Do you have a different app for doing collages, and compositing, and another for changing backgrounds? Then this article is for you. I’ll show you how to use the Snapseed double exposure feature so you can do all of this inside one free app. Let’s get started.
The double-exposure technique comes from film photography. It’s created by shooting multiple times in the same frame. This can create compositions, collages, or superimposed ghosts on a scene and used for many things. Fortunately, it carried over into digital photography.
There are different ways to achieve double exposures. You can do it in-camera, by editing on your computer or using your smartphone. This last one is what I want to show you.
Snapseed editing app
There are tons of editing apps to choose from. I particularly like Snapseed because you can do most of your post-production in it, it’s free and available for iOS and Android.
In general, Snapseed is very intuitive, but if you want to have more control over your editing, it’s not always clear how to access the tools for fine-tuning. This is the case of the Snapseed double exposure feature.
Basic Double Exposure
For the basic use of the Snapseed double exposure feature, I’m going to show you how to add a bokeh background to your subject.
When you launch the app, you’ll be immediately prompted to open your image by clicking anywhere on the screen. This will open the browser for you to access your gallery. Choose the one with your subject and tap on it.
Next, open the Tools menu by tapping the pencil icon. Scroll down until you find the Double Exposure tool and tap on it.
Here you’ll find three tools. Choose the one with the plus sign (+) on it. This is the ‘add image’ button. It will give you access to your gallery again to add the photo you want to overlap. In this case, the bokeh image.
Now that both images are superimposed, you can modify the effect.
Start by tapping the middle icon – it represents the different layers. Here you can adjust the way they interact with each other. If you are familiar with Photoshop Blend Modes, it will be fairly easy. If not, just tap on each choice to see how they change the results.
When you’re happy, tap on the check icon to apply.
Now, go to the third tool, the one that looks like a drop. With this one, you can open a slider that controls the transparency of the layer. Move it until you like the final result.
If it’s still not perfect, you can always mask away specific parts of your layer. I’ll show you how to do this in the next section by doing a simple composite.
Pretty good right? But not exactly a lot of control. That’s why the Snapseed double exposure feature offers the possibility to mask. However, these tools aren’t so easy to find as a first time user.
First, make your composite with the basic tools as explained in the previous section. Once you’ve decided on the blending mode and transparency, accept the edits by tapping on the check sign.
Next, tap on the back button that you can find on the top right. Usually, you wouldn’t do that unless you were unhappy with your results, and this is why these advanced tools are not apparent at first glance. This will open a menu that gives you the choice to Undo, Revert, and View edits. This last one is where you want to go.
This will open a list with every edit you’ve done.
In this case, there’s only the double exposure, but if you also adjusted perspective, exposure, etc, it would show up here to access again for further edits.
Click on the Double Exposure step to open its menu. The sliders icon on the right takes you back to basic tools if you want to make any changes. The icon in the middle takes you to the advanced edits.
Here, you can mask your images to reveal or hide different parts of it. Use your finger as a brush and just paint away. With the eye icon, you can make the mask visible.
Use the arrows to increase or decrease the opacity. If you made a mistake and painted over the wrong part, tap the arrow down to 0 and paint again to make visible again the underlying layer.
If you need to be precise, you can zoom in and out using two fingers. When you’re happy just tap on the check button and save your image.
The Snapseed double exposure feature gives you control over the effect you’re applying while still being easy to use without previous training.
And, by the way, it’s not just double but multiple exposures. You can add as many layers as you want. Just repeat the process to add more images.
Get creative and show us your results in the comments section!