Double Exposure - Portrait


  • Double exposures date back to the era of film photography
  • You could expose a frame of film more than one time
  • Photoshop makes double exposures (and multi-exposures) easy


  • You will be creating two double-exposure portraits
  • One picture should be of someone you know - friend, family member, etc.
    • Go for a look that expresses who they are, what they love to do, how they feel
  • The second picture should also contribute to the sense of who they are
    • Simple backgrounds with no objects or very few objects
    • Water, grass, sky
    • Textures
    • An image that has a blank spot for the face
    • The two images might have a similar theme
      • Soccer, dance, music, nature, family, career, whatever is important to them
  • Take at least 15 portrait shots
  • Take at least 15 other shots
  • Get peer feedback to choose your best shots
  • Instructions:
    1. Edit pictures, including crop and perhaps rotation
    2. Copy the "texture" picture and paste it on top of the "portrait" picture
    3. Change the blending mode in the Layers pallette
      • It should be "Normal" to start
      • Click the drop-down menu
      • Choose "screen", "lighten", "overlay", or another mode that you like
    4. With the "texture" layer selected, go to Image / Adjustments / Brightness_Contrast
    5. Increase the contrast
    6. With the "portrait" layer selected, go to Image / Adjustments / Levels
    7. Drag the right-side triangle on the histogram (mountains) to the left, until you get nice whites in your image
    8. Paint with black on the "portrait" layer to make more of the "texture" layer show up
    9. Drag the left-side triangle to the right, until you get nice blacks
    10. Choose the "portrait" layer and go to Image / Adjustments / Hue_Saturation
    11. Desaturate OR check the "Colorize" box, and change both the hue and saturation
    12. Use a large, soft eraser (reduced opacity) to erase parts of the top layer (to show more of the face)
    13. Frame and hand-in two double exposure portraits


1) Correct Content

Are both photos interesting? Do they tell a story when viewed together?

2) Wow! Factor - 50 marks

I'm looking to be impressed. Your combined image should strongly convey who the person is and what is important to you. It should have punch!

You have a lot of different skills to draw on by now. Depth of field, shutter speed, point-of-view, framing, filling the frame, and the Elements and Principles of Design. Colour, texture, lines, shape, form, value. Balance, Contrast, Emphasis, Perspective, Proportion, Repetition, Unity.

3) Professionalism

Professionalism is based on the attention paid to the accurate and careful presentation of the final project. Marks will be deducted from your skills/technical if your work is not submitted by the due date.

  • 2 electronically submitted photographs
  • image must be re-sized: longest side = 9.5 inches
  • image must be 180 dpi
  • image must be in maximum quality JPG format
  • Image must have a frame.
  • Add a title outside the frame: lower center
  • Add a date outside the frame: lower right
  • Add a your name outside the frame: lower left

Name your photo in the following way :

  • username_de1.jpg
  • username_de2.jpg

4) Journal Entry

Write a three-paragraph entry. One paragraph per double exposure and one about the overall assignment.  Why did you combine these two images? How do you feel about the result? What message or emotion does this combined image express? What did you find challenging about this assignment? What did you learn?