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Double Exposure Technique in Photoshop Elements

By Thursday, August 27, 2020 (MDT) 3 Comments

Today, Creative Team Member, Nancy, is sharing her technique for creating Double Exposure Technique in Photoshop Elements.

Double Exposure Technique in Photoshop Elements


A Double Exposure is the blending of two or more images in an artistic design.

You will learn:

  • How to create an EXTRACTION in Photoshop Elements.
  • Apply Blending Modes to combine 2 photos and create LIGHT and COLOR effects.

1. Establish Foundation

Create a New Layout and choose the photos you want to use for your Double Exposure

Double Exposure Technique in Photoshop Elements - Image 1

  • Go to File> New (File) and create a New Layout at  12 X 12 inches (3600 px X 3600 px) at 300 DPI/PPI.
  • Select your images via File> Open and then click on each photo to open into your workspace.


  • Consider using thematic images with colors that are similar or contrasting.
  • A profile portrait is a great place to begin.
  • Remember silhouette portraits cut from black paper.

Double Exposure Technique in Photoshop Elements - Image 2

Note. The selection for this design includes one abandoned design and a portrait.

2. Make Extraction

Remove the background of the photo to yield the subject only.

Note. You can use the Magic Wand Tool or a Layer Mask to create an extraction.

Magic Wand Tool Technique

  • Select the Magic Wand Tool from the Tools Panel.
  • Click and drag on the background of the portrait photo to remove sections of the background.
  • Notice how the areas selected appear with a broken line.
  • When you are happy with the area selected then press the DELETE key on your keyboard.

Double Exposure Technique in Photoshop Elements - Image 3


  • This is known as a Destructive approach and therefore NOT easily editable.
  • It works well for solid areas of color with clear delineation between the subject and background.

Layer Mask Technique

  • Select the photo layer in the Layers Panel.
  • Apply a Layer Mask by clicking on the ‘Add Layer Mask’ icon at the top of the Layers Panel.
  • This icon appears as a black square with a circle inside.
  • Notice a ‘white mask’ thumbnail appear linked to the right of the photo layer.
  • Ensure the Foreground Color is Black and the Background Color is set to White in the Tools Panel. 
  • Click intentionally on the ‘Layer Mask’ thumbnail to select and notice a blue box surround the selection.
  • Select an AnnaBlendz Artsy brush and paint on the thumbnail in Black using the Paint Brush Tool from the Tools Panel.
  • Adjust the Size and Opacity of the brush as needed.

Double Exposure Technique in Photoshop Elements - Image 4

Note. As you paint on the Layer Mask areas of your photo layer will become hidden.

Tip. Apply a Drop Shadow Layer Style to the extracted subject to add dimension.

 3. Apply Blending Modes

Blending Modes adjust how layers interact with one another in the Layers Panel.

  • They change the depth of COLOR and enhance LIGHT properties.
  • In other words, some REVEAL and brighten while others CONCEAL and darken.
  • Find the Blending Modes menu under the ‘Normal’ tab at the top of the Layers Panel.

You can apply Blending Mode to different layers to yield INFINITE effects.

  • Experimentation is VITAL when applying Blending Modes to your digital elements.
  • The application of MULTIPLE Blending Modes will layer one effect on top of the other and effect all underlying layers in the Layers Panel.
  • Use them the achieve Balance, Repetition, and Movement in your digital scrapbooking or photo artistry layout design.

Double Exposure Technique in Photoshop Elements - Image 5

4. Embellish Your Design

Double Exposures need only simple embellishments to complete.

  • ScriptTease brushes were added to create a journaling effect.
  • UrbanThreadz add dimension mirroring the texture in the paper.
  • Color adjustments were made via Enhance> Adjust Color> Hue and Saturation.

DigitalART Supplies

Find a complete list of Digital Designs used in this digital scrapbooking/photo artistry layout here.


Use these Extraction and Blending Mode techniques to blend 2 or more photos in your digital scrapbooking and photo artistry layout designs.

  • Select 2 or more photos and be mindful of the background of each subject.
  • Use the Magic Wand Tool or a Layer Mask and Brushes to extract the focal points of one or more image.
  • Apply Blending Modes to achieve the Double Exposure effect.

See also:

And if you enjoyed this how to create Double Exposure Technique in Photoshop Elements post, please consider sharing using the social media buttons below.  

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Anna Aspnes

Author Anna Aspnes

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