The double exposure pano trick
How to do it on a smartphone without Photoshop
Once upon a time, I used to spend hours in the darkroom, making elaborate double exposures with negatives. Then, in the digital era, I started making them in Photoshop, which took so little time, and could be done in minutes.
Now, anyone can do easily do it in seconds, with any smartphone. And it’s a whole lot of fun. Have you tried it?
Here’s the basics: crank open your camera app on your smartphone, whether that be an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel or whatever, and get ready to create a panorama.
The basics of pano shooting is that you move the camera from one side of the frame to the other, without moving your feet. The intent is to get a big wide shot that belongs in an old western movie, to show the landscape as your eyes see it. But with this trick, you can bring a different meaning to the pano.
For this trick, if you want to create a shot like I have above, have one subject remaining steady, while the other person runs out of the frame once you pan by them. As your camera continues panning, the double exposure subject runs into the other side of the frame, so that you capture them when the camera arrives there. It’s that simple.
I have video examples in the latest #PhotowalksTV episode below. They start at 04:06.
As easy as it is, there are a few things to look out for. Let me explain.
You need a big wide, open space. Otherwise, the subject won’t have time to run into the frame, as shown below. I wasn’t fast enough to get Charlotte for the second shot.
Panos are hard to get without curves, since we’re taking the photo and moving from left to right. So be sure to watch out for that.
Luckily, there’s an app for that. I put the above image into Adobe Lightroom Classic, both on the computer and on mobile, to fix the curves.
Lightroom labels this “Lens Corrections” on desktop and “Geometry” on mobile. The moves are the same however. Use the “distortion” slider on both platforms to adjust the curve. I found the mobile app actually had more options, with the ability to also tweak “vertical” and “horizontal” for a straighter shot. Once done, crop and export!
It’s not perfect, but then, there’s always the darkroom to go back to for the old-fashioned method!