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Quick Tips – Taking Multiple Exposures With a Digital Camera

Everything in photography has become much easier to do with the introduction of digital cameras……. Well almost everything!!!!!!!!!
multi exposure shots using a digital camera
Photo By Dennis Kruyt

Multi exposure shots are clearly an exception, it was much simpler during the age of the film cameras and every film camera could take amazing multi exposure shots. However, most digital cameras don’t have this feature. Of course we could fake the effect and create amazing multi exposure shots using photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop. But as photographers our aim is to achieve the effect in camera. Let us see how we could create a multi exposure shot using a digital camera.

double exposure
Photo By Roman P.G

  1. Firstly you will need a DSLR or a compact camera that allows manual exposure controls.
  2. You will be working with long exposure times so mount your camera on a sturdy tripod.
  3. Select the lowest ISO setting in your camera (for most cameras it is ISO 100). This allows not only the use of longer exposure times but also noise less images.
  4. We will assume that you will need one second exposure time for each shot so a multi exposure shot made up of 3 exposures would require an exposure time of 3 seconds. While shooting determine the number of individual shots that you will need and set the shutter speed to that many seconds.
  5. Select the Shutter Priority Mode (TV) and set the desired shutter speed, in our case it is 3 seconds.
  6. If the cameras Aperture value blinks, it means you have more light in your scene to be able to properly expose the shot at the desired shutter speed. In such cases the easiest fix is to use a Neutral Density Filter on your lens. If you are shooting in locations where you could control the amount of ambient light in the scene, reduce the intensity of lights. 
  7. Once you get a proper exposure from your camera, note down the readings, shift your camera to Manual (M) mode and dial in the exposure values manually. 
  8. One thing to remember here is to cover your viewfinder. In case of Canon cameras they prove a rubber attachment which is attached to the camera strap which could be used as a cover to viewfinder. This is important when you are shooting long exposure shots as the light entering the camera through the viewfinder could either spoil your shot completely or reduce contrast and clarity.
  9. Now that you are all set it is time to do the trick, you will need a piece of black card board or paper to cover your lens, if nothing then even your lens cap would do.
  10. The trick is to release the shutter and in mid exposure completely cover your lens with the black material, open again to expose the second shot and so on.
  11. If you happen to have a remote shutter release cable  and your camera has bulb mode then things are much easier.
digital camera double exposure
Photo By Otis Blank

Always remember to do it gently and not to hit your lens hard while attempting to cover it as it could induce camera shake or in worst cases trip your camera.

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