Double Exposure in Photoshop- Step-by-Step guide

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If you are interested in photography, you must think of applying your creative skills to nourish your clicks. A good photographer knows how to transform normal clicks into the most attractive ones. A lot of effects are around, and Double Exposure is one of them. In photography and cinematography, double exposure is a combination of two or more exposures to create a single image. Let’s see how we can use Double Exposure in Photoshop.

Let’s begin

First, you need two images that you are going to use. Check their quality and you can refine it in Adobe Lightroom before editing them in Photoshop. Choose a base image (can be a portrait) and a layer photo. And open both of them in Photoshop.

Also Read: Adobe Photoshop Beginner’s Guide

Eliminate the background

The very first step is to eliminate the Background. If you have a clear background, removing it is just a piece of cake. You can use the Quick Selection tool or magic wand tool to select the background area. After this, go to select> Inverse, in this way you can invert the selection and can get a selection of your main area in the image.


While still on the selection tool, use Refine Edge Tool, tick on the Smart radius box. Then, slightly increase the radius value in the edge detection to 1.5 or you can change it as per you. This is basically used to reveal minor details.

In the Output section, select New Layer with Layer Mask in the Output To options window. This creates a copy of your image and hides the background without changing your image file.

Now, create a New Layer below the cut-out image and give it a light colour using Paint Bucket Tool. Make sure the colour should be like the photo you’ll be using as another layer. Like here, we used grey colour for the background of our portrait.

How to Do a Double Exposure in Photoshop?

Now, select the second photo of your composition. This image can be scenery, cityscape or anything abstract.

layer-image-for Double-Exposure-in-photoshop

Now, drag your image over the cut-out image. Keep the forest layer selected, press the Control key and click on the Layer Clipping Mask of the layer. This will make a selection of your portrait in the forest image.

Also Read: Top 5 Photoshop Alternatives in 2022

Adjust your layer image

In the next step, Press the Add vector mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel to hide the unneeded parts of the forest image. Now, adjust your forest image into the portrait properly. Here I flipped the forest image. You can make changes as per your choice.

double exposure in photoshop

Select the layer which contains the cut-out portrait with a clipping mask. Make a copy (Control-J) and drag and drop it above the forest layer.

Adjustments to portrait

Now, make necessary adjustments to your portrait. By keeping the portrait layer selected, move to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate or just press Shift-Control-U. In this way, we converted our image to grayscale. We have adjusted the levels such as brightness, contrast, hue and saturation. Adjusting image colours can bring a better result.

Right-click on the portrait layer mask, and we can Apply Layer Mask in the drop-down menu. Now, in the layers panel, change the blending mode of the portrait to screen.

Give it a Final touch

The desired Double-Exposure effect is done, despite that, you may need some refining, such as removing a part of the layer image (forest image.) You can use Air Brush to erase some areas to make your image look more attractive.

Double Exposure in Photoshop
Double Exposure Effect

And yes, it’s done!

I have erased some parts of the forest image to get a clear image of man. It all depends on what image you are using. You need to make necessary changes that may help in the perfect blending of your both images.

You can watch this video to understand it well. Click Here.

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