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How To Create Photo Diptychs, Triptychs & Montages

September 21, 2008 by debbie T | Art and GraphicsDigital PhotographyFlickrPhotoshop

Creating a photo diptych, triptych, or montage is very easy using one of your favorite photo editors. This tutorial will be using Photoshop Elements 6 (Mac) but most any graphics/photo editor will do.

Note: a diptych is a fancy way to say a montage (or collage) of two photos, a triptych is three photos. Flickr has several groups for dips and trips and other montages.

For examples of diptychs that I have created, check out some photos on my flickr stream (tagged w/ diptych)

Let’s create a two photo diptych first.

Open two photos in your graphics editor


Open two photos in your favorite photo / graphics editor. Position them side by side in the workspace.

cascade windows If you are having trouble getting your photos to view side-by-side, make sure the “cascade windows” view option is selected. It’s the first little icon over toward the right of your screen. You can also choose Window>Images>Cascade from the menu bar.

What are the photo’s measurements?


View the exact measurements of both photos. In Photoshop Elements, the width and height will be located at the bottom of the photo’s window.


If "inches" are displayed instead of pixels, change the "rulers" setting to "pixels" in preferences
Mac: Photoshop>Preferences>Units & Rulers
Windows: Edit>Preferences

Resize the canvas


Click to select one of the photos on your workspace. I like working with the photo that I chose for the top or left in the diptych.

From the Photoshop Elements menu bar, choose Image>Resize>Canvas Size.


If you have decided to position your photos side by side, add the widths of both photos together. If you want to position your photos one on top of the other, then add both height dimensions together.

(1) In my case, I want the photos to be side by side. Both my photos were 500 pixels wide, so together they equaled 1000 pixels, so my adjusted canvas will be 1000 pixels wide.

(2) IMPORTANT: You must also set the anchor point. This tells the editor where you want to keep the original content on the canvas. In my case, I set the center left anchor point, so the canvas will be added to the right of my original photo.

(3) You can also optionally set the canvas background color. If you would like some additional blank space in between your photos (sort of like a border), set your new width or height accordingly, and choose a complementary background color. If you want both photos to be snug to each other then don’t worry about the background, because it will not be seen once you are finished with your diptych.

Click the OK button, and the canvas will be resized.

Save your file!!!


Before you make any more changes, it’s a good idea to save your file with a NEW file name, so any changes will not overwrite your original file. From the menu, choose File>Save As.

Save as a new photoshop .psd file.

Copy and paste 2nd photo into diptych

Next, click on the second photo to select it.


From the menu, choose Select>All. This will add a selection box around the entire photo.


From the menu, choose Edit>Copy

Before you paste, make sure you click to select the first photo (the one with the enlarged canvas)


From the menu, choose Edit>Paste. Photoshop Elements creates a new layer and pastes the 2nd photo onto the canvas.

Using the pointer tool, move the selection into place at the far end of the canvas. The cool thing about Photoshop Elements is the selection will snap into place. You can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard to position the selection.


Save again, and you are done! Export for web or save as .jpg.

Have fun and experiment. Try creating a triptych (3 photos) or more!

There are 20 comments

  1. Debbie,

    You are so good at explaining things!

    Are you a teacher? If not, you should be!!

    I am bookmarking this and trying it.

    Thank you!!

    xx Rosy

    Comment by Rosy on September 24th, 2008
  2. Sorry but I can’t see what it is you have created here?

    Is it two photos stuck together?

    Am I missing something?

    Comment by JonRor on September 24th, 2008
  3. Thank you for this great tutorial. I’ve just tried it and although it “seems” to have worked and saved, I cannot find the file anywhere. I looked in the folder I saved it to plus did several searches using the file name, .psd extension, etc. and it seems not to have been saved in reality. Do you have suggestions for what I may have done wrong? Thank you.

    Comment by Diane on January 13th, 2009
  4. Diane, did you try searching for the file? I don’t use Windows very often, but isn’t there a “find” search option somewhere?

    Comment by debbie T on January 13th, 2009
  5. Debbie, Good news! I can’t find it with all my photos in Lightroom but when I search in Photoshop it appeared in the “recently edited” drop down menu. I still can’t find it by searching through Lightroom but hopefully as long as I can keep track of it in PS, I’ll be fine. Thanks so much for responding but even more for this really useful tutorial! I just did a link back to your tutorial to tell others about it.


    Comment by Diane on January 13th, 2009
  6. Hi Debbie,
    I don’t know if this is a dumb question but here goes. I am working with highest quqlity jpg files which are 3888 pixels x 2592 pixels. I think I will have to resize them for this, no?

    Comment by Suvarna on January 13th, 2009
  7. Diane, I don’t use Lightroom, but if it works similar to other organizing programs (like Aperture), then you would have to import it into Lightroom for it to find it in that program.

    I don’t think you would be able to find it in Lightroom otherwise, but again, I don’t use that program, so I don’t know for sure.

    Suvarna, not a dumb question. You would probably want to make a duplicate of the original photo and then resize it to a more manageable size.

    BUT if you are planning on printing the finished diptych, then you would want to keep everything full size. But for web use, yes, you can resize it. But again, make a duplicate of originals.

    Hope that helps!

    Comment by debbie T on January 14th, 2009
  8. Hi Debbie,
    Disregard my earlier comment I’ve figured it out. this is a great method and much simpler than the one I was using. Thanks so much for posting this!


    Comment by Suvarna on January 14th, 2009
  9. Thank you so much. I’d been trying to figure out how to do this for so long and I’m so grateful that I found your walkthrough. Thanks again!

    Comment by Alexis on January 23rd, 2009
  10. Hey Alexis, glad it helped!

    Comment by debbie T on January 24th, 2009
  11. Thanks so much for the excellent tutorial. I was able to accomplish a diptych in just a few minutes with your help. And I am not very skillful in PSE yet! Here is a link to it if you are interested.

    Comment by Karla Pitts on March 1st, 2009
  12. thanks! this was awesome!

    Comment by angela on August 29th, 2009
  13. Thank you thank you thank you! Your step by step instructions were oh so simple to follow and I got it done on the first try. These are the most straightforward instructions I’ve come across in a long time. I’ll most definitely be keeping you on a bookmark. Thanks for helping me to make my very first diptych!!

    Comment by Bari Baskin on January 6th, 2010
  14. I am glad the tutorial helped!

    Bari Lynn, your photos are wonderful!

    Comment by debbie T on January 11th, 2010
  15. thank you so, so much for the tutorial! i was finally able to create my first diptych thanks to you.


    – chanelle

    Comment by iamchanelle on January 30th, 2010
  16. Hey Chanelle! I just loved your dip! I agree with your commenters, that is such a cool dress!

    Your foodie blog is awesome too. I love it! Glad the tutorial helped ya!

    Comment by debbie T on January 30th, 2010
  17. This was amazing help! so easy! Thank you! 🙂 🙂

    Comment by Lauren on April 24th, 2010
  18. Thank you Lauren. I am glad you enjoyed it!

    Comment by debbie T on April 24th, 2010
  19. this was so helpful!! thanks so much 🙂

    Comment by Paige on June 29th, 2010
  20. Thank you..ditto all the above!!:)


    Comment by Jo on October 5th, 2010