How to do a double exposure in photoshop?

Photo editing is an important part of many people’s life. It helps in creating many kinds of creative images which can attract the attention of numerous viewers worldwide. This will require effectively taking the images and then using the right tools to edit them in an efficient manner. Many different kinds of photo editing software’s are available which one can utilize for editing the number of images.

Double exposure in Photoshop is an important tool which can add an amazing range of creativity to the images. It will help in having the images which are having the effect of two images over there which appear like overlapped on each other. One can create this kind of effect in their images by the use of blending modes and even the clipping masks by following some simple steps.

For creating the required image with double exposure photos one can have their camera work in a manner where their shutter is operated more than once. This will result in their film getting exposed to the object more than once. It will result in the creation of the creative image over the film which can further help in creating the double exposure in the photoshop.

If you are not willing to do that then you can have a similar effect in your image by using the modern software’s available to overlap the two images over each other. You can use the feature which is available in Photoshop by means of Double Exposure Photoshop Action. It will provide you the required exposure over the photo within a few seconds and by just following some simple steps.

We have discussed here the tutorial which will be helping you to guide through the process of creating the double exposure effect. It will help you to follow the step-wise procedure which is required to be followed to get the desired effect. This article will provide you deeper insights into how to do double exposure in Photoshop.

Preparing the Main Photo

Step 1 : Select the photo from your collection which is having least amount of noisy elements in them. Here noisy elements will include background objects like grass or other elements which are present in the background. It will further help you in simplifying the editing process of the image by use of Photoshop as you will not be required to do some advanced editing in the software as you are getting a basic image in ready format. You can also use the crop tool for deleting the unwanted parts from the image.

Step 2 : Next step will include adding contrast to the image. You can do that by making the image selected to get brighter and even you can add contrast to it. For that go to Image > Adjustments > or you can even press Control-L which will help you to a pop-up level menu. Now you can move the lightest slider towards the left direction which will help us in increasing the brightness of our photo. It is also possible for adding more contrast by means of moving the left black slider towards the right direction. Even you can set the values which are provided in the spaces which are provided.

Step 3 : There are also cases when you will be required to remove the spots which are appearing in your image. This can be done with the help of spot healing brush tool available in Photoshop. It will allow you to fix a particular area by just drawing the mouse over that area. Even it will further lead to the image getting flawless with the minor spots and errors being removed from the image.

Step 4 : The next important thing which will be required will include getting rid of the background which might be present in your image. It will be required to have a clean background of your image which can easily help you with the process of further editing. This can be done with the help of Magic Wand Tool (W). Click anywhere in the background of the image to select it and then select Inverse from the option provided to select the object in the image which is to be overlapped.


Step 5 : Once you have selected the magic wand tool you can further find the Refine Edge button which will be revealing the refined edge options in the window provided. Now you will be provided with the option of changing the view of the photo in the section of View Modes. It will allow you to place the element which is selected over white, black, transparent or other available backgrounds. This will be making it more visible and even convenient while we are performing the editing option. It is also possible to increase the radius value in the edge detection menu and the other refine edge options which can help you to more refine your image.

Step 6 : Now create a newer layer which is below the cut-out portrait. One can then fill it with the use of a neutral greyish color by the use of the Paint Bucket Tool (G).

Creating Double Exposure Effect by means of combining two images

Step 1 : As you are completed with your first photo, begin your process with the second one. This image can include those of some nice flower shot or even the cityscape.


Step 2 : Place the second image above the main portrait which is prepared. Now by selecting the second image click on “Control” and then Layer “Clipping Mask”. It will lead to the creation of marching ants like of effect over the second image which is covering the border similar to the first image object which is to be overlapped.


Step 3 : Next task which you will be doing include removing the unwanted parts from the image. You can do this by pressing the Add Vector Mask button which is located on the bottom of the layers panel. Now if you click on the chain icon then it will help you to unlink the layer and its mask.


This will ultimately help in moving and rotating the image inside the mask without actually moving the whole of the layer.

Step 4 : Even you can now select the layer which is containing the cut-out portrait. This can be done with the help of Clipping Mask. You can now copy it and then drag and drop it over the forest layer. Now you can create the monochromatic photo in portrait mode which will be fitting in our second image.

Keep the portrait layer selected and now you can move to the Image > Adjustments > De-saturate or even you can just press the Shift-Control-U. It will help you to convert your image into grayscale.

Step 5 : Open the layers option with the use of Control-L and apply the darkness to the image. Once the effect is applied now you can move to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Provide the respective values and then you can press ok to apply the effect.

Step 6 : Right click the portrait layer mask so that you can further Apply Layer Mask over the drop down menu which is provided. It will help you in changing to the Blending Mode in the layers panel.

Step 7: Even you can create your image more surrealistic by means of editing the head of the portrait. You can do this by taking the brush tool and further select the Airbrush Soft Round 17 which will be available from the standard Round Brushes with the set size. Give the corresponding color to the layer mask of the second image.

Step 8: At this stage, you might find that some parts of the image are appearing to be too noisy. You can do this by creating a new layer which lies beneath the de-saturated portrait layer. Now take the brush tool with the proper selection of the color and fill it in the respective part where noise is to be removed.

Step 9 : After selecting the de-saturated portrait layer now you can even add a layer mask which can be done by clicking on the mask icon which is located below the layer’s panel. Provide the required finishing touch with the help of the brush tool.


Thus, we can say that one can easily create the required image with double exposure photos by following the simple steps which are discussed over here. It will help the individual to easily edit the images and provide it with the desired double exposure effect with different images without actually modifying the cameras.

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