Practical Photography (UK) - - Technique Guide -

THE TRIPTYCH HAS ITS roots in Me­dieval art, where it was com­mon to see scenes from the Bi­ble pre­sented as three con­nected paint­ings. The style was pop­u­lar among artists who were try­ing to tell a story in a still pic­ture, as it’s pos­si­ble to spread the nar­ra­tive across the three frames – just as in a mod­ern comic book – that are clearly part of a com­mon theme.

The triptych’s abil­ity to turn the still im­age into a mini movie made it very ap­peal­ing to early pho­tog­ra­phers, work­ing in the days be­fore film and cam­eras were able to cap­ture mov­ing im­ages, and it re­mains a well-used mo­tif among stills pho­tog­ra­phers look­ing to cre­ate a more nar­ra­tive com­po­si­tion. While the triptych, by its na­ture, is al­ways com­posed of three im­ages, there are dif­fer­ent ways of ar­riv­ing at the re­sult.

Crop… or not

One method is to take three sep­a­rate, but con­nected pho­to­graphs, and then lay them out in the triptych style in editing. The other process in­volves tak­ing one shot and then crop­ping parts of the im­age into in­di­vid­ual pho­tos that are then com­bined in the triptych. This is the method we tried out for our triptych selfie, above.

Re­mem­ber, there needs to be a theme run­ning through the triptych, and the cen­tre panel is of­ten used to tie all of the im­ages to­gether and an­chor the nar­ra­tive of the whole thing.

Above With a cam­era on a tri­pod, and us­ing the self-timer, we took this sim­ple selfie as the ba­sis for our triptych edit.

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