Tips & Tutorials

Creating Multiple Exposure Pictures with your EOS 6D

Depending on how they are used, the multiple-exposure options on the EOS 6D makes it possible for amazingly artistic photographic expression. In this article, I will share more about how you can make good use of this feature. (Reported by: Teppei Kouno)

[Average] for Automatic Exposure Calculation when Merging Images

The multiple-exposure feature, which produces an image by merging different exposures, is an expressive technique that greatly broadens the creativity of your photos. The EOS 6D comes with two types of multiple exposures, [Additive] and [Average]. I will share some ways to make use of the multiple exposures using the [Average] option. In general, an image becomes brighter when different exposures are overlapped, so the user needs to decrease the exposure manually. This is how the [Additive] option works. Meanwhile, in the [Average] setting, the camera automatically determines the optimal brightness according to the number of combined exposures, thus allowing the photographer to concentrate on selecting the subject and the merging process without having to worry much about the exposure. For those who are challenging this feature for the first time, [Average] is the easier option to use.

The key point to using the multiple-exposure feature lies in the subject. Naturally, it would be easier to merge simple images. The ideal choice would be one that is lacking in impact. You will also need a stronger image with a clear theme which will help create your final image. For example, you create an imaginary effect by overlapping flowers, people, animals or other subjects with a simple background. However, for materials with clear motifs, you should also pay more attention to the composition of the picture. Changing how the subject is positioned significantly alters the impression of a photo. Bear in mind too that black (dark) subjects can be reflected more effectively in the image than white (bright) ones, and this is particularly so in the case of silhouettes.

Overlap subjects with a well-defined motif

EF17-40mm f/4L USM/ FL: 40mm/ Aperture-priority AE (1/640 sec., f/5.6)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto

1st Image
2nd Image

Materials with simple colours and shapes and a well-defined theme are easy to handle in multiple-exposure photography. However, attention needs to be paid to how the images are being overlapped. In this example, I superimposed the two shots to create a symmetrical effect, which adds a fantastical touch to the resulting image.

Inappropriate overlapping results in poor balance

EF17-40mm f/4L USM/ FL: 40mm/ Aperture-priority AE (1/800 sec., f/5.6)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto

1st Image
2nd Image

The asphalt pavement at the right edge of the first image results in a cluttered composition in the multiple-exposure shot. There is also room for improving the colour density and positioning of the flower. Although the EOS 6D allows a maximum of nine shots to be combined, unless you have a very clear intention in mind, you are advised to overlap just two shots as a start.

Create a dark area to overlap with the second image

EF85mm f/1.2L USM/ FL: 85mm/ Aperture-priority AE (1/4,000 sec., f/4.5)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto

1st Image
2nd Image

In multiple-exposure photography, it is easier to overlap the second image within the shadowed area of the first. Here, the ridge of the mountain is captured in a dark silhouette, and I overlapped with it a shot featuring sand on the shore. The result is an image that resembles a landscape reflection in the water. With a shadow area that is as dark as that illustrated in the first shot, the second image would stand out when they are merged.

Second image does not stand out if the shadow area in the first is not dark enough

EF17-40mm f/4L USM/ FL: 40mm/ Aperture-priority AE (1/640 sec., f/5.6)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto

1st Image
2nd Image

A base image that is not sufficiently dark does not allow the second exposure to stand out in a multiple-exposure shot. In this example, the second landscape shot is barely discernible in the resulting photo. With the EOS 6D, you can use RAW images as the first exposure in a multiple-exposure image. In this sense, it would be good to capture photos such as the silhouette in the above examples as RAW images so they can be easily used as materials for subsequent multiple-exposure shots.

Teppei Kouno

Born in Tokyo in 1976. Studied under photographer Masato Terauchi after graduating from Meiji Gakuin University, Kouno works as an independent photographer since 2003.


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