by Sean Setters
If you're like me, you sometimes get the itch to photograph something, but your immediate surroundings leave you somewhat uninspired. Thankfully, the Multiple Exposures feature found in most mid-to-high level Canon cameras can help with that.
Canon Cameras that can shoot multiple exposures in-camera include:
- EOS 1D X Mark II
- EOS 1D X
- EOS 5D Mark IV
- EOS 5Ds / 5Ds R
- EOS 5D Mark III
- EOS 6D Mark II
- EOS 6D
- EOS 7D Mark II
- EOS 80D
- EOS 70D
While most of the DSLRs above can be set to record the final multiple exposure image and the images used to create the final exposure, the EOS 70D, 80D, 6D and 6D Mark II only allow for saving the finished image (not the component images). This feature limitation can be important as you will not be able to create your own multiple exposure in post-processing using the component images.
While testing out some different lighting setups in my studio this weekend, I remembered that a dark silhouette-style portrait can create an ideal base for a multiple exposure image. However, I didn't want a complete silhouette, and instead opted to use two rim lights (studio strobes with gridded strip boxes) for the profile image so that the lit areas of my face and head would still be visible in the combined exposure. A single, bare 580EX Speedlite provided the lighting for the background.
The image was captured with a tripod mounted Canon EOS 5D Mark III
and EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro
set to Manual mode, 2-second delay (shutter tripped via wireless remote
), f/5.6, 1/160 second, ISO 320.
With my base image captured and specified in the Multiple Exposure menu options, I switched my camera to Av mode (leaving the camera set to f/5.6 and ISO 320), walked out my studio door and searched for subject/composition that might work well for the multiple exposure. At first, the trunk of a large tree that borders the backyard caught my attention. This was the result:
After seeing the combined result on my screen, I thought the bark overlay was interesting, but I wasn't completely satisfied. Looking upward, I found another possible subject – my neighbor's tree. I shot three different compositions using the tree, with my favorite appearing atop this post.
If you'd like to try out your camera's Multiple Exposure feature, here are a few tips we outlined in our article, Multiple Exposures: Yet Another Way to Add Value to Your Wedding Services
Set the camera as follows:
|Multi expose ctrl||Additive|
|No. of exposures||2|
|Save source imgs||All images|
|Continue Mult-exp||1-shot only|
* The option to save source images may not be available on some cameras.
- Create a silhouette image to use as the base layer. Note that the brighter areas of the each image will be what comes through prominently in the final image. An underexposed profile/silhouette set against a bright sky (or pure white background) tends to work well for a base layer.
- Turn on Live View. Use the LCD's preview to help you align the next shot. Note that you may need to use negative exposure compensation (for both the base and second image) to keep from overexposing the final image.
- Preview your results. If you don't like the final image, simply go back into the Multiple Exposure options and designate your original base image to be used for your next attempt.
Take this opportunity to think about what kinds of subjects could be silhouetted in your multiple exposure image, capture it, and then brainstorm what kinds of subjects may work well as an overlay (or simply walk out our door and go for a walk as I did). You might even change focal lengths and apertures between your base and overlay images to create interesting effects. With a little bit of practice, and the help of the preview on your camera's LCD monitor, you'll be able to create interesting multiple exposures in no time!