Twice as nice – combining faces and flowers in double exposure portraits

One thing I really like about analogue photography is the possibility of making double exposures. Let me show you three examples of how I combined flowers and portraits.

I see flowers – I almost automatically take a double exposure.

One thing I really like about analogue photography is the possibility of making double exposures. For those of you who don´t know: it’s the technique of having two captures on one frame by exposing the same segment of your film two or even multiple times. I won´t go into the details too much, as there are many great “how to” sources out there (I will link two examples at the end of this post). I just like to show you some examples of portraits I combined with flowers and explain what works well for me.

I like big buds

I personally like to shoot the two captures directly after another. This way I can get an idea of how the two subjects will combine on the final frame. But as always with analogue photography, you will have to wait for the results and that´s the fun part with double exposures: it will always be a surprise! When combining flowers with portraits, I made the experience that big blossoms with plain petals look a bit more flattering in your models face than very small and frizzy ones. And for the colour of the flowers: soft colours like rose, yellow or white work better for me than red for example.

analogue double exposure portrait of a man and a rose
taken with NikonFE2 on Kodak Portra 400

Meter for the sky

Some people wonder if it´s better to first capture the person and then the flower or the other way round. Honestly, I don´t really remember for the most of my shots. But I think metering is the most important part anyways. It´s the black or dark parts in one of your compositions where the other capture will be seen. So, one easy way to do this is to create silhouettes. Take your model out for a walk and look for a plain space of sky. Then hide the sun behind the silhouette of your model. Both shots should be underexposed one stop. When you additionally meter for the sky and not for the model´s face in the portrait shot, the face will be extra dark. This way you will have a sharp silhouette filled with the second shot of flowers. In the example below, the sky was very damp. That´s why the difference between the sky and the subject was not very big and you can see the models face and the cherry blossom blend into another, which I really like very much. You can get this effect on bright and sunny days as well of course – by metering for the models face and not for the sky.

analogue double exposure portrait of a silhouette of a women and cherry blossoms
taken with NikonFE2 on Fujifilm Pro 400H

Don´t forget to bring your hat

Talking about silhouettes – you have a friend with a hat or an interesting hairstyle? Guess who will be your next double exposure model 😊

analogue double exposure portrait of a man wearing a hat
taken with NikonFE2 on Fujicolor C200

Here are two links to sites which explain the techniques of double exposures quite well, one from (in English) and one from (in German).

Check out more of my double exposures on my Instagram account or if you are from around Hamburg and want to shoot some double exposures together – contact me 🙂