How to Create a Double Exposure Image

Combine two or more images into one to create an interesting double exposure effect.

Traditionally, double exposures were produced by photographers with film cameras to create abstract images from two or more exposures. Today, it can also be done with digital cameras or during post-processing.

The double exposure effect is very popular with photographers, designers and artists alike – and easy to create with a photo-editor that supports layers, like PaintShop Pro.

Creating a double exposure effect in PaintShop Pro is simple and fun. Grab two images you want to blend, and follow the steps below to create one of your own in less than 10 quick steps.

STEP 1: Drag your main image into PaintShop Pro’s Edit tab.

When picking your main image, keep in mind it’s easiest to work with an image that has little noise in the background. For example, a portrait of a person or animal on a solid background will work well.

Step 2: Select the subject of your image

Invoke the Smart Selection Brush from the selection tools on your Tools toolbar. Ensure the Mode on your Tool Options palette is set to Add (Shift). Click on the subject of your image to select it. Depending on the image, you may need to add to your selection, by clicking and dragging. You can set your Mode to Remove (Ctrl), if you need to remove from the selection.

STEP 3: Promote your selection to a new layer

Right-click on the background layer in the Layers palette, and choose Promote Selection to Layer. Deselect your subject with Ctrl+D.

STEP 4: Add a new white layer below your promoted layer

Right-click on the New Layer icon in your Layers palette. Choose New Raster Layer. Drag the new layer below your promoted layer and above your background layer.  Invoke the Flood Fill tool from your Tools toolbar. Ensure your Foreground and Stroke Properties is set to white in your Materials palette, and then click on your new layer to fill with white.

STEP 5: Desaturate your extracted subject

Ensuring you are on your Promoted Selection layer, go to Adjust > Hue and Saturation > Hue/Saturation/Lightness. Drag the saturation slider to -100.

STEP 6: Adjust the brightness/contrast

Go to Adjust > Brightness and Contrast > Brightness/Contrast and bring your brightness and contrast sliders up slightly. Since the double exposure effect will show up mostly in dark areas of your image, you’ll have to adjust the settings based on your actual image.

STEP 7: Copy and paste the image you want to blend

Open the second image that you want to blend with your subject. Copy (Ctrl C) the image, then jump back to your original project to paste (Ctrl V) the image on top of the Promoted Selection layer.

STEP 8: Change the blend mode to Lighten

At the top of your Layers palette, choose Lighten from the drop list of blend modes. Move the top image if needed for a more pleasing composition.

Voila – you’re all done! Now that you have your double exposure completed, you can always go back and fiddle with Brightness and Contrast to bring out more of either image, until it’s just to your liking.

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Comments (6)

Reader Interactions


    • Adam says

      Hello Yvan,

      The first image in this tutorial is a summary gif which goes through each step in the tutorial in rapid succession, to give a sense of the overall flow of the project and provide a quick overview of what you will be doing.

      Hope this helps,
      Discovery Center Team

    • Adam says

      Hello Varnan,

      Thank you for the feedback! That is actually a .gif image which condenses the images from the main steps below. We have passed your comments on to the tutorial team for their consideration.

      Discovery Center Team

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