Be Inspired

Get Creative with Multiple Exposures

By Chris Upton

I remember in my film days having great fun taking shots and resetting the shutter to take another picture to overlay on the first. But in truth this technique was a little hit and miss and rarely resulted in any great images. Thankfully camera manufacturers, including Fujifilm, have come to the rescue and introduced Multiple Exposure modes into their camera bodies.

This is a super feature with endless possibilities to create truly unique and inspiring images in camera without the need to use any post processing. If you’ve not tried this yet here is a short guide to help you on your way.

Multiple Exposure is a simple process that allows you to take one, or more shots, then blend them together to create your image. The Fujifilm system allows you to combine two images in camera to create a final JPEG.

This is a fairly easy technique where the skill is in selecting the appropriate images that blend well together. Each shot is as important as the other, as you are looking for a strong base subject followed by an image that either complements or contrasts with the first shot. So you will benefit from giving some thought to your subject matter before you start pressing the shutter.

Where do we find the Multiple Exposure feature? Well that varies according to your Fujifilm body but in all cases it is selected from the Drive Mode options. On the FUJIFILM X-T2, for example, it’s a simple process of turning the Drive Mode lever under the ISO dial to the two overlapping frames icon. On the X-E3, press the Drive Mode button on the rear of the camera and navigate to “Adv” where you will see “Multiple Exposure” alongside the “Panorama” feature.

Once selected, you will see that your file type is now a JPEG. Find your first subject and take your shot. You will then see an option to move onto the “Next” shot or “Retry” if you’re not happy. Once you press “OK” to continue, you’ll see a ghost overlay of your first shot enabling you to compose precisely with your second and final shot. Press the shutter and you’ll see the result. Again if you’re not happy you can “Retry” the second shot or accept and complete the process. In essence that’s it, simple!

There are, however, some things to consider that will help increase your keeper rate. Care needs to be taken when overlaying the shots as dark over dark areas, or light over light, will result in a very dark or very bright image. For the best results I recommend that you try to contrast light areas over dark. This will allow the lighter parts of one image to become visible in the darker areas of the second. Don’t forget, you can also use your Exposure Compensation dial to fine tune the image to your requirements. I often find that starting with a darker image works well creating a base for your picture.

There are many ways in which you might want to blend your images, including overlaying slightly out of register, overlaying with one shot defocused or using exposure compensation to intentionally lighten or darken. You could set your camera up on a tripod and expose the second shot longer to introduce movement into the image, a great technique to use with people in the shot. However, two of the best ways to shoot Multiple Exposures is to combine a base shot with a texture or some relevant detail (bright, overcast days are best for this to avoid harsh shadows) or to introduce some motion blur into your image through Intentional Camera Movement (ICM).

Subjects that work well include silhouettes, architecture, urban scenes, graffiti, flowers and textures. Don’t forget that you can also shoot in the square format to add even greater creative feel to your shots, simply select 1:1 in the Image Size menu.

If you want to take it a step further you can always try combining your Multiple Exposure images in Photoshop to create some interesting effects.

There are so many possibilities! Why not grab your camera, get your creative juices flowing and give it a go?!


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4 replies »

  1. Thank you for your interesting post. Please, please, can you work on Fuji to provide the XT-2, XH-2 with a full in-camera multiple exposure facility such as that on the Canon 5dmk3, 5dm4 and 1DX. In other words an ability to record in RAW , merge many more images and merge with ligh t( screen) and dark (multiply) blending modes. Then I can finally sell my MdMk3 – it is the only reason I still keep it and will never part with it until I can have a mirorless camera with that capability!

  2. You say “If you want to take it a step further you can always try combining your Multiple Exposure images in Photoshop to create some interesting effects”. Can you please tell me how you would do this?

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