Double exposures are very popular at the moment, I notice that there’s a version of one on The Revenant poster recently too. In this tutorial we’ll go a little beyond the ‘usual’ technique and experiment a little more.

For this tutorial I’ll be using:

old paper texture File: #53248391 | Author: vlntn

bearded man File: #85454706 | Author: magann

Texas winter sunset over farmland File: #101349190 | Author: leekris


For space and time I’m going to assume some Photoshop knowledge during this tutorial but those with a little experience should be ok.

Mask The Base Image

What I’m after is the tree to appear within the outline of the bearded man. By masks this is a quick process, let’s do that first.

Using Quick Selection Tool make a selection of the man, use Refine Edge if you’d like, this will change the final image from a hard edged image to one with a little bit of feather.

Mask the man. We don’t need the mask on him, but its a good place to leave it until we do need it.


Add The Second Image

Either drag and drop or open the second image of the tree. No need to resize at this point.


Drag the mask from the man onto the tree layer:


When you drop it down you’ll see that you already have the start of a double exposure.


Click the link that connects the tree layer to the mask. This means that you can now move each independently.

Make sure the tree layer is selected and press Ctrl+t (PC) Cmd+t (mac) and resize the tree to where you like it within the mask. In this example I’m not keeping the image constrained to its original proportions, as long as I don’t go crazy it won’t be noticeable.


Blend Layers

To have the two lanes show together change the Blending Mode for the tree layer, your choice will depend on what look you’re going for:


Extra Credit

You could stop there, but lets take it a little further and really fine tune this to how we’d like it. I’ll keep the tree layer on Vivid Light for now.

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and clip it to the Tree layer:



The colour is coming through from the bearded man layer, turn the visibility of this off for now so you can see what’s happening.


Select the tree layer and the Hue/Saturation and put them in a Group:


Use a Luminance Mask

For this part you’ll need the tree group off and the layer of the man on. Then go to the Channels Panel:



This will depend on your image, but for this one the Red channel shows the most contrast so press Ctrl (PC) or Cmd (Mac) and click on the thumbnail of the Red Channel:



This makes a selection of the lightest pixels. However, you want everything BUT the lightest, so head to the menu and choose Select > Inverse:


double_exposure_photoshop_13Make sure the RGB channel is visible and return to the Layers Panel.

Hide the layer of the man and show the tree group.

With the Tree group selected, add a mask:



Finesse The Mask

With the mask selected press Ctl+l (PC) or Cmd+l (Mac) to bring up a Levels adjustment for the mask. Bringing the White and Black points in increases the contrast but also get rid of some grey areas that look a little out of place in the main image.



Add a Background

Bring in the paper texture layer and move it to the bottom of the layer stack:



The Tree group currently has the Blending Mode of Pass through, change this to one of the darkening Blending Modes, Darken or my favourite here Color Burn:



As always I’d love to see what you do with this technique!

As always, a huge thanks to Eric for supplying this tutorial. Stay tuned for next week and in the meantime, check out more of his tutorials on his website, YouTube and you can find him on Facebook and Twitter should you wish to get in touch with him!