Multiple Exposure in Photography is not a new technique by any means, but it’s definitely still very enjoyable and, surprisingly, not explored by that many Photographers.
In a film camera, a ‘multiple exposure” consisted in pressing the shutter to take a photograph, but instead of advancing the film to the next frame, you would recompose, press the shutter again, and that second image would superimpose the first one, creating the most various effects depending on the lighting conditions and subject matter. Later on, with the advent of Photoshop, people started experimenting the same effects in the digital world, by simply layering different photographs on top of one another and playing with opacity, masks, bleeding modes, etc.
But what most people don’t realize is that a lot of the current digital cameras are also capable of creating the same ‘multiple exposure’ effect natively, without the need of a post processing software. I remember when I upgraded my DSLR from an entry level to a full-frame model, the one key feature that I knew my next camera would absolutely have to have it was a multiple exposure setting. I haven’t looked back since then, and it’s something that I am constantly experimenting with, on my personal projects, and also for some of my clients that are also attracted by that look.
The difference between DSLR and Mirrorless system for Multiple Exposures:
I always loved shooting multiple exposures on a DSLR camera, but there’s one thing on the mirrorless system that makes it even more enjoyable: the electronic viewfinder! When you’re shooting multiple exposures on a DSLR with an optical viewfinder, you have no idea how both images will blend, unless you are looking at the back at the camera, instead of the viewfinder, which is not always a good idea. With a mirrorless camera, like the Fujifilm X-T2, assuming that you are using the electronic viewfinder (highly recommended), once you take the first shot, you will be looking at it while framing the second one, until you fire the shutter for the second time. It’s magical to see the effect being created right in front of you even before you actually do it!
The only minor issue, for me, is that the Fujifilm camera automatically converts your double exposure file into a JPEG (even if you camera is set to shoot RAW only), as with other DSLRs I tested, the camera maintains the file as RAW, allowing you have much more control in post processing later on. Hope they are able to change that in the near future.
“So where do I find the multiple exposure setting in my X-T2 camera?”, you may be asking… Well, they couldn’t make it more easier than this:
All you need to do is turn the bottom of the left dial from S (single frame) to the icon right next to it with the two “overlapping” photos, and you are ready to start experimenting! Take your first shot, accept it or retry (if you’re not happy with your first frame), and look for the second shot to be combined.
Many people will say that it’s much easier to jump into Photoshop and combine as many layers as you want with endless possibilities, but I personally still think that it’s way more interesting and fun when you are in a location and create unique images with what you have available right there for you. Here are more images to inspire you to try and have fun next time you’re out photographing: