Multiple Exposure Multiple Fun

by Lysle - April 09, 2023


What is a Seasonal Challenge?

Seasonal challenges are extra technical challenges to help you learn or practice technical skills.  These challenges are separate from our daily prompts.  The purpose is to give you an extra creative boost when it comes to your photography journey with 365 Picture Today.  It is an extra and fully optional challenge.  The extra challenge occurs four times a year and they come with technical instructions.  Once the challenge is offered, you have a week to think about it, and then take and post your image.

Our first challenge in February was REFRACTION PHOTOGRAPHY.  We were really excited by the response to the challenge and by the beautiful photographs you shared.  We hope that the instructions and accompanying photographs really got your creative juices flowing and that you are keen to try Seasonal Challenge #2.

Our second technical challenge is MULTIPLE EXPOSURE!



Blog-Lysle and Barb-04-23-No.01

When you expose a single frame of film from the sensor on a digital camera two or more times and each time to a different image, the result is a composite of all the exposures in a single image.

In the days of film photography, multiple exposure was often the result of an accident.  The 'happy accidents' became a sought after art form.  Photographers purposely created images by superimposing one photograph over another.  When digital cameras came along, the art of multiple exposure became one of intention.  Most DSLR cameras come with exposure modes for creating these beautiful images.  You can also create amazing multiple exposure images with the use of apps.  The possibilities are endless.

Multiple Exposure photography is a fun and easy way to add creativity to your photography.  Let's get started!

Blog-04-23-No.2.jpg city scape and coffee cup

This is a new technique for me too! For this reason I turned to an expert!  Many of you may remember Barb Kreutter.  Barb was a picture-a-day photographer with Capture Your 365 and 365 Picture Today who went on to become one of the  most well known multiple exposure/abstract artists in Canada and globally.  She is a juried member of the Alberta Society of Artists and a juried member of Abstract'd Art Collective. 

CLICK HERE for link to Barb's website

My approach to this blog is COFFEE TIME WITH BARB and I hope you will all join us for coffee and photography.  

Barb and Lysle are sitting at a long and roughly hewn wooden table in an old warehouse converted into a funky coffee shop.  The sunshine is pouring through the windows, the smell of freshly brewed coffee is in the air and the sounds of patrons stomping the snow off their feet as they enter the shop can be heard.  You are joining our table and engaging in the conversation on the art of multiple exposure photography. 

As you sit back and sip your delicious coffee, you listen to Barb explain how she approaches multiple exposure and abstract photography.

Out of her hand woven bag, Barb pulls out her DSLR, a Canon R.  As she holds it up, she first gives a brief outline of who she is as an artist.

Blog-04-23-No.3.jpg-Barb with camera

"Over many years of being first a professional weaver, glass blower and now a photographer, the interplay of colour has been my creative motivator.  I am drawn to capture the subtle pattens and texture found in everyday life.  Photography allows me to not only document what I see, but to express how I feel when seeing it.  I use multiple exposure and editing software to create my images" Barb explains.

Barb is going to teach you how first to use your in-camera settings to take multiple exposure photographs and then share a few apps she uses for this purpose.

The conversation moves on to the digital camera.  Barb explains that many digital cameras now offer a multiple exposure function.  You pick up your cameras and take a look at the menus.  Most of you have the feature; but some of you do not!  This causes sighs of exasperation, but Barb reminds us that there are many, many apps that can produce the art of multiple exposure.

Although everyone has a different make and model of DSLR camera, you are instructed to find the multiple exposure settings and set it to 2 pictures to start.

Blog-04-23-No.4-canon settings
Blog-04021-No.5-Nikon settings
Blog-04-23-No.6.jpg olympus settings

You then wander freely around the coffee shop taking two pictures.  These pictures miraculously and automatically blend in the camera!  Barb advises us to first take a picture of the subject matter and then the background, although you can do it the other way around depending on what effect you are going for.   She reminds us to look for contrast, colour and texture in order to combine two photographs into a pleasing composite. 

"But how does it work" you ask?  Barb explains that during your first photo, the camera shutter opens to take one image and then it closes.  For the second photo, the shutter opens once again to expose the second image while shooting over the same frame.  By underexposing your subject and choosing a background with a lot of colour and texture, you can make a pleasing photograph.

After trying a multiple of two photographs, Barb encourages us to try more!  She explains that cameras that come with a multiple exposure function often have many options regarding the number of exposures you want to shoot.  It is the same process no matter how many shots you take!

Blog-04-23-No.7.jpg brick and cup collage
Blog-04-23-No.8.jpg brick and mug composite
Blog-04-23-No.9 three exposures

As we all look at our multiple exposure creations, Barb reminds us that we can further enhance our photographs with various software tools such as Photoshop, Lightroom and other apps.  While we may very well be very pleased with the in-camera multiple exposure photos we have taken, it may also be just the starting off point for further creativity.

"But what about the apps" you ask?  Barb explains that there are a lot of editing apps to choose from but that her two favourites are Snapseed and Image Blender.  She mentions that both these apps are perfect for those who do not have a camera that takes in-camera multiple exposure images and that both of these apps are able to use any type of image and combine them to make something new. Barb encourages us to open up our tablets or phones and download the two apps she suggests.

Snapseed is an easy app that can be used to do all your post production and, its free!  She shows us that once you launch the app you are prompted to open an image by clicking anywhere on the screen and it will open your photo gallery.  She shows us how to choose one photo as our subject before opening the "tools" menu. She opens "tools" and shows us where to find the multiple exposure tool and taps on it. 

Once she taps on it, she shows us that three new "tools" show up.  She chooses the one with the plus sign (+) and explains this is the 'add' button that will give us access to our gallery again.  From here, she chooses another photo to overlap the first photo.  She shows us how the two images are  superimposed. "But", she says "you don't have to stop here; you can add as many exposures as you want!"

"And not only that," she explains, "there are further editing tools within the Snapseed app that you can use to play around with to find your perfect picture."

Blog-04-23-No.10.jpg snapseed collage

Barb then shows us how to use the blending modes in Snapseed to modify the affects. She shows us that by tapping the middle icon we can adjust the way the photos blend and interact with each other. She also shows us how to use the opacity tool slider to control the transparency of the layer.

After Barb shows us her sample photo, we all try the Snapseed editing tools. Below are first Barb's creation and secondly a students creation.

Blog-04-23-no.11.jpg Barbs brick wall and black flower
Blog-04-23-no.12.jpg this is the sign

While Barb shows us just the basic functions of multiple exposure in Snapseed, she advices us to follow some tutorials. "These simple functions in Snapseed are just the tip of the iceberg so to speak!"  By watching Snapseed tutorials, you can increase your level of photo manipulation to a fine art!


There is a second app Barb loves to use in creating her fabulous images. She brings up Image Blender on her iPad and explains that it is an excellent app to use to blend images.  It is easy to control and does not really require a lot of former training.

She shows us that all you need to do is bring two images into the image blender and use the overlay mode.  She uses the slider to adjust the image to her liking.  Very much like Snapseed, she tells us that we just need to play around with all the different modes until we find one to our liking.  She shows us that you get to decide what appeals to you.  Everyone applies the app to their photographs and discover how simple it is to add a photo to each square at the bottom of the page and how they automatically blend.  Barb then demonstrates the use of the double square at the top of the page.  When clicked it brings up a menu of overlays to choose from.  Finally, she instructs us to go back to the bottom of the page where there is an opacity slider to fine tune our images.  Some of the photos produced by our group are shared.


Blog-04-23-No.13.jpg image blender collage
Blog-04-23-No.14.jpg collage of multiple exposures

The coffee cups are empty and as the lesson on multiple exposure comes to an end, we receive a few wise words from Barb.  She explains that she sees multiple exposure as an abstract painting.  She sees each single photograph she takes as a 'component' of the final image.  She tends to work on a series of images around an idea or a 'base layer' that may or may not develop into a 'theme'. Sometimes, after she has blended and manipulated her photographs, she cannot even remember what the actual original was!

Barb demonstrates this with her own images. The first two images were combined in Snapseed to produce the final product as can be seen below.

Blog-04-23-No.15.jpg first and second picture collage
Blog-04-23-No.16.jpg Final photo combined
Blog-04-23-No.17.jpg Barb pointing

Before we pack away our cameras, laptops and notebooks and once again put on our coats, we thank Barb for her wonderful lesson.  We then walk to a local gallery where Barb is showing her work.  We are all inspired to start creating multiple exposure art pieces.

Multiple exposure photography is a great way to ramp up your creativity.  It is a technique that has made a huge comeback in recent years. It is a creative outlet that photographers can use to bring back a taste for retro with the added bonus of using modern technology.  There are numerous ways to superimpose photographs....whether it be from old school film to in-camera technology to post production software.  It does not matter which method you choose!  Just give it a go!

For more information on multiple exposure, please visit Lee Glasby's amazing blog on this subject.

We really hope you are up to meeting this extra challenge.  You will have one week to take your photographs and upload them to Dropbox.  Please submit them by April 17, 2023

Please feel free to share what software you used to create your images.  We are really excited to see the creative images that you capture.

The final images will be posted on the website.

Below are two multiple exposure photographs art pieces by Barb.  The first one is called "Sandshadows" and the second one is called "Valentines Day".

Blog-04-23-No.18.jpg Sandshadows pinks
Blog-04-23-No.19.jpg Valentines Day oranges

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