Posts tagged before and after
In-Camera Double Exposure - Before and After Edit

I shot this in-camera double exposure at a wedding in Park City, Utah using the Canon 5D Mark IV with the 35L ii lens

I started off

shooting the portrait making sure that the background was overexposed slightly and the near side of the bride's face was slightly underexposed.   I made sure she was slightly angled towards me to get some depth in here face.


I noticed

the amazing floral designs in the middle of the tables during the reception and pulled some roses out of them.  I went outside and set my camera to "multiple exposure mode",  held up the roses and created the photo.  

Before and After Edit + FREE PRESETS!

For this "before and after" edit I am using a shot from an album cover session I did with the bluegrass stars Darin and Brooke Aldridge.

This image was shot with the Canon 5D Mark lll using the Sigma 35mm Art lens.

My camera settings were 1/400 sec, ƒ/2.0, ISO 100.

I edited this photo to this Spotify playlist.

If you'd like to see all the specific editing decisions that I made with this photo then download the RAW file, use the Lightroom preset + VSCO Film's Kodak Elite ll 50-C camera profile + use my Alien Skin Exposure custom preset in Alien Skin Exposure X2.

That's a lot of a processing so if you have questions along the way feel free to ask in the comments below. 

Before and After Edit with Lightroom and Alien Skin Exposure

I wanted to share this before and after edit from Lightroom and Alien Skin Exposure because sometimes we forget the powerful, efficient tools that we have when shooting in RAW.  

Here is the original photo before I began editing it.  This was shot with 1/640 shutter speed, ƒ stop 1.4, ISO 100 with the Canon 5D Mark lll using the Canon 85L II lens.

  I then applied some white balance and exposure adjustments followed by a custom preset of mine.   I made minor adjustments in the "tone curve" section of lightroom as well as "luminance".   You'll notice that I also did some cloning with the bolts and the wood peg in the chair.

Finally, I sent the photo over to Alien Skin Exposure and applied a very subtle, custom version of their Portra 160 plus their wonderful "grain" feature. 

There you have it!  Thank you for spending the time to read and learn.  If you are interested in getting posts like this to your inbox then you can fill out the quick form below.   

Before & After Edit // Styled Shoot in Salt Lake City, Utah

Shooting in the middle of the day is a challenge for many of us.  During an adventure in Salt Lake City, Utah recently I found myself in another challenging shooting environment.  Not only were we in direct sunlight but I was also not used to the colors and tones of the Utah environment.  

After the shoot I was pleasantly surprised to find that the tones there actually matched my editing style quite nicely.  

Shot with 5D Mark lll / 85L 

Edited with Mark Maya 01//C

Before & After \\ Double Exposure Wedding Edition

After I shoot weddings all of the images stay on my cards for several days.  I do this because I want to give myself the option to create double exposures for my clients but on my own time.  My clients always get a pleasant surprise when I throw in a double exposure photo like this into their final gallery.  It tends to set me apart as a photographer and shows my clients that I'm an artist first and also that I didn't forget about them as soon as I left.  It shows them that I care.  

This double exposure was actually a result of me feeling really down one dreary afternoon.  I'd been traveling a lot, my patience was short and I felt overworked.  When this happens, going out and making art for the sake of making art, is generally a quick remedy.   

I grabbed my card that still had around 4k photos on it from a wedding shot a few days before and headed out towards my favorite coffee shop.  Along that way I challenged myself to keep an eye out for those textures that I knew would create a great double exposure.

Here's the before and after of the double exposure that I delivered to my clients. 

Before & After (Plastic Cup)

For this shot I used a plastic cup that was laying around my studio.  As I was walking out for a local workshop that I was teaching at,  I thought it would be interesting to grab some items to shoot through.  I saw this cup, cut a hole in the bottom with some scissors then threw it in my bag.

Here's the result shot with the Canon 5D Mark 3 \\ 50L. Settings were 1/250 ƒ2.5 ISO 100. 

Before and After (Double Exposure Edition)

Ever wonder what is the best time of day to shoot a double exposure? Usually it's the "golden hour" (the hour right before sunset) but this is not always the case with a double exposure photograph. One of the keys to shooting a great double exposure is to "silhouette" the subject. In order to do that you'll need the background (the sky) to be filled with a lot of even light and even color. If there are a ton of clouds that are covering 100% of the sky then it really doesn't matter what time you shoot because the sky will have a nice, soft, even look to it when blowing out the background. If there is a light cover of clouds where you can't see where the sun is but it's still producing a significant amount light then I would wait until just before the "golden hour" because otherwise, even on a light overcast day, the sun will still create harsh shades of highlights that will make your background inconsistent and uneven. Again, you don't want to deal with that in Lightroom or Photoshop.

Below is a double exposure that I initially thought about while I was shooting a wedding.  

I was doing the "getting ready" photos.  The bride had just gotten her dress on and I was shooting away.  I noticed the lights were off and the window was quite big so I moved into position to create a silhouette of her profile using the large window as the background.  

When after importing all of the photos into LR, I made sure not to format them off of my card.  

I waited for an "overcast" day then went out and shot.

I used the 5D Mark lll  35 1.4 Art & 50mm 1.2 for these shots.  

Before & After (Double Exposure Edition)

Sometimes photographers over-do it. I know I do. We try to fill the background with abstract interesting lines. We put stuff in front of our lens to get dreamy, cool effects. We increase the saturation a bit too much or add just a tad bit too much contrast. With double exposure photography it's the opposite. The goal in the end is to create a simple, beautiful fine art photograph. There's 3 things to consider in order to achieve this goal.


Subject, Simple and Subtle


Subject: You have two subjects in double exposure photography. The first subject is generally the outline or silhouette of the top half of a human-usually facing to the side in order to get their facial profile (there are always exceptions to this but in general this works the best). This is basically a portrait with a solid blown-out background and most of the human is underexposed. As you practice this you'll figure out how to light the subject in creative ways according to your style.

The second subject is the "fill" image. This is the second image you take to fill in the outline of the first image. It might be flowers, a tree line, building, mountains, etc. This image should be generally focused throughout the area that is doing the "filling". There should be a distinct texture with contrasting lines.

Simple: Your background should be simple. This means that when you shoot your silhouette portrait where you "blow out" the background, the area around the person should be free of other objects like trees, buildings, power lines, etc. The fill image is very abstract and difficult to decipher from your audience's perspective, so making sure that the background is clear of unneeded distractions is important.

Subtle: Your editing of double exposures should be quite subtle.  Some specifics elements to pay close attention to are saturation, contrast, exposure, highlights and shadows. A slight "matte" effect is generally a good choice when editing double exposures as well.

The reason for editing with such subtlety is that the image is already very abstract and interesting without color and contrast added. It has a surreal, fine art feel from the beginning. If we edit a double exposure just like a regular portrait then you run the risk of taking away from the "beauty" feel and creating an almost "illustrated" feel. We want this to still be photography when we're done so instead of increasing the usual editing elements we may need to decrease them.   I have a whole filmpack of presets that I personally use specifically for editing double exposures because the differentiation is so great. 


Recently, I was on a test shoot with a model and another photographer and we attempted to apply my 3 double exposure principles to craft a simple double exposure photo.  I shot this with the 5D Mark lll \\ 50L.  

The initial portrait settings were 1/250 ƒ2.8 ISO 100. 

The textured tree line settings were 1/100 ƒ4.0 ISO 100.



Here is the textured tree line shot:

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Before & After (Double Exposure Edition)

You folks seem to like double exposures so I thought I'd show you one for this week's before and after.

Double exposures are wonderfully complex and it takes tons of trial and error to get them right. As do all aspects of photography. Just showing you a before and after edit does not fully communicate the details of what goes into one of these (mostly while shooting).  If you'd like a detailed course on this let me know.   

Either way... 

I shot this with the 5D Mark lll 50 1.2 using the "multiple exposure" picture style mode.  I set my double exposures to "additive" because this simulates film photography the most. 

I take the portrait first then switch over to the ME mode using live view.  

I edited this with my custom preset then added grain in Alien Skin Exposure.

Here is the image taken for the tree line:

Before & After

This before and after was shot with the Fujifilm x100 right after I broadcasted on Facebook here.

It was shot at around 8pm in extremely low,cool light at 1/80 sec, ƒ2, ISO 800.

One thing I love about this camera is the wide fixed lens and mobility.   These two things allow me to include "myself" in photos just like this one. 

Before & After

For this before and after I chose an image that I never would've chosen if I was looking SOOC. 

My flash didn't go off, it was lit by a terrible elevator light and I probably came close to deleting it on the back of my camera (I do this sometimes to images that I think are are totally unusable).

The bride was waiting for the "first look" and I saw an opportunity as she was I took it. 

Editing I had to craaaaank the exposure +3.01..hence all the grain.   

I also cranked the vignette...just because it seemed to work.  I've never done anything like that before before but loved what happened after I did.  

Before & After

This shot was taken just before the "golden hour" on top of a parking deck so there was a ton of light being bounced around from adjacent buildings.  

I choose to blow out the sky to create backlight and contrast with my model, Faith. 

I shot this with the Canon 5D Mark 3 using the 50mm 1.2 lens.  1/2500. f/2.2 ISO 100.

After applying my preset, I usually take my shots over to Alien Skin but for this one I wanted to show how great the preset is as a "stand alone".

Before & After

This "before & after" shot was during a shoot I did with my good friend Cate.  

I have some issues with this photograph and spent some time on it.  My big issue was that I've lost my lens hood for my 50mm 1.2 lens on my 5D Mark lll.  You'll notice an excessive amount of light above her head.  This is what happens when you shoot into the sun without a lens hood.   

After applying my presets in Lightroom, I sent the photo over to Alien Skin Exposure for grain. 

Before & After

I shot this "Before & After" with the Canon 5D Mark lll with the 50mm 1.2 Canon lens. I used a ton of window light and about 250 ISO. 

In Adobe Lightroom I butchered VSCO Film's Agfa Vista 400 Portrait preset and then sent the photo over to Alien Skin Exposure where I applied the Portra 160 preset + grain. 

Before & After

This "Before and After" was shot with the Fujifilm X100.  If you follow me (click here if you don't) then you know I love this camera.

I shot this on the way into a mall in the middle of the day.  

I was naturally drawn by the interesting symmetry that was created by the trees and the protruding lines in the stone.

I tweaked the VSCO Film Agfa Vista 100 preset pretty severely, did some spot heals and then applied an altered version of Alien Skin Exposure's Portra 160 + grain.    

Before & After

This "Before & After" is of North Carolina rapper Defacto Thezbian

I wanted to stick with Defacto's hip, urban style so we found some old train tracks on a nice overcast day to help get that feel.  It was important that it was overcast because I didn't want any harsh light from the sun (and I don't shoot with a flash, diffuser, or any other crap that might weigh me down). This was shot with Canon 5D Mark lll + Sigma Art 35mm lens. 

When in Lightroom I got my white balance correct (click here if you don't know how to white balance your photos) and cranked up my exposure +1.80.  Next, I added VSCO Film's Portra 160+1 preset and made some minor tweaks to my tonal curves and went to work with the "heal tool".  

You'll notice that I took out a ton of distractions from this image.  The background and his face had elements that took away from where I wanted my audience to look: left eye > lips > side burn.  I used to have issues with removing "hair follicles" and other natural facial elements but I quickly got over this once I realized that removing those things actually helped my audience view and enjoy the photograph more.  

After I finished up in Lightroom, I went over to Alien Skin Exposure to add another partial version of Portra 160 and some grain in the highlights. 

Before & After

For this "before and after" I spent a strange amount of time tweaking tones and experimenting with highlights/shadows.  I utilized "zooming" in with my 1:1 previews to get a better feel on how much detail was being lost or added.  

I began this edit with VSCO's Film Pack 05 using the Kodak Ultramax 400+++ preset and then tweaking the heck out of it.  Afterwards, the photo was sent to Alien Skin Exposure for grain and the usual light tweaking.  

Before & After

For this "Before & After" I want to brag on the Fujifilm 100x.

I've been in the habit of throwing it around my neck during shoots.  It's so small, light and easy to shoot with that it's no big deal to have it on my chest or back for an hour or two while I'm carrying around my 5D Mark III.  

I took this photo with the 100x because my back was against a wall and all I had on my 5D was my 85mm 1.2.  I wanted to go wider and I knew the 100x had a very wide 23mm (but just like 35mm) lens.  I quickly pulled up the 100x, held it up over my head and shot a few.

As you can tell it wasn't exposed perfectly.  To tell you the truth I didn't care and I usually don't with the 100x.  

In post I spent some time customizing the "agfa vista 100" preset out of VSCO's filmpack 05 while cranking up my exposure +1.70

Then I sent the photo over to Alien Skin to add some grain and light tweaking.