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Captivating double exposure effects for your photos

Captivating double exposure effects for your photos

The double exposure design trend can be seen in the title sequence of cult series “True Detective”. Textures in images have also been used in many music videos, like Milky Chance’s hit “Stolen Chance”. Here, we’ll show you how to use double exposure effects the right way. Anyone can create double exposure effects without an analog camera. We’ll show you the easy way to create these special effects digitally.

Step by step guide to creating a double exposure image with Xara Photo & Graphic Designer


Step 1: You basically need two images that will work together. In this example, we have combined a landscape image with a photograph of a city. The image of the person should remain in focus.

Step 2: The two images are superimposed on top of each other, giving the image more structure and three-dimensionality.

Step 3: Combinations of images layered this way are called blend modes. There are different types of blend mode you can experiment with, for instance:

  • Normal = The standard setting that colors every section with the target color of the top layer.
  • Multiply = The output color is mixed with applications of colors and is similar to coloring with felt tip pens. This mode creates a darker color.
  • Negative multiply = The output color is mixed inversely with applications of colors and is similar to the effect when colorful flashlights are combined. This creates a lighter color.
  • Hard light = This is suited for highlighting contrast in images.
  • Soft Light = This is the most suitable mode for creating double exposure effects. The application of color is soft and does not change the brightness of the image.

The effect of the modes really depends on the photos used, so it’s a good idea to try out different transparency types.

Play around with transparency

Experimenting with different levels and forms of transparency is particularly fun. In this example image, we have used the photograph of a forest as a bottom layer. The top layer is a portrait of a man. We’ve modified the top image with the transparency form “Soft Light”. The same portrait is used for the third level and has been edited with a circular shape transparency form. As you can see, the face is in focus and its features are still distinguishable despite the transparency effect.


Using the eraser tool, we can freely select their whole figures. In this image you can see the transparent image within the silhouette of the fox. Here, we have layered two levels on top of each other. The first is a picture of a fox. We have chosen a landscape shot as a blend mode and a second layer. After selecting the form and type of transparency, we removed the excess edges with the eraser tool. The fox now appears alone in the foreground.


Polyscapes and blend modes

In our last article , we reported on polyscapes. If that article piqued your interest, we have great news! Polyscapes and blending modes combine really well together. Whether using geometrical figures, numbers or letters, your creativity knows no bounds.


There’s no limit to the creative possibilities!

As we’ve seen, this feature offers you a variety of exciting ways to breathe more life and individuality into your images. Get experimenting, create your own pictures and share them with us via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook under the hashtags #BlendingPicsWithMagix #MAGIX #BlendingPictures. You can also download our blend mode wallpaper for free here. We’re looking forward to seeing your artwork!


Theresa became part of the Social Media team at MAGIX following an apprenticeship here. When she's not writing exciting posts or answering your questions, she loves to bake and is always providing the whole office with sweet treats.

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