Striped Double Exposure: How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes

Striped Double Exposure How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes

Double exposure is a great way to add variety to your photography. A double-exposure photo can even be used to make an eye-catching graphic. There are many ways to create this effect. This time, we’ll be taking a look at how to use stripes to get double exposures.

You can create double exposures right in your camera. Film camera photographers are already familiar with double exposures. Modern digital cameras also usually have this option. 

But sometimes you need software to create a double exposure using two ordinary photos. In some cases, you are left with no other choice. For instance, there is no simple way to create a striped double exposure in the camera. 

How to get double exposures using photo editing software 

You may be familiar with creating double exposures by blending layers. Blending layers is one method for getting the double-exposure effect. Another method is to paste the photos over each other and make selected parts transparent. This is the method we’ll be using in this tutorial. 

Before you get started, we recommend you brush up on the basics of working with masks. If you haven’t mastered working with masks yet, it’s a good idea to understand how they work first. If you don’t have time, follow the instructions closely and you will get the same result. Everything will make sense as you go.

Striped double exposure

The idea is to put two photos on top of each other and make the top one transparent using a mask in the shape of repeating vertical stripes. First, open the main photo in the Editor module of Zoner Photo Studio X

How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes
Open the photo with the main subject in the Editor module. You can also start with the second photo; the order doesn’t matter.
How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes
Click the arrow next to the +Add Layer button to open the drop-down menu and select Paste from File.

Then, paste the second photo. Select Paste from File (see picture above) and find the photo on your computer. Double-click the thumbnail in the browser to paste it. We chose a bright and colorful photo with light painting to contrast with the main photo.

How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes
Paste the second photo. Move and Transform (V) opens. Adjust the photo’s position and size. Once you’re happy, click Apply. 

Next, comes the important part—Masking. We need to create a mask for the top layer in the pattern of repeating vertical stripes. We could get by with a simple rectangular selection. But the problem with rectangular selection is that you’ll never make all the stripes (or narrow rectangles) exactly the same and equally spaced. So we have to use a more roundabout way to get stripes. 

We use a simple black and white image of vertical stripes that we found online and downloaded. Paste it in a separate layer above both photos using the Paste from File option. Since we are just using this image to create a mask, it doesn’t need to be high resolution. The main thing is that we get clearly defined stripes for our double exposure. 

How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes
Paste a stripe image. Ours was small, but we used Move and Transform (V) to enlarge it.

Next, select the Magic Wand (W) and click to add all black (or white, it doesn’t matter) bars to the selection. 

How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes
Use the Magic Wand (W) to select all white or black stripes.

Click the eye icon next to the stripe layer preview to hide the stripes. You won’t need them anymore. Voila! The Magic Wand shows us a selection of beautifully regular vertical stripes just like we wanted.  

How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes
After hiding the stripes layer, you can see the selection only. Next, we turn it into a mask. 

Right-click the thumbnail of the top of your two photos and select Mask→Add Selection to Mask. The result is two photos combined into one in the pattern of vertical stripes. Now you can cancel the selection using the Esc key. 

How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes
After creating a mask, the result looks something like this.

You may be happy with the results of some combination of photos. But we decided we wanted to uncover the main subject a bit more. Using the Paintbrush (B) with black, we hide two stripes in the mask that were covering his face. 

How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes
We delete two stripes from the mask by painting black with the Paintbrush (B).

We also make the color layer a bit more subdued by adding some blur (Adjustments→Blur).

How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes
Blurring the color layer brings more attention to the main subject.
How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes
Finished photo.

Double exposures are a creative tool

Double exposures are useful in graphic design or unique photography genres. For example, I sometimes use them when shooting concerts, when I want to add a more creative element to the whole series. I either shoot the photo as a double exposure directly, or create it in post-production. 

How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes
Princess Chelsea concert. I created a double exposure directly when shooting using the double exposure function in the camera. I took both pictures using different exposure settings. 
How to Combine Two Images Using Blending Modes
The Subways concert. Double exposure made using photo editing software. Each layer is tinted a different shade and the photos are blended together using a special layer blending mode. Instructions for a similar dichromatic double exposure can be found in the book ZPS X: The Complete Guide to Photo Editing.

All it takes is the right software

Whether you just want to create a graphic, a creative photo, or just try making a double exposure for fun, you’re going to need the right software. Download Zoner Photo Studio X (if you don’t already have it) and get started. All of the above-mentioned functions can be found in ZPS X free and without limits for 7 days. 

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AuthorJaroslav Krezek

I enjoy digital and analog photography, both black-and-white and color formats. You can often find me with my camera attending a concert or music festival, but I never leave home without my 35mm in its plastic case. I am the editor-in-chief of , and together with our talented contributors, we tirelessly write articles about anything having to do with photography.

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