How to Make a Photo Memorial: Step-By-Step

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Many feel a funeral or memorial service should honor the life of the deceased. When planning a loved one’s service, you may wonder how you can achieve this important goal.

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This doesn’t need to be as difficult a task as you might assume. For example, you can create a photo memorial that depicts your loved one experiencing some of the happiest times of their life. Along with displaying this memorial collage at their funeral, you could also post it online, digitally preserving a loving tribute.

Making a photo memorial can also be a relatively easy process. This guide will offer some examples of different types of photo memorials to give you inspiration. It also provides tips on how to create one and where to display it properly.

What Are Some Different Types of Photo Memorials?

There’s no universal type of photo memorial that’s ideal for everyone. Popular examples include:

Slideshows

A slideshow is an easy way to display numerous photos of a loved one during their funeral. If you choose this option, you may want to ensure the slideshow doesn’t require you to manually transition from one photo to the next.

Photo boards

A piece of posterboard decorated with photos of the deceased is a common decoration at many funerals and memorial services. 

Scrapbooks

A photo memorial doesn’t merely need to consist of pictures of your loved one. It can also feature other items that reflect who they were, such as newspaper articles, postcards from their favorite vacation destinations, and more. If you’d like to include these types of items in a photo memorial, you may prefer to create a scrapbook.

Cards

A photo memorial can feature many pictures of the deceased, but it doesn’t have to. You can also distribute cards featuring a single photo of your loved one that captures their essence during their memorial service instead of putting together a full collage. 

Creative Ideas and Inspiration for a Photo Memorial

You may want your loved one’s photo memorial to have some sort of theme or guiding idea that ensures it serves its purpose. These are options you might consider. We also offer a guide on funeral photo display ideas to help you with the process.

Life story

This is a popular type of photo memorial for easy-to-understand reasons. Arranging the photos in a memorial tribute so that they essentially tell the deceased’s life story is a simple but effective way to capture who they were.

Chapters of life

This is similar to the above type of photo memorial. However, it puts a minor twist on the life story idea. Instead of simply organizing photos so they tell a loved one’s life story chronologically, you can organize photos that depict different “chapters” of their life, such as their marriage, their school years, etc.

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A single trait

It may be difficult to choose which traits and qualities you want to highlight when creating a photo memorial. If this is a challenge for you, another option is to pick a single trait (such as a loved one’s sense of humor) and create a memorial that focuses solely on it.

How to Create a Digital Photo Memorial 

There are numerous ways to create digital photo memorials. The following tips will explain some of the easiest methods that don’t require you to be particularly tech-savvy.

Collect the photos

This is a very basic tip, but it’s one that deserves mentioning because it can be easy to overlook the various ways you may go about collecting photos for your loved one’s memorial tribute. These are some suggestions to consider. You can also use these tips to collect pictures for a physical photo memorial. You’ll simply need to print them out on quality paper.

  • Download their photos from social media. You can also Google how to take a screenshot on your particular device if downloading a photo from social media isn’t an option. For example, you may not be able to download an Instagram photo directly.
  • Ask friends and relatives to send photos via email.
  • Check the websites of any organizations or groups your loved one participated in. For example, the website of their employer might have a section for pictures of employees at company events.

Just remember that your main goal is likely to collect photos that represent who the deceased was and how they embodied their best qualities and values. The more photos you have to choose from, the easier this will be. Check our guide on how to digitize your print photos if you also have non-digital photos you would like to include in a memorial.

Choose an app or service

There are many apps and services you can use to create a digital photo memorial. Your computer or smartphone may even come with an app that lets you create a basic slideshow that automatically transitions from one slide to the next after a few seconds. Check to see if this is the case if you’d rather not spend any extra time or money searching for the right tool.

That said, if you want to add text to the photos you will be displaying, you can use a service like Canva to easily do so. Canva is a web-based graphic design program that many beginners find to be quite easy to use.

Photoshop and other such programs are also options to keep in mind. If you’d prefer that your loved one’s photo memorial be more visually dynamic, you might want to use basic video editing tools as well. Again, these tools may already be available on your device. You can download video editing software for beginners if not.

Add music

This is an optional step. You can add music to your loved one’s digital photo memorial if you have the time and resources to do so. This is another task the funeral home may be able to assist you with.

How to Create a Physical Photo Memorial

Similar to digital photo memorials, creating a physical photo memorial can involve various steps based on which type of memorial you want to create. These tips will help:

Choose a type of photo memorial

Along with display boards, cards, and scrapbooks, other types of physical photo memorials include:

  • Wreaths or bouquets
  • Custom apparel, such as t-shirts or hats
  • Booklets
  • Posters

Creating a photo memorial can be both an enriching and emotionally draining experience. As such, when choosing which type to create, you should pick an option that you know you can create without too much difficulty (or without spending too much money if you decide to hire someone to help you create your photo memorial).

Print or make copies of photos

It’s likely that many of the photos you want to include in your memorial are now only available in digital form. Print them out accordingly. Because consumer printers don’t always generate the most striking images, consider using the equipment at a nearby store that offers printing services for this step.

You may also have physical copies of photos from back before digital photography was popular. Think about making copies of them instead of using the copies you already have if so. You don’t want to risk losing or damaging the only copies you now have.

Choose an arrangement 

Choose how to arrange your photos based on the idea you decided on when considering the types of memorials you could create. For instance, arranging the photos chronologically is the natural choice if you want to tell a loved one’s life story. If you want to highlight different “chapters” of their life, you would arrange the photos in groups that represent those chapters.

Where Can You Post or Display a Photo Memorial?

Where you choose to display a photo memorial will depend at least in part on the type of photo memorial you create. The following are popular options worth keeping in mind:

Social media

Many social media platforms offer easy ways to display photo memorials. On Facebook, you can create an album (and even a separate page) specifically for your loved one’s photo tribute. Your best option on Instagram would be to post a series of multiple photos of the deceased.

You might have to get creative when using other social media platforms. For example, on Twitter, you could post a link to a different photo of your loved one every day for a period of time. 

Online memorial site

An online memorial site is essentially a permanent digital tribute to a lost loved one. It can feature stories friends and relatives have submitted celebrating the life of the deceased, videos of them, and, of course, a photo memorial. The photo memorial may take the form of a basic collection of photos or a slideshow.

You can create an online memorial site for a lost loved one yourself if you have web design skills. However, if you’re not confident in your ability to create a website that does your loved one’s life justice, it’s worth noting that many funeral homes create these websites for their customers. You can also hire a web designer to create the site for you if you can justify the cost of doing so.

Funeral or memorial service

Choosing how to display a photo memorial during a funeral or memorial service should not be too challenging. All you have to do is consider the type of memorial you’ve chosen to create.

For instance, if you created a physical photo memorial, you can display it in the viewing room of the funeral home or in front of the audience during the actual funeral service. If you’ve created a digital photo memorial such as a slideshow, ask the funeral director what types of A/V equipment they offer. Odds are they will be able to help you display it on a screen. Again, you can display it during the viewing or during the funeral service itself.

Photo Memorials: A Simple Way to Celebrate a Life

Creating a photo memorial for a loved one is one of many ways to highlight who they were respectfully. Hopefully, this guide has made the process just a little easier for you.

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