If you shot film regularly, it’s likely you’ve already had a double exposure accident, but with some forethought, create unique and artsy imagery by adding double exposures to your shooting repertoire. A double exposure is exposing the film twice with two different images and can be easily done on your Holga, Diana and other toy camera by simply not advancing the film. There’s even a hack to do double exposures with disposable film cameras.
There’s no right or wrong way to create a double exposure, but here are some tips and different techniques to consider:
Exposure and Lighting Conditions
Because it’s exposing the film twice you’ll have better results in lower lighting conditions. If your camera has fstop settings, you can get more detail if underexpose by 1 stop.
Shadows & Highlights
Shadows on one exposure will allow the details to show through from the second exposure. You can compose your double exposure by keeping a mental note and lining up shadows and highlights.
To start, you may want to consider keeping on the exposures limited to simple images. Two busy exposures can be chaotic or hard to see.
Using a tripod, remove or add an object for the second exposure.
Create sequencial or horizontal images with partially advancing your film and creating multiple exposures. This technique is often used for portraits, but can also be great in telling a story.
When developing film, make sure you make a not to not cut the negatives.
Experiment with double exposed split images. There are inexpensive lens attachements or you can cut your extra lens cap in half or make your own
Double exposing an entire roll – If you’re an adventurer and despise predictability, try exposing an entire roll, re-spooling the film and reshooting it. Of course there’s no planning with this technique and results are unexpected and sometimes spectacular.
Film Trading Groups – There are groups set up for swapping film. A person buys a roll of film, shoots it, then rewinds it, then it’s traded for someone else to shoot, or double expose the film and then process it. To give it a try or see the results, A Tale of Two Cities is a popular Flickr group that swamps film.
Disposable Camera Double Exposure – Photojojo gives simple instruction on creating a double exposures using a disposable camera. The process is simple:
- Charge your flash (most disposables have a button for this.)
- Hold camera in one hand, and SMACK! it down onto the palm of your other hand (lens facing out.)
- The flash will fire, and you may get a double exposure as well! (Surprises like this are part of the fun of film, after all!)
Double Exposure Examples: