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I capture the unspoken — the glances, the silences — drawing from New York's pulse and the richness of global cultures. Every wedding is its own intricate narrative. Rooted in theatre and life's everyday rhythms, I document moments both transient and timeless. 

Hey, I'm susan!

Double Exposures in Wedding Photography

One of my favorite things to create – if not my absolute favorite thing – are double exposures in wedding photography.

As a wedding photographer, I’ve always been drawn to the artistic sheer magic of double exposures. They offer an unparalleled opportunity to capture a moment’s raw emotion and essence, infusing it with dreamlike qualities. By layering two distinct images, we can reveal the depth of connection between the subjects, immortalizing art and reality in a single, incredibly creative frame.

For me, the beauty of double exposures lies in their ability to evoke powerful emotions while inviting the viewer to explore the subtle interplay between light and shadow, reality and fantasy. Each image becomes a visual poem. As a photographer, I find this creative process both challenging and deeply rewarding. I am continually inspired by the endless possibilities double exposures offer in crafting truly one-of-a-kind images.

Also? They’re just so pretty and so much fun to create.

creative multiple exposure with trees in central park at a wedding

What is a double exposure?

Double exposure is a photographic technique combining two separate images into a single frame.

The resulting image often features an artistic, dreamy, or surreal quality as the two overlaid images blend together, creating a unique visual effect. Double exposures can be used creatively in various genres of photography, including portraits, landscapes, and, oh yes, even wedding photography, to convey emotions, tell a story, or create an eye-catching visual.

How do I create a double exposure in photography?

As mentioned above, there are several ways to make these unique images:

  1. In-camera double exposures: Some digital cameras, especially higher-end DSLRs and mirrorless models, have a built-in double exposure feature. This allows photographers to combine two images directly in the camera, overlaying one on top of the other. This technique requires careful planning and composition, as the photographer must visualize how the two images will blend together before taking the shots. This is my favorite way to do it because it’s the trickiest and, thus, the most personally rewarding!
  2. Film photography: In the realm of analog photography, double exposures can be created by exposing the same frame of film twice. This is achieved by not advancing the film after taking the first photo and then capturing the second image on the same frame. The resulting image is often dreamy, as it is a natural blend of the two exposures.
  3. Post-processing software: Using digital editing software like Adobe Photoshop, photographers can create double exposures by layering two separate images and adjusting the blend mode, opacity, and other settings to achieve the desired effect. This method offers more control over the final image, allowing photographers to experiment with different blending techniques and fine-tune the results.

While I love creating these images in camera, there truly is no right or wrong!

A bride and groom standing in front of a tree at their summer wedding at Bourne Mansion.

What sorts of images do I layer together for a dynamic double exposure?

When creating a double exposure, the choice of images to layer together can greatly impact the final result. Here are some ideas of elements you can combine to achieve a visually appealing and meaningful double exposure:

  1. Portraits and landscapes: Combining a portrait of the couple with a landscape from their wedding venue or a significant location can create a powerful connection between the subjects and their surroundings. For example, in one of the images above, I layered the couple with the trees at their wedding venue and the gorgeous puffy clouds in the sky.
  2. Silhouettes and textures: Use a silhouette of the couple against a bright background and layer it with a texture, such as flowers, leaves, or architectural elements, to create a compelling visual effect. I love using out-of-focus chandeliers and twinkle lights for a fun textured layer.
  3. Close-ups and wide shots: Combine a close-up portrait of the couple with a wider shot of the wedding venue or an iconic scene, creating a sense of depth and context within the image.
  4. Movement and stillness: Layering an image with movement, such as the couple dancing or walking, with a still portrait can create a dynamic and engaging composition.
  5. Symbolic elements: Incorporate elements that hold special meaning for the couple, such as a significant quote, the wedding vows, or even their wedding date, to create a personalized and emotionally resonant image. 
  6. Nature and architecture: Combine natural elements, such as trees, flowers, or the sky, with architectural features from the wedding venue to create a visually striking contrast. Trees are my absolute favorite. Running water is my second favorite!
  7. Multiple poses: Layer two or more images of the couple in different poses, showcasing their individual personalities and how they interact.
  8. Light and shadow: Play with light and shadow by layering images with contrasting lighting conditions, such as a brightly lit portrait with a darker, more dramatic scene.
  9. Abstract patterns: Combine the couple’s portrait with abstract patterns or shapes. I will often use shapes from shadows of leaves, patterns on fabric, and even wallpaper for the patterned second layer.
  10. Time-lapse effect: Create the illusion of time passing by layering images taken at different times of the day, such as a sunset or nighttime shot, with a daytime portrait.

When creating a double exposure, it’s essential to consider how the images interact and blend together. Experiment with different combinations and blending techniques to achieve a visually compelling and meaningful final image.

A black and white photo capturing a couple's intimate kiss in front of a tree on their wedding day at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

If I’m a wedding client, how do I ask my photographer for these images?

As a wedding client, it’s essential to communicate your desires and expectations with your photographer, especially if you’re interested in specific techniques like double exposure images.

Start by doing some research on double exposure wedding photography to get a better understanding of the various styles and techniques. Save a few examples that resonate with you and reflect the type of double exposure images you want for your wedding.

It’s also important to ask your photographer about their experience with double exposure photography and whether they’re comfortable incorporating this technique into your wedding photos. Some photographers may have extensive experience with double exposures, while others might be less familiar with the technique. By discussing this ahead of time, you’ll ensure that your photographer is prepared and confident in capturing the double exposure images you desire.

Finally, be open to your photographer’s suggestions and ideas. They may have creative insights on how to incorporate double exposures into your wedding photos to complement your overall vision. By collaborating closely with your photographer and maintaining open communication, you’ll increase the likelihood of achieving beautiful double exposure images that capture the essence of your wedding day.

A picture of a wedding ring immersed in a glass of water at a wedding.

In conclusion

As an experienced photographer with a deep understanding and expertise in double exposure photography, I can confidently bring your creative vision to life. My passion for capturing the unique connection between couples, combined with my technical skill and artistic eye, ensures that your double exposure images will be a stunning and memorable addition to your wedding collection.

With my commitment to excellence and dedication to my craft, you can rest assured that your wedding photography is in the best hands, resulting in unique double exposure images for your wedding album.

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