My Adventures In Photography

A while back I started a photography column for my hometown's local newspaper — you'll find all of my columns from those pages here as well as new ones that I write.

To see all of my blog posts to date, click here.

Messing with multiple exposures

 MERGING PHOTOS: The two photos above merged together created the photo above them. By merging the photos together either in-camera or in Adobe Photoshop you can create a new image that fills the darker parts of the first image with the second image. 

MERGING PHOTOS: The two photos above merged together created the photo above them. By merging the photos together either in-camera or in Adobe Photoshop you can create a new image that fills the darker parts of the first image with the second image. 

There are numerous ways to manipulate images after a camera's shutter has been opened and closed again. One such method is by merging multiple exposures together.

For instance, you start out by taking an image that has a strong light source in the background — the sun, a bright lamp, etc. — and a subject standing in front of that light. When your camera meters the exposure to the background's light instead of the subject, it will create an image where the subject is mostly blackened and silhouetted with the background exposed normally.

When I say that the camera meters light I mean that the shutter speed, aperture and ISO (depending on what shooting mode you're in) are set by the camera's light meter to create a proper exposure. If the camera had metered the light on the subject for this photo, the background would be completely blown out and the subject wouldn't be silhouetted — in fact, the subject would be clearly visible. But for this project we want to meter the background's light to get that darker subject, so go with that.

The next image you'll want to take is a texture you want to have overlayed on the darker parts of the first image.

The images attached to this post are a prime example. The first image I took was of a sunflower with the sun in the background creating a strong silhouette image. The next photo was a wider shot of the sunflower field to be used as a texture to fill in the darker areas of the silhouetted photo.

There are two ways to go about fusing these images together — I opted for the quickest and easiest method by using the Multiple Exposure function on my camera. The camera takes the two images and automatically fuses them together for you. 

The other option is to take your images into Photoshop manually and use a Blending Mode (Lighten, on the top layer — your texture image) in the layers panel to fuse the images. It's a much easier process than it sounds if you know your way around Photoshop.

Speaking of sunflowers, these images were taken at the sunflower field off of U.S. 10 just west of Evart. I'm sure many of you admire that field as you pass by — I know I do. It's a beautiful sight, especially at sunrise or sunset. 

The sunflowers make for a great subject for photography, but just as a reminder: The land is private property. I took my images just off to the side of the road with a longer lens so as not to trespass. Keep that in mind if you decide to stop and snap a quick image.

Playing with multiple exposures is a great way to start thinking about how texture is used in photography. It's also a fun way to create some cool art. Have fun!