April 9, 2020
Receiving your film scans back from the lab always feels like a surprise and a dose of happiness. What makes film scans even more exciting? To see if your double exposure was a success or a total flop! When we have a little more time during any given shoot, we try to push ourselves to shoot a double exposure. Sometimes we love the result – but more often than not, the result isn’t perfect. Regardless, it is always a fun experiment! Here are some tips for taking a double exposure on a Contax 645.
On the Contax 645, right below the ISO dial, there is a lever/switch. When you’re ready to take your double exposure, press the button “in” the switch, and flip the switch down. When you see the red dot, you’ll know that the film will not advance after you take your next photo. Take the first photo of your double exposure. Be sure to switch this back off before you take your next shot!
When you’re exposing your film, I always underexpose by one stop. For example, if my meter is telling me to shoot at 1/250, I’ll adjust my shutter speed to 1/500 for both photos. That way, when I take two photos on the same negative, it will be exposed properly (1/500 + 1/500 = 2/500 = 1/250 … which is the meter reading).
Double exposures retain the most information in the darkest sections of the frame – so they work particularly well if your couple is wearing darker attire.
To get the silhouette effect, you’ll want the subject to be against a white background – either the sky or a blank, neutral wall.
Be mindful of your composition. Try to remember how you framed the photo so that a flower will be in a “good spot” in the frame rather than an awkward one. Or, if you’re overlaying a mountain range, try to make sure that it doesn’t cut through the subject’s head.
These aren’t easy – but they are fun! Embrace your mistakes and enjoy the result!
Do you have any questions for taking a double exposure on a Contax 645? Send me a message!
We are a husband and wife Bay area wedding photography team. We strive to capture joyful moments. We use film and digital cameras to capture your wedding with a timeless, fine art approach.