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There are a lot of reasons why I love shooting film, but one of the biggest reasons is the ability to make double exposures.
It really feels like painting with film, where you can come away with something 100% unique.
Want to learn how? Let’s jump in.
1. Metering for Double Exposures
There are a lot of people who suggest underexposing by a half to a full stop when shooting double exposures. However, I don’t like the muddy shadows that come along with underexposing, so I shoot my film the same way I always do.
This typically includes some overexposure so I can keep those shadows looking nice and the colors popping.
Try out both to see what you like best!
2. Not All Cameras Have a Multiple Exposure Setting
It’s a sad reality, but some cameras don’t have a multiple exposure setting.
Most rangefinders as well as TLRs require you to advance to the next frame which doesn’t allow for the fun of layering different images together.
However, many 35mm cameras and most 645 cameras do, so if you’re not sure if you’ve hit the jackpot or not, check your camera’s manual to find out.
If you’re shooting 35mm on a camera without a multiple exposure setting, check out
this tutorial on how to reload a roll of already shot film into your camera.
The tutorial is for adding light leaks, but the same technique can be used for double exposures.
Essentially, you’ll run your film through the camera twice, creating a whole roll of double exposures. It’s a great hack for shooting double exposures on any camera!
You can also check out this tutorial for
creating double exposures out of your negatives instead of in-camera. 3. Which Image Goes First in a Double Exposure?
When you’re shooting double exposures, one of the most important things to think about is which image you take first and which image you take second.
If you shoot randomly, you might get lucky here and there, but if you want to consistently create the double exposure image in your head, it’s important to think about how double exposures works.
Double exposures are created by layering one image on top of the other. The first image you take is going to fill into the second image’s shadows… let that one sink in.
A good rule of thumb is to remember that whatever you want to come through most in the photo should be shot second. The texture or secondary image should be shot first.
It’s a little counter-intuitive, but, by thinking of your doubles in this way, you’ll be able to systematically create double exposures just as you’ve imagined them.
A Note About Image Order
If you are using the
hack to shoot a roll of film through your camera twice for double exposures, you’re not really able to plan out the double exposures.
The best way to handle this is to shoot an entire roll of textures or secondary images. Shooting a whole roll of flowers or nature works great for this.
Then, you can reload that roll into your camera again and shoot a whole roll of primary images, such as portraits.
This will give you a better chance at having images that work well together.
4. Shoot One Full Roll of Double Exposures
Here’s the thing about double exposures – – they’re experimental.
If you only shoot one double exposure every ten rolls you’re never going to be able to determine what works and what doesn’t.
Try shooting a full roll & take notes.
You’ll learn more about them and have a lot more keepers!
5. Find Inspiration
The only way we get better as artists is by immersing ourselves in the work of other brilliant minds.
Dive into Pinterest & Instagram to think of different ways to create doubles.
Here are a couple of my fave accounts on IG that are sharing incredible and interesting double exposure work:
Also check out
my Pinterest board or the Shoot It With Film Double Exposure Pinterest board for even more double exposure inspiration Film Mentorships
Melese Miller is currently accepting clients for mentorships, and is always talking film & sharing tips and tricks on her
If you’re looking to up your game and take your film to the next level, you can check out her film tips or book a mentorship here:
Thank you so much, Melese! You can find more of Melese’s work on her
website and Instagram.
Leave your questions about double exposures below in the comments!
And if you want more double exposure articles and inspiration, check out
all of our double exposure posts here!