Double (or even multiple) exposure photography (short MX) means that two or more photos where combined into one. In good old film (and Lomography) days this was possible with a manual winding camera so you could expose the same frame more than once. With the iPhone you can use various apps to archive a similar effect.

Double exposure photos are often ghostly surreal images with an artistic twist. The combination of  two pictures can open up different associations in a photo and a whole new story to an image. They form more an impression of a scene like memory.

Sounds interesting? Since we shoot digital we don’t have to wait to find the perfect companion for our double wonder. Still some planning can be level up your results.

Here are some tips to make double exposures work for you.


General look out for forms/ structures/ textures, macro motives, silhouette portraits, street and nature/ landscape, street lights, signs. Focus on the light and dark parts of your photo:

  • Dark elements are the parts where the second photo will shine through the best
  • Very bright spots of the second photo will overlay the first one – they will shine through
  • High contrast photos are always a good choice

If you edit one photo to be darker than the other – you can influence which photo should be more dominant  – the lighter one will be – but don’t worry to much because most apps can influence that a little. More important: experiment! Try to combine a fuller photo with a photo with not so many elements – two full photos will result most often in chaos (except you play with different lightness in the photo)

Double Exposure Example - Men and child holding hands with palm trees shining through them.

PS: That picture was made in Valencia, Spain. Great city!

General Workflow

  1. Choose 2 (or more) photos
  2. Load them into an app that allows picture combination
  3. Try different layer options (I like most Overlay, Screen, Normal)
  4. Export the picture
  5. Use other apps to edit a bit more (work with the contrast and general color correction) TIPP: Sometimes the result looks better in black and white.


Image Blender  $3.99/ 3,99€ (My tool of choice)

Fused  $2.99/ 2,99 € ProPack


Great Artists/ websites/ examples

Martin Gommel on querfeldein with wonderful images (German article but pics have a universal language)

Brandon KidwellHomepage / interview on iphonephotographyschool

and many more 🙂

YouTube Links (not just iPhone related)

DigitalRev TV – “How to do cool Double Exposure Portraits

Photo ideas

  • Take two photo of the same scene/ situation (or use the same photo twice) – now turn the second one upside down
  • Combine a portrait silhouette with a no distracting/bright background but some light on the facial features – with nature pattern (clouds, leaves, tree branches, rocks, water reflections, flowers)
  • Think in contrasts – combine wide city views with macro nature elements
  • Combine signs (shops, street signs, …) with any shot
  • Paper cutting technique – combine big silhouette forms (houses, bridges, …) with any other interesting scene

In general: look out for dark spots in your photo – make space for the second photo and same tones make a picture more coherent. Most important try try try 🙂

Now go out and experiment for yourself  – you’ll learn with every new photo! Share your thoughts and photos with the Places and Portraits community! Use Hashtag #placesandportraitsMX on Instagram.

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