How to Create a Double Exposure Effect in Photoshop

Double exposure is a classic photographic technique wherein two separate images are superimposed onto a single frame, producing a surreal or abstract result. Originally achieved using film cameras by taking two different photos without advancing the film, the method merged the two exposures into one image. The outcome often juxtaposes the main subject with a secondary image, like a portrait interlaced with a landscape, creating dreamlike compositions. In the digital age, this effect can be recreated using software like Photoshop, allowing for even more control and creativity.


  1. Adobe Photoshop.
  2. Two images: One portrait and one landscape/nature shot work best.


1. Open the Images

  • Launch Photoshop.
  • Click on File -> Open and select the portrait photo. Do the same for the landscape/nature photo.

2. Place the Landscape Over the Portrait

  • With the landscape image active, use Select -> All, then Edit -> Copy.
  • Switch to the portrait image and choose Edit -> Paste.
  • Rename the newly pasted layer as Landscape.

3. Resize and Position

  • With the "Landscape" layer selected, choose Edit -> Free Transform to resize and position the landscape image over the portrait. Aim for an interesting overlap.
  • Press Enter to confirm.

4. Change Blending Mode

  • In the Layers panel, set the blending mode of the Landscape layer to Screen. This will blend the two images based on their brightness values.

5. Adjust the Landscape Layer

  • Click on the Landscape layer.
  • Go to Image -> Adjustments -> Levels or Curves to adjust the brightness and contrast until there is a balanced double exposure effect.

6. Mask & Refine

  • Add a layer mask to the Landscape layer by clicking on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel.
  • Use a soft black brush to paint over areas of the portrait where is needed to reduce the landscape's visibility, like facial features or the subject's clothes.

7. Add Final Adjustments

  • Consider adding a Color Lookup adjustment layer to unify the colors of the two images.
  • Try using Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Gradient Map for even more stylistic effects.

8. Flatten & Save

  • Once satisfied, flatten the image by going to Layer -> Flatten Image.
  • Save the image by selecting File -> Save As, then choosing the desired format.


The double exposure effect is a blend of creativity and technique. While this tutorial provides a foundation, feel free to experiment with different images, blending modes, and adjustments to craft a unique visual story.

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