experiment. Double exposures have become my digital playground. They don’t all work, but when they do, they are outstanding. One of my favorites, is currently hanging in my first ever show.

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  6. I already use the multi-exposure facility regularly but found your article interesting and informative, thank you. Having been an X user since the introduction of the x100 and now using a brace of Xt-2’s I only hope that Fuji will soon give us a much more advanced in-camera multi exposure facility as per canon 5dmk3/4 and 1DX (only reason that I still own one 5dmk3!!)

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