We’ve been playing around with a different way to do a double exposure. A “bokeh double exposure”(we just call it that, but it may have a different name if someone else has done it) is a way to bring bokeh into the foreground, to create images that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. We didn’t hold anything in front of the lens for these photos, and everything was done in camera. Here’s how we’ve been doing it with Canon 5d Mark III’s.
-In the “shoot 3″ menu, scroll to “multiple exposure, disable” and select it.
-Enable multiple exposure by selecting “multiple exposure, disable” select “on: func/cntrl” in the sub menu.
-We set the “Multi-expos ctrl” to bright, so that the second image exposes for highlights, which will be the light that creates the bokeh. You can experiment with the “Multi expos ctrl” to get the exact image you want.
-At the bottom select “select image for multi. expo.”
Now you’ll be able to pick which photo will be your source image. As you select your source image, try to visualize where you would want bokeh to fit into your composition. This may be the most important step of all. If the second image doesn’t fit in correctly with the source image, it can take a great composition and ruin it.
Now, go find some bokeh! We use chandeliers, candles, string lights, etc…..the possibilities are endless. Once you’ve found some bokeh, visualize your source image and where you want it to fit in. Line up your photo with your bokeh as out of focus as you’d like (we manually focus) and place it somewhere in the frame that will enhance the composition of your source image. Make sure you are exposing only for the highlights, so you don’t wash out the second photo (since you are taking a photo of lights) and everything else in the photo is dark (sometimes we even test our settings before we select our source image to be sure it is exactly what we want).
The next step is to click the shutter. Its a cool feeling as you wait for the camera to put the images together, then see your final result:
The image below is what we go for in the second image. If the subject of your source image overlaps the dark areas of the second image, it shouldn’t interrupt the composition of the final product.
We use this technique to make detail photos more interesting:
In the image below, the chandelier in the background is where the bokeh in the foreground came from. Julianne got some funny looks from guests as she walked up to the chandelier to photograph it during Jayne and Chuck’s first dance.
You can change lenses in between the exposures if you want different, larger, or smaller bokeh. You can also set your camera to record the source and second images in succession. We often do this during weddings when we are pressed for time or have an exact plan in mind to achieve what we want.
We recommend trying this out and practicing before using it in a real world situation. We practiced a lot in our backyard before attempting this at weddings. Once we got the hang of it, it works 100% of the time if used in the right situation. The hardest part is walking up to lights in the middle of the wedding as guests who are somewhat photography inclined think you have no clue what you are doing….that always makes us laugh.
Feel free to leave comments and/or questions below