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Diptychs and Triptychs – 5 Prime Examples

Main Entry: dip·tych
Pronunciation: \?dip-(?)tik\
Etymology: Late Latin diptycha, plural, from Greek, from neuter plural of diptychos folded in two, from di- + ptych? fold
Date: 1622
1 : a 2-leaved hinged tablet folding together to protect writing on its waxed surfaces
2 : a picture or series of pictures (as an altarpiece) painted or carved on two hinged tablets
3 : a work made up of two matching parts


Diptychs and triptychs are a brilliant tool for photographic storytelling. They present two or three images which can be from the same session or they can be polar opposites to show opposition or contrasting ideas. Below are 5 such images and what we can get out of them to help us form our own effective diptychs and triptychs.

1. {Zoom} This beautiful diptych uses zoom to focus on the two main elements of the image and cuts out the space in between.

Diptych photo
Courtesy of Carl Pendle – www.carlpendle.com –

2. {Tell a story} Or a joke for that matter! This clever diptych from Kimberly Chorney was created to illustrate her son’s joke: What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Frosted flakes!

Diptychs and triptychs in photography.
Kimberly Chorney

3. {Lapse} Illustrate a lapse in time or activity. Morning vs. night, old vs. new, dirty vs. clean.

Diptychs and time-lapse.
Courtesy of Kelly West Mars

4. {Succession} This triptych is three frames in succession to show you more than just one nanosecond in time. I find this style very effective for shots of children who move so quickly and change their expressions continuously.

Triptych - succession photos.
Courtesy of Simon Gerzina – www.simongerzina.com –

5. {Oops} experiment with the mistakes. When first going through the images caught in this session with my kids, I could have easily discarded the out of focus shot on the left. But paired with the in-focus on the right, it just seems ‘right’ somehow. Experiment and withhold the urge to hit ‘delete’. You might find the mistakes are actually keepers when paired in a diptych.

Diptychs mistakes.

We would love to see your examples. Did you know you can add images to the comments below? Give it a try!

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Elizabeth Halford
Elizabeth Halford

is a photographer and advertising creative producer in Orlando, FL. She wrote her first article for dPS in 2010. Her most popular one racked up over 100k shares!

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