Definition: Quadtych

Definition: Quadtych  | Glossary entry


A ferry journey across the River Tamar

Quadtych - A ferry journey across the River Tamar (UK) on the Torpoint Ferry.
1. Waiting for the ferry.
2. On board you can watch the river as you cross.
3. A picture of the ferry's bridge taken from my car.
4. Driving off the ferry in Plymouth.
Total distance traveled... about 400 meters.

Quadtych defined…

A quadtych is a presentation of four pictures. The term is now in common use but not yet defined in most traditional dictionaries. Pronounced “Quad’tik”, it does not appear in the Oxford English Dictionary   External link - opens new tab/page. However, it is a word that is regularly used in photographic circles.


The word means ‘an image containing four pictures’ or ‘a series of four pictures that are bound together in some way’. The pictures that make a quadtych normally have a common story, focus or theme and frequently share attributes and elements. These may be subject, characters, shapes, form, colour and so on. In fact just about any subject or compositional element can tie the pictures into a common group.

The image above tells a simple story of a car ferry crossing of a river in South West England. One theme; four pictures. This is only one way to present a quadtych. There are as many ways to do it as you have ideas.

If the format appeals to you, here are some examples…
Triptych and Quadtych Flickr Group Triptych and Quadtych Flickr Group | External link - opens new tab/page.
Examples on Google images Examples on Google images | External link - opens new tab/page.

A quadtych is made in processing

The quadtych is produced in post processing. This means that you put the pictures into one image after you have taken the four photographs. To make a quadtych…

  • Open a new image space in your favourite image processor
  • Set the size suitable to fit your 4 pictures
  • Paste in your four pictures
  • Arrange into appropriate order
  • Save as a new file
The success is in the framing

A quadtych is a creative way to tell a story or to build an idea in images. The arrangement of the images can be done creatively. For example, you can make a set of images just ‘dropped’ onto the page. Alternatively, it can be set into an orderly story. Sometimes, the composition of the background or framing is as important to the story as the actual images.

When making a quadtych think about what the story or idea is in the images. Find a way to complement it with the framing.

Quadtych :: Related links:

Composite image or picture
Google search: photomozaic  External link - opens new tab/page
Google search: photomontage  External link - opens new tab/page