Double exposure is a classic technique in the art of photography. But there’s an easy way to create the double exposure effect that doesn’t involve shooting on film, and all you need is a Photoshop clipping mask. Below, Hannah Hathaway from We Lived Happily Ever After has outlined the 17 simple steps for making gallery- or Instagram-worthy double exposure art in minutes.
Open up your photo in Photoshop. For double exposure, it’s best if you use a subject with dark hair and a light, preferably white, background like this photo.
There are several different ways to get this effect, but we are going to use clipping masks for this tutorial. Using the “quick selection tool”, run your mouse over her hair.
Because the subject has wispy hair, we may have missed some of it. While holding down the “shift” button, use the “magic wand tool” with contiguous unchecked. Now it will pick up anything with a similar tone. Don’t worry about it selecting her eyes and other elements you wanted to leave alone – we will take care of that later.
Right click with your mouse and press “feather.” The ensures that our selection isn’t pixelated, but smooth.
1. Create a new layer.
2. Fill in your selection on the new layer with the “paint bucket tool.”
Erase the undesired portions around the face, feathering the hairline.
Add the desired texture on top of the other layers. I used this beautiful stock photo of a snowy landscape.
You can ensure proper placement by lowering the opacity while rotating it. Press Enter once you are happy with its placement.
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Create a clipping mask with the white layer and the landscape photo by hovering on the line between the two lines while holding down the “alt” button. Then lower the opacity of the white layer to blend them.
For an even more gradual blend, use the “eraser tool” while holding on a medium opacity to blend the hairline even more.
Duplicate the top layer on the clipping mask by right clicking the layer, and pressing “duplicate layer.”
Right click the new layer and press “release clipping mask.”
Now select all the dark silhouette area using the magic wand tool.
Right click the layer and press “feather selection” and press “ok.”
Press “ctrl” and “c”, and then “ctrl” and “v” to copy the selection
We only want the top of the trees to show, protruding over the bun, so pick out a very “soft” brush to clean up everything else.
This is the perfect amount.
Next, you can add a filter or action to make the colors pop, or even saturate them. This particular photo has great coloring, so we are just going to enhance it.
Using a large, soft paint brush, go over the edges on a new layer using black.
Lower the opacity until it blends perfectly.
Press save and you are done!
Now you’re ready to start creating your own double exposures! These artful images are perfect as gifts or home decor, and Storyblocks has tons of photos ideal for these projects. Give it a try today!