Garry Black Photography

Tips and Techniques


The concept of multiple exposures is not new to photographers. Most of us commonly think of two or three images combined on one frame as constituting a multiple, and it does! The technique that I employ in the making of my multiple exposures consists of anywhere between 25 and 80 images on one frame.

My use of multiple exposures was the result of seeking new ways in which I could show movement in my photographs of static subjects. What I got was an impressionistic view of my subject. Had Claude Monet owned a camera he would have loved this technique.


The difficult part of trying to figure out this technique was the technical end of it. I was using 100 ISO (ASA) speed film (Fujichrome 100). Now the basis rule for multiple exposures is: for each multiple exposure that you make, you must increase the film speed by the same number. For example if you are using 100 speed film and want 2 exposures on the same piece of film then you would change the camera film speed rating to 200; 3 exposures - 300 ISO rating; 5 exposures - 500 ISO rating and so on. This works well until you get to 10 exposures at 1000 ISO rating on the camera. After this the pictures start to get underexposed. This is because of reciprocity failure. If you are not familiar with these term, don't despair! You need only let in more light to overcome it, either by overexposing each shot or what I do is I add more exposures to the total number.

I find that this works better as it adds more multiple exposures to the final image, giving it that impressionistic feeling. I have found that between 25 to 35 exposures works quite well at 3200 ISO. I determined later that if the exposure index was set at 6400 ISO while still using 100 ISO film, that anywhere between 45 to 60 multiple exposures would give a properly exposed image. The reason for the discrepancy in the total number of exposures required, is that there is really very little difference in the final photo, except for it being a little lighter or darker. Both are acceptable it just depends what effect you are going after.

The photographer's input into this process, is finding a subject, one with contrasts (colour and tone) works best. Once you have found a subject, take the camera off the tripod, this is one of the rare times that I don't use one. Figure out how many exposures you want to do and set your camera's film speed accordingly. Compose your shot and start shooting. Move your camera small amounts between each exposure.

Which way and how much you move the camera is entirely up to you: move it in a circular motion while making your multiple exposures, or move it up and down, or sideways, or in combinations of all of these. The number of techniques that one can use is only limited by your imagination.