Multiple exposure is the superimposition of two or more exposures to create a single image. Traditionally, it started out as a technique used in film photography – particularly with manual winding cameras. While third-party software photo editors such as Adobe Photoshop has made it possible to superimpose images in post-production, many DSLR cameras today allow multiple exposures to be made on the same image within the camera, without the need for an external software.
Photography is the constant pursuit of creativity expression. With this in consideration, what are the new possibilities that can be explored with the enhanced multiple exposure function in the Nikon D7500, and how best can interesting images be achieved?
Previously when film cameras were used to create multiple exposure shots, there was a whole myriad of equations and exposure times that had to be figured out. Today, shooting multiple exposures couldn’t be easier: just go to the DSLR’s shooting menu, select multiple exposure, set the number of frames and shoot away. The camera seamlessly puts the images together.
That’s the easy part.
The hard part comes when choosing, framing and positioning your shots so that they blend well together into one image. Here’s a how-to guide with tips and tricks to get you the shot that best expresses your creativity:
Start by thinking of a concept you wish to explore (e.g. a portrait or a layered landscape photo). Next, pick a great subject or scene, and finally, work with your camera's angles so that it fits perfectly and complements (or provides a striking contrast to) the base layer to yield much better results.
For beginners, a general rule of thumb is to use a darker subject or scene as your base or first exposure. Darker subjects or scenes (e.g. silhouettes, colourful graffiti and street art) will blend more easily, while brighter or lighter subjects (e.g. sunny sky or bright landscape) may blow out some details in your double exposure. Otherwise adjust your exposure to gather more light by using a wider aperture or boosting the ISO. Additionally, a tripod will be very useful in stabilizing the image.
Moreover, it is important to note that your background shouldn’t be too busy (e.g. faces, trees, buildings) as parts of these objects might get repeated in the final composite and distract the attention from the main subject.
Read more on multiple exposure techniques here.
To achieve the creative shot that you want, the D7500 offers two ways of combining exposures:
• Multiple Exposure mode (found in the Shooting menu), and,
• Image Overlay (found in the Retouch menu)
With an improved multiple exposure mode, individual images or partially overlaid images that make up a multiple exposure shot can be previewed while shooting, with the option of saving all the individual frames in addition to the final composited image.
The image creation process is also simplified by providing the option to delete and retake the last image, proving to be very effective for multiple exposures of still subjects allowing for more flexible image creation to perfect that shot. Once Multiple Exposure mode has been selected, you will be offered the option of adjusting the way the images are superimposed through the Overlay mode. Using the correct Overlay mode can be the difference between a stunning composite and an unusable file.
You can also utilise an alternative method of shooting multiple exposures: the Image Overlay function, which offers a way to superimpose images which are already stored within the memory card, works by combining two existing RAW files, and saving the result as a new RAW file.
Here, multiple shots do not have to be taken at the same time – which means you can take one shot, and save it to your memory card until you find its complement. Image Overlay also allows you to see a preview of the composite before you decide on it, allowing for a great deal of scope when it comes to creatively combining images, while ensuring that the quality of the image is maintained.
As long as the camera isn’t turned off, the possibilities are infinite – you can swap lenses, filters and utilise different accessories between shots to combine, for example, a macro image with a landscape one. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, a tripod, a shutter release cable, a flash and plain white or black background (it could be a muslin backdrop or an empty wall) might come in handy as well, to take your creativity up a notch.
Overall, the best approach to multiple exposure images is to not get caught up with the technical aspects of it but to experiment and master the trick through experience, and trial and error. Take your time to find the right fill for your multiple exposures, and play around to see how to best combine the capabilities of the Multiple Exposure mode and the Image Overlay functions to achieve creative images.