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Storytelling with Mobile Photography

Lesson 17 of 21

How to Create a Double Exposure

Ed Kashi

Storytelling with Mobile Photography

Ed Kashi

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Lesson Info

17. How to Create a Double Exposure

Lesson Info

How to Create a Double Exposure

So, I said we weren't going to get technical, but we're gonna try this, double exposure. Alright? You game? This is going back to my phone, here. And, let's see, do I have time to check my son's baseball scores? Okay, sorry sorry sorry. Alright, (laughs) I kind of wasn't joking, but anyway. Alright, so, in this case, I preloaded a few pictures from the Sunday shoot that I felt would work as a double exposure. But, when I'm out shooting, there are times where I'll make a photograph, and then I'll see something else, a little later, and I'll go like, oh, I think that might match that other picture I took really well. Or, what I did on Sunday, is I deliberately photographed the hood of a car with rain beaded on it, and I thought, oh, that'd be really textural from a storytelling point of view. It shows, kind of, where we are, the conditions, right? So, and then I thought, well I got that. This is literally one of the first pictures I took on Sunday. And then, as I was shooting all the oth...

er stuff, I was thinking about what might go well with this. And this is a relatively easy, simple one, because, except for the reflections of the tree branches, it's more of like just a canvas, you know, like a textured canvas. I do have to say one thing here, a little anecdote. So, about three or four months ago, 'cause I've been doing double exposures for the last three or four years, and I even did some, I think maybe I'm gonna be showing them, that were published on Time Magazine's website with my former mentee Laura El-Tantawy, an Egyptian photographer, where we were asked to create pictures separately, and then use this app called Image Blender, that's the app that I use, to meld our pictures together. So, this is something that I've been doing for a few years. Well, a few months ago, I say to my then 17-year-old daughter, so Isabel, what do you think about double exposures? And, of course, she totally devastated me. She's like, well, if you have to take two pictures that aren't so good to put them together to make a good picture, I don't think that's a great photograph. (audience laughter) So, I just want you to know, since that conversation, my double exposure production has dropped precipitously. (laughs) So yeah, what can I say, the wisdom of youth. So, alright, so we're gonna go back here. So, now we go to image blender. There it is, and it works, I mean it's really kind of a cool tool. It's very simple. So, you've got the two, sort of square buttons on the bottom left and right. So, I'll go to the button on the left, and I'm gonna choose from my library, and I'm going to pick. Okay, so one thing with this particular app, the second picture that you load, that one you can actually move around and blow up or shrink. I don't know why you'd ever shrink it. Anyway, so I'm going to put the first picture in that I know is going to be a fixed placement. And I think I'm actually gonna go with him. So, then I click the button on the right, go to library, and then I'm gonna pick the rain scene. So, this is something that is really more of almost like an overlay, but, and then if I want to shift the, so you see I can pinch the second picture. Right, I can move it around and rotate it and all that. So, I'm just looking here. Do I want to get rid of those branches? No, I want that branch on the top right. Let's try that like that. Then I hit save. So, I've got this picture. Now, there are different functions. So, you could play around with the values if you like, of how they work with each other. Things that are pretty weird. Generally, I don't use any of that. I just go with the normal one, then I save it to my camera roll. Then I'll bring it, generally, I'm never just satisfied with the way it comes out of image blender. It's not about image blender, it's just the way my mind thinks, you know. So, I've got my basic picture, then I'll go into Snapseed, and then I'll mess with it. So, any questions? Okay, anybody do double exposures? Okay, are you incredibly bored right now, no? (laughs) Okay, oh, I didn't want to do that. Let's try that again. (clears throat) Okay. So there we go. So now, what do you think I'm gonna do? Drama, exactly. I'm so predictable. You gotta admit, you gotta admit, c'mon. Alright, so that's full-blown drama. I don't know, that might be too much. Let's see, let's reduce the strength a little bit. I kind of like it, though. I have to say, I kind of like this. It's almost like a, not pixelated, but it's, oh let's look about, let's look at saturation. Come on, behave. Yeah, that's way too much. So, I kind of like it somewhere about right, just about right there, okay. So, this is an example. I'll save a copy of it. Now, I want to do another one. Can I do one more? Yes. (laughs) Okay, yes. Yes, anything to entertain you, yes. Alright, so let's try to do one that's maybe more, oh hold on, going to the wrong place, little more complex, where you're really working with composition more. You know, that's a case where it was a pretty simple version of a double exposure. Could any of you imagine doing double exposures? Yes. Okay, well you don't count. No, (laughs) I'm joking. Alright. (clearing throat) So, let's see here. (clearing throat) Excuse me, so let's see, we're gonna, I was thinking we take this picture, of this little boy, who I don't think he was angry, but he was whatever he was. Okay, then we're gonna go with this canopy picture. Okay, it might be hard for you to see. Oh, this is actually pretty cool. Alright, so we're gonna go here. So, what I did was, in Alphy's birthday scene, there was a little room where they were doing the face painting, and they had a couple of spotlights, and then they draped these colored gauze fabric. So, I purposely, like the hood of the car with the raindrops, I shot that. Again, I'm thinking, ooh, maybe that could work some way with double exposure. The other thing I did, which is this picture, the other picture, is then I went, it's good to be tall sometimes and have long arms, I shot through the gauze with kids having their face painted. Okay, so that's the one I've chosen here to match. So, I'm gonna, actually I feel that this has worked really nicely placement-wise. I didn't need to shift things around. (clearing throat) So now, (clearing throat), excuse me. No, Siri, I don't want you, go away, go away. Okay, and then we're gonna go to Snapseed. You see what's going on here? So, this is a much better example then the first one, where I'll literally have made a picture, and then I'll see another picture, and I've already imagined in my mind how they'll come together, in terms of where the elements are placed in the frame, so they won't collide. Or, if they do collide, they collide in an interesting way. Alright. So, I'm not gonna use drama. (laughs) I can't be that predictable. I'm gonna go here, and I am gonna use Ambiance, because you see how it separates things, right? So, you see that's where we started, so it creates a little more separation. Then I'm gonna go to contrast. I wanna actually beef up the contrast a bit. I'm gonna even pump up the saturation just a little bit. Okay, I think we're good with that. And then, one more thing I wanna do. I wanna go to Sharpen, wanna go to Structure. I just want to see what Structure does. Alright, so you see how much more definition there is now in the background? I'm kind of liking this, actually. This one actually turned out alright. Okay, so I'm gonna save this. Save a copy, again. Don't ever just save it, 'cause that means you're saving over your raw. Really important to remember. Okay, I won't look at the baseball score. I'm gonna stop. So, I'm not gonna post that, but there we go for double exposures. (laughs) Cool. So, I don't know, for me, no matter what my daughter says, no, there is still a satisfaction, you know, and I guess it gets back to that idea of being playful, of playing around, trying different things. Double exposures are nothing new in photography, but the fact that I think about all I have done today with this little thing, it's kind of amazing. And then again, what the mind blowing part is, I've shared it all over the world. It's kind of, I know it must seem so naive to say that at this point, but this stuff didn't exist 10 years ago, right? Didn't exist eight years ago. So, I always try to remember to appreciate how rapidly things are changing, 'cause I don't wanna lose perspective. I don't want to lose the continuity with where we've come from, because I feel like when you do that, then you really do lose something, okay. So, this was in Nicaragua, when I was working on the sugar cane thing, and this gentleman in the background is one of my subjects who eventually died within a month of photographing this picture, and then later that day, we'd been out at night, and there was this shot of the moon and the telephone pole, and the wires. So, again, I deliberately, whether one likes this or not, I deliberately put them together in this way. This was a case where I was waiting at a Newark airport to fly out somewhere, and the day before I had been in New York City, and I had photographed this scene of people walking with their shadows, and then again, a day later, I just happen to be, I see this scene, and I think, oh, this could make a nice combo. This was in India, very close to next to the woman, earlier picture, where she had the scarf, and so what I did was, I photographed this very simple picture of a girl with a red top by the river, and there are all these birds flying around, and so I took a picture, birds against the sky, knowing it would be an overlay, okay. And then this was in Jordan. I did a project, a film, on Syrian refugees, and this young woman was a teenager, Syrian teenager, who was living in the desert with her brother and sister in a refugee camp. And then, that was a picture, a tight shot I'd taken of someone's eye, and I decided to place them together, as well.

Class Description

Momentary, stunning lighting on a landscape. A toddler’s first stuttering attempts at standing. An interaction between strangers on the street strikes you as unexpectedly poignant. There is beauty and opportunity for storytelling all around us, but inspiration often comes with a ticking clock. There isn’t always time to set up a tripod and perfect the exposure on your SLR. Fortunately, we live in an age where the potential for professional-quality photos rides in our pockets wherever we go.

Join veteran photojournalist Ed Kashi for an in-depth workshop on the power of your mobile phone to create powerful visual stories. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to identify the aesthetic considerations of a location and be intentional with the type of image you want to capture
  • How to interact with people in various situations and capture the emotion you are looking for in a portrait 
  • How to quickly edit your photos within your mobile device and share with the world

Amateurs and professional photographers alike will benefit on this deep dive into mobile visual storytelling. You will learn how to capture striking images, alter them in post-production, and make the most of social media to spread the impact of your stories. Bring more meaning and intentionality to the way you record your everyday experience, and discover the powerful versatility of the lens in your phone.  

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Storytelling with Mobile Photography App List

Intimate Event - Aesthetic Considerations Video

Intimate Event - Human Interaction Video

Intimate Event - Capturing Portraits Video

Cultural Event - Human Interaction Video

Cultural Event - Capturing Portraits Video

Cultural Event - Aesthetic Considerations Video

Street Photography - Aesthetic Considerations Video

Street Photography - Human Interaction Video

Street Photography - Capturing Portraits Video

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

I was not interested in this class and just decided to tune in. This is one of the Best classes I have watched on Creative Live! I love his total "attitude" about how to treat people, what to do and not to do to engage in more courteous ways and polite ways. I found him inspiring and engaging, creative and providing lots of information in what I watched. (I did not watch the entire course.) I am certainly going to check out other classes he might produce in the future. I very much enjoyed what I did watch and found him a wonderful instructor! Lots of valuable tips as well. Thanks for allowing me to preview it today!

belinda leung

ed kasha did an amazing job taking us through his creative process. practical tips helped me immediately spot things to help improve my photos immediately. I downloaded and started using the apps he recommended right away. thanks creative live and ed kasha!

Lynn Hernandez

Very inspiring seeing Ed Kashi's excitement for the creative process. Seeing the final photo and then watching a video of what happened to make the photo was really helpful. Have a list a new apps to try for photo-editing and double-exposures. Loved the class.