Image Layering


Multiple exposures used to be a complex procedure back in the days of film, however with today’s Nikon DSLRs, once you select the number of exposures you’re going to make, the camera automatically layers the images for you.


Multiple -exposure mode is in the camera shooting menu. Depending on the DSLR you have, you can choose anything between 2-10 images to be recorded as a single sequence or a series of images which are overlaid on top of each other. You can also choose the blending mode – whether you want them lighter or darker, or to average the exposures as you shoot them. This method of shooting multiple exposures is done live at the point of capture, therefore creating the multiple exposure once you have taken the set amount of images (these images can be RAW or JPEG).

There is another alternative, called Image Overlay, and it’s especially useful if you decide you want to blend images after taking them. Found in your camera’s Retouch menu, this blends two or more images – the only provisos are that they must be on the same memory card and they must be captured as NEF (RAW). Not only is this quick and easy, it provides better results than you would get from layering shots in an imaging application on your computer.

Go into your Retouch menu, choose Image Overlay and select your first image when prompted. You’re then asked to select your second image, adjust the opacity as desired, and then combine the two images.

You can then preview the end result, giving you the opportunity to further adjust either one or both of the images. When you’ve got the effect you’re after, save it – and you’ve created a new composite image on your memory card, with the originals unchanged.

Quick tips:
  • If you’re not happy with the final result, you can still edit it on your computer.
  • This is a great technique for fireworks. Shoot separate images of them exploding against a dark sky, then merge together for a spectacular ‘finale’-style result, or blend with something different from your memory card, such as a building or famous landmark, also taken at night.