In film photography, a double exposure is a combination of two exposures in one image to produce evocative results. In this easy-to-follow tutorial, learn how graphic artist Erica Larson uses Adobe Photoshop to combine two photos, creating a seamless double exposure effect.

Graphic artist Erica Larson dreams up inspired designs every day as an associate creative director on the Adobe Studio team. In other words, she makes stuff that makes others want to make stuff.

Qué necesita

This sample file has Adobe Stock images you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase a license on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.

Prep your images

Open your two images and drag one on top of the other. Larson dragged the snowy landscape on top of the image of the bison. Then, in the Layers panel, set the Blend mode to Screen and reduce the Opacity setting.

Before: Bison on white background with separate image of snowy landscape dragged on top After: Bison appears faded with snowy landscape layer over entire body. Blend mode set to Screen, Opacity 76% in Layers panel

Get clear

To bring out the bison’s face and other areas, Larson added a mask to the landscape layer. This allowed her to simply paint wherever she wanted those details to come through. 

Mask added to snow layer, bison’s face and legs painted with black brush to reveal greater detail.

Add more color

For a dramatic touch, Larson added a Gradient adjustment layer using the Violet, Orange preset, before setting the Blend mode to Overlay and reducing the Opacity to 60 percent.

Gradient adjustment layer added, Blend mode set to Overlay, and Opacity reduced to 60% for photo composite effect.

Keep focus

To keep the focus on the bison’s face, Larson adjusted the Gradient Fill angle to 0 degrees. She clicked on the gradient to open the Gradient Editor and shifted the violet color stop and the Color Midpoint to get the desired effect.

Gradient fill angle set to 0, color stop and midpoint adjusted to achieve desired effect of keeping focus on bison’s face.

Get twice the exposure

Find pairs of photos to combine in your photo gallery and have fun creating fresh takes. 

Two images combined with Photoshop to create new composition. Snowy bison artwork is superimposed on man wearing white tshirt

Note: Project files included with this tutorial are for practice purposes only.

08/30/2021

Designer: Erica Larson

Adobe Stock contributors: missan, Paul Moore

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