Six Essential Tips to Help You Choose Photos that Celebrate Your Loved One’s Life

By: VGFS
Thursday, April 15, 2021

As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

That’s why the images you select for a loved one’s obituary, funeral program, or memorial service are just as important as the words you use to describe their amazing life.

Below are six pointers to guide you as you go about choosing those significant photos to celebrate your cherished loved one.

Gather meaningful photos.

Most of us will build several meaningful relationships throughout our lifetimes. We might be someone’s mother or child; aunt or uncle; niece or nephew. We each have a unique relationship with those we have cared for and who have cared for us. To capture a more complete picture of your loved one’s various roles, reach out to friends and family members who knew them well. Ask each person to search their phones and photo albums for images of your loved one. See if they can provide copies of their favorite photos for you to use in the funeral or memorial service. And of course, be sure to collect and share your own images of the departed. 

Consider context.

Typically, the photos that are used for obituaries or perched next to the casket at the funeral home are formal. The picture might be professionally-taken or posed. When deciding on an obituary photo, try to ensure that your loved one’s face is shown clearly and that they are the only person in the photo. This will help avoid confusion as to who the obituary is about. Context is also important for photos displayed in an image board or photo collage. Here, you can often go more casual and use candid shots featuring multiple people. Of course, there are no set rules. Use your best judgment or consult with your funeral director, a trusted friend, or family member.

Choose past or present.

Obituaries and funeral bulletins offer limited space. You’ll often only get to choose one main image, so you need to make sure it counts. If your loved one lived a long life, you may need to decide whether to go with a recent image or one that is from their mid-life or youth. Think it over and consider your options. Do you have a good, high-quality recent photo of them that they were proud of or preferred? Some families opt for a photo from the departed’s military service days, wedding, or other life highlights. It all comes down to personal preference. How would your loved one want to be remembered? How do you want to remember your loved one? Let the answers to these questions guide your selection.

Get creative.

While an obituary photo might provide a good snapshot of who your loved one was, it can’t deliver their entire life story or portray all of their special qualities. That’s why photo displays and memory boards can be good additions to your funeral or memorial service. Memory boards allow you to get creative when honoring your loved one’s life and legacy, and can be kept or displayed in your home after the funeral or memorial service is over. Memory boards can be made up solely of images, but don’t feel that you have to limit yourself. Ask your friends and family members to contribute small items that remind them of your loved one to incorporate. You could also ask them to write down a short poem, Bible verse, or favorite quote. Memory boards can include just about anything—group photos, black and white images alongside color images, letters, dried flowers, and the like. 

Use photos as decoration.

If you are holding a memorial service and have many images of the departed to choose from, consider decorating tables or other surfaces with framed photos. You can group the pictures by theme or life phase: childhood, high school, military service, college days, parenthood, grandparenthood, etc. You can also ask guests to bring a copy of a favorite photo and add it to a photo board. If you only have a few photos, consider having them printed on t-shirts or postcards as keepsakes for your guests. The presence of your loved one will be felt by those in attendance and you will walk away from the event with new stories and cherished memories.

Let your heart guide you.

Sharing photographs of the departed is a meaningful, visual way to depict how they were in life. When making your selections, consider your loved one and the story you would like to tell. Were they a loving grandparent? Loyal friend? Devoted spouse? Use images that reinforce how the departed would want to be remembered.

We hope these suggestions assist you in selecting photos that celebrate your loved one’s life. If you need additional suggestions, our compassionate team members are available to help. Please feel free to reach out to us any time. We would be honored to speak with you.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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