Double Exposure Portraits for Beginners


I found a lot of tutorials about double exposure effects in the internet. Probably 99% of them show how to make this effect using the masking technique. So I searched for a simpler way to combine two portrait photos and I want to show you my results. After this tutorial you should be able to make double exposure portraits in 10 minutes.

Level of difficultie: Easy
You will need:  Monochrome background, photo editing programm and a camera. I also used a tripod.

So let’s start! My friend helped me to make two portrait photos. We kept the camera on the same level, because it will be easier to edit the photos afterwards.


Step 1

I used Photoshop to edit these photos, but you can also use any other photo editing program for this project. First drag the photos into the working space and press [ENTER] or open them as layers. Create a new layer and fill it with white color. Afterwards double-click on the padlock symbol to unlock the first photo. Drag the white layer to the bottom. I also renamed the layers to have a better overview.


Step 2

Reduce the opacity of the layers. Notice that any effect you use on the 2nd photo (at the bottom) should be roughly half of the 1st photo effect. So, if the opacity of the 1st photo is about 40-45%, then the opacity of the 2nd photo should be about 80-90%. Just try it out and find the perfect mix.


Step 3

Select the 1st photo layer, go to Adjustments, then to Color Balance. Choose Shadows for the tone and increase the blue-value till 30. Do the same for the 2nd photo layer but choose midtones and increase red-value till 20.


The colors should look like this afterwards.


Step 4

You will notice, that the faces will look a little bit foggy. Select the 2nd photo layer. Take the Dodge Tool and reduce the exposure to 45%. Afterwards choose a big soft brush and paint over the face area. Now you can do the same with the 1st photo, but reduce the exposure only to 10%. This will highlight the faces. It’s finished.


Mix other colors to create cool retro filters. Don’t forget to change the tone between shadow, midtones and highlights.




If you have no tripod, you can move the layers. Use the Stamp Tool to copy the background.

doubleexposure_ti1Thank you for reading. I hope this tutorial could help you. Good luck!