What are diptychs and why do so many photographers enjoy making diptych photography?
Diptychs are a set of two photos you can use to tell a story and emphasize the contrast. Or you can create one composition using two entirely different images. The word itself comes from ancient Greek.
Think of diptychs as collages.
If two photos aren’t enough, try out triptychs (three photos). Or even polyptychs (over three images). And here are a few ideas to get you started.
Highlight Details and Surroundings by Zooming In and Out
(For the record, you don’t need to own a zoom lens. Take a few steps forward and backward when you take these photos.)
To tell a deeper story about your subject, you can zoom in and out. In the photos above, the tattoo and the model are in focus separately.
This is great for emphasizing certain features, like tattoos. These can say a lot about a person before you focus back on them.
This idea is particularly great for classical, fine art, family, and couple photoshoots. But don’t let it limit you to portrait photography. You can use diptychs for wedding photography or even travel photography.
You can give inanimate objects a voice by putting a spotlight on unique features they might have. For instance, an old house can say a lot about its previous owners. A pet diptych photography shot can focus on an animal and the name tag on its collar. As you take these photos, focus on simplicity.
You can even incorporate double exposures.
Show Off Multiple Double Exposure Skills
To create diptych photography, you need to improve your ability to find complementary subjects.
To create double exposures, you need to be familiar with an editing program. Then you combine two images to create a visually appealing piece.
As you can tell, the skills required for diptychs and double exposures are quite similar. This is why they work well together.
My favorite double exposure technique is combining photos of people and nature.
Some photographers, like Laura Kok, focus exclusively on diptychs for certain photography projects. But be careful when you work on unique diptych photography like the one above.
The beauty of these pieces is that they stand out. Don’t overdo them unless you’re planning on making a set of photos inspired by double exposures alone.
Appreciate Different Parts of a Subject Using Angles
Some of the best diptych photos out there focus on details. Professional diptych photographers know what to look for in any location. It doesn’t matter how simple it is, they can use insignificant elements to their advantage.
If you’re working with limited equipment, props, or lighting, focus on angles. Even the slightest camera movement can make a subject look more flattering.
Different angles can also capture more light, expose you to details you might not have noticed before.
Or they’ll give you more room to experiment with unusual elements like shadows.
Explore Various Human Emotions
As some people say, one picture is worth ten thousand words. Several pictures are even more powerful when it comes to universal human emotions. Using diptychs, you can highlight the differences between certain emotions. You can emphasize the intensity of one feeling. Or you can show off similarities between very different expressions.
This is a great opportunity for portrait photographers to sharpen their communication skills.
If you’re working with a model, you’ll have to read their expressions first. Then find the most appropriate ones for your diptych.
Last modified: February 26, 2021