Duplicate yourself in a photograph

How to - Duplicate yourself in a photograph 

Cameras are great fun to play around with and when combined with a good image manipulation programme, there are tonnes of tricks you can employ to add all sorts of effects to your photographs. Here, we'll show you how to shoot and duplicate many images yourself into a picture in about 10 minutes. Here’s a glimpse of what we’re trying to do.

We’re going to do this by clicking a sequence of photos without moving the camera so we’re able to use Photoshop or any image editing application to remove redundant parts of the images to create this illusion.

Step 1. Set up your scene
Choose a location for the sequence of photos to be shot first. It should ideally be a place where none of the objects or background move or change. For this trial, it’s important that all of these photos be shot in quick succession so none of the elements in the scene are very different. Any movement or change means that shadows or lighting conditions may change as well and the effect we want to achieve will be lost. For the sake of our trial, we asked Karan to be our subject. We wanted to replicate him four times.

Step 2. Setup the camera
The placement of the camera and its settings are important. The camera must ideally be set on a tripod or on a stationary, stable surface so it doesn’t move between different shots. A few settings must be tweaked for getting the right photo too. Ideally, set the camera to the Shutter speed priority. In our case, we adjusted the ISO settings to match our lighting conditions and we set the shutter speed of the camera to 1/30. This is, of course, if you’re shooting indoors. With a better lit setup or outdoors, you can further reduce the shutter speed. We’re being particular about the settings so that each image can look as identical as possible.

Step 3. Click the photos
With the camera in place, click the first photo without any subject in the scene. The next step is to ask the subject to stand in place and pose. Of course, remember that there are going to be a couple of shots of the subject, so try and avoid overlapping as much as possible. Once done, ask the subject to move to another place and click another photo. Do it some 3-4 times with the subject or object in different places, avoiding overlap as much as possible. Let your creativity go wild here and once you try this out, you’ll discover a tonne of things you can experiment with.

Step 4. Open the images in Photoshop (or any other image editor)

Opening all the images in an image editor

The next step is to copy the images on the PC and open them in Photoshop. You can also use any other image editor that supports layers and transparency support.

Loading layers, one after another

Now, open the first image that you shot (without any subjects in the view) and add the other photos you shot with other subjects in place as separate layers. 

Step 5. Clear out the layers, one at a time

Using a soft, round eraser brush to clear layers

The next step is to use the eraser tool and clear out the background one layer after another, keeping only the subject visible. Do the same for other layers, taking care not to deform or erase parts of the subject in the image.

Erasing the background from the layer

When you’re done with this, you’ll find that you’ve achieved the desired look and effect. Of course, you’re free to use effects and play around with the look and feel of the final product.  

The result, at last!

This is what we came up with. Once you've gotten used to this, you can try experimenting with more objects. With practice, it won't take more than a few minutes to come up with such creations. Don't forget to share your creative experiments with this trick on our forum.