So, what is ME in photography parlance? Well, it’s Multiple Exposure – specifically the kind that is achieved in-camera. It can be used in the simplest of ways to get great results.
Since I work with flowers a lot, it seems logical to use an floral example:
This was achieved using a multiple exposure of just two shots.
So how do I get my camera to do this?
It seems that Canon cameras actually lead the pack here with the ability to take more shots per multiple exposure, and to allow greater flexibility when they are blended. That said, I shoot with Nikon and haven’t yet wanted more than it can give to me. You can find the multiple exposure settings in your camera’s shooting menu. It will give you options on how many shots (2 in this case) and whether you want to set it that way for just a single photo, or for a series, and I leave the auto gain on. I always use the ‘single photo’ option because it’s very annoying when you go to take your next shots and find out that you have spent the past half hour combining pairs of shots that you didn’t mean to combine!!
Once your camera is set, look at your subject and decide on a central point of focus – easy on a flower as it is the centre of the flower in the shot above. Take your first shot as usual but then before you take the next shot, turn the camera by about 45 degrees, refocus on the centre, and shoot again. That’s your two shots (obviously if you have set it for three shots, you’ll want to turn it again and refocus and then shoot). Once you have taken the prescribed set of two or three shots, the pixies in the camera get to work on combining the shots and voila – you have your photo. If that works for you, perhaps try something else like one shot in focus, one defocused and one twisted; or perhaps you could photograph a person over a landscape. Whatever you choose to try, the shots do not have to be very close together in terms of time, but they do need to be consecutive.
I’m sure at least one person must be thinking, ‘but can’t you do that in photoshop’? Well, yes you can and if you love sitting at a computer messing with layers and bending modes then some very nice variations can be achieved – but I prefer to get as much done in-camera as possible to avoid the long hours with software. However, if you get home and look at your day’s catch and think, damn, that would have made a fabulous ME shot, then take it into photoshop, duplicate it once or twice or as many times as your patience will handle, and twist each layer a little bit as you go. You’ll then want to vary the opacity until you’re happy with the look and there ya go. In general, think in terms of 1/number of layers – if you have duplicated 10 times then put each layer at 10% opacity as a starting point when you combine them; if you duplicated to get three layers, then go for 33% opacity etc.
Delve the creative options on your camera and have a go . . .
Author: Sue Woollard – Capers with a Camera