A couple of weeks ago I read an article by Sarah K Byrne Photography about in-camera double exposure. According to her blog:
Double exposure is a technique that originated with film photography where you would expose the same frame of film twice (or more). Film can only be exposed to light so much before it will stop recording information. So the part of the film that was darker after first exposure will be most receptive to the light from the second click.
I thought her photos were beautiful, and David and I made a few attempts in our apartment with our Nikon D5100. The lighting was never really great and the results just looked like two layered photos with lowered opacities. It was a super sunny on our day off last month and we decided to give it another try.
Our camera doesn’t have all of the options the photographer talked about in her video tutorial, but it is still a fun tool to experiment with.
The basic steps for multiple exposure with a Nikon 5100:
- Set your camera to either the M, A, S, or P setting.
- Hit the Menu button.
- Under the Shooting Menu, turn Multiple Exposure to ON. We suggest starting off with 2 shots. We left the Gain ON, but you can play around with this, too. (The manual says: “Gain ON is adjusted according to number of exposures actually recorded. Gain OFF is not adjusted when recording multiple exposure. Recommended if background is dark.”)
- Frame and take your first photo.
- You have 30 seconds to take your second photo (otherwise, the camera will automatically take the next shot). The camera will then merge the two photos!
A few notes about using a Nikon 5100 for multiple exposure:
- You must be in M, A, S, or P in order to use the double exposure menu.
- Live view does not work with our model.
- We found the double exposure worked best when the first picture was a sharp silhouette against a blown-out, solid background.
- More detailed instructions can be found in the manual.
Hopefully we can have some more fun with in-camera double exposure. I’d love to try it with the fall colors in Michigan sometime!