20 Memorial Picture Ideas to Remember a Loved One

Using photos to celebrate a loved one's life is a wonderful thing. Whether using physical photo displays or something else, here are some ideas.

One of the best ways to memorialize a loved one is through a gorgeous photo, painting, or collage.

Whether it’s a physical photo display, a favorite photo of your loved one in digital form, or a traditional slideshow, your options are nearly endless.

In this article, I’ll discuss the best memorial ideas to remember a loved one, which covers everything from accessories and artwork to coasters and canvas prints.

What Are Some Memorial Picture Ideas for Loved Ones?

A tangible display showing your loved one is one of the best ways to bring their presence into your home.

Whether you choose your favorite photography or some older pictures you’ve collected from other family members, you can create some truly beautiful displays that let the light of that special person shine.

Let’s dive into some options for physical photo displays below:

1. Jewelry

Credit: Cottonbro Studio

Memorial necklaces offer a modern way to keep your loved one close to your heart and the heart of others in your family, and even more literally if you wear it as a necklace!

This gives you the option to choose the metal of your preference, like gold, rose gold or silver, and simply select a local jeweler or from hundreds of artists on Etsy to bring your vision to life.

2. Canvas

A classic canvas display is another awesome way to showcase a loved one others will truly appreciate.

The great thing about canvasses is that they’re totally customizable so that you can design it to your liking with black and white or color options, as well as the caption, sizing, and background of your choice.

By customizing the canvas with specific colors and textures, you can make sure the print also accommodates the rest of the décor at your loved one’s house without taking over the space where they choose to hang it.

3. Collages

Credit: Pavel Danilyuk

Collages are wonderful works of art on their own, but even more so when you’ve handpicked your favorite photos of a loved one to display on your wall or a family member or friend’s wall.

This also offers flexibility to highlight different stages of your grandmother.

For example: Show her as a baby or toddler, incorporate fun details like her graduation photo, add a photo of her wedding day, show a snapshot of her holding your mom or dad, and don’t forget a recent photo that shows the person you envision when you think of her.

4. Coasters

Whether you have fancy wood furniture or a family heirloom as your coffee table, you’re accustomed to using coasters under your drinks to prevent damage to your valuables.

So, naturally, customized coasters provide another fantastic gift option for commemorating someone.

You can design a handful showing your loved one at different stages of life as discussed above, or you can just order several of the same photo for you, other family members and friends to enjoy.


If your loved one always has their nose in a book, a bookmark with a loved one’s photo is a unique way to cherish their memory.

Whether you use it to track where you left off in your romance novel or a recently purchased memoir, a bookmark is a handy little way to remember the honor of someone special who has passed away.

6. Religious symbols

Credit: CadesandBirch on Etsy

Whether your loved one practices Judaism, Christianity, Islam or something else, there’s no shortage of religious symbol picture options.

While you may typically see crosses with memorial photos, plenty of makers on Etsy specialize in creating memorials on everything from the Star of David to doghouses and more.

7. Ornaments

If you and the ones you hold dear celebrate Christmas, a personalized Christmas tree ornament is another choice to consider when commemorating your loved one’s memory.

They can be crafted into any shape you want, such as a heart or an angel, and make a great addition to any tree.

8. Picture frame

A classic personalized picture frame is an endearing way to capture the memory of a loved one. You can easily customize it even more with an inside joke, quote or some sentimental song lyrics that perfectly punctuate the lasting memento.

9. T-shirts

While arguably less conventional than standard memorial photo ideas, a personalized t-shirt with a photo of your loved one and a phrase they were always heard saying is a unique and positive way to keep their memory and honor alive.

10. Wind chimes

A wind chime display is another unique option for memorial photos. The photos are typically printed on a round base and dangle along with the chimes so that you can be reminded of their memory with each gust of wind.

What Are Some Memorial Picture Ideas for a Funeral?

11. Traditional slideshows

Credit: Aleksey Marcov

Slideshows provide an excellent way to capture your loved one’s spirit and memory at a funeral.

Regardless of whether it’s playing on a loop in the background or set to begin when everyone is seated, a slideshow with a digital timeline is a great tool for evoking happy memories of a loved one’s life that’ll last forever.

12. Memory boards

Credit: Cottonbro Studio

Similar to a collage, memory boards bring together several photos of your loved one, typically in the shape of a heart.

They include some of the text you’d see on a gravestone, e.g., date of birth and death, title (beloved mother and grandmother), etc.

They can also easily be mounted onto a large easel to enhance the visual appeal and encourage engagement, no matter how many guests attend the funeral service.

13. Paintings

Credit: Aleksandr Slobodianyk

Just like a classic memorial photo, you’d find hanging at home, a painting of your loved one is a sweet way to commemorate someone at a funeral service.

You can enlist the help of a local artist, a painter who specializes in portraits, or a friend who dabbles in painting and wants to pay their respects by creating a professional-looking portrait.

 14. Home videos

Credit: Anthony :)

Another sweet way to show the spirit of a dear person who’s passed away is to play a home video at the funeral service.

Show them being their authentic selves at home or cutting loose on vacation with some dance moves — regardless of the video you show, it’ll spark joy and laughter during an otherwise sad, solemn occasion at a funeral home.

What Should I Use For a Memorial Picture Background?

There are tons of options to consider for the memorial picture background of a special person, but I’ll note a few below:

15. Clouds

Credit: Manjunath B

Clouds are the traditional choice for a memorial picture background since they represent the hope and beauty of a higher power which many find solace in. They’re also associated with images of heaven, so they make sense as a design choice for memory boards.

Because clouds also bring rain, they also represent a kind of cleansing — something many spiritual people believe is vital to the afterlife.

16. Flowers

Credit: Jessica Lewis Creative

If the person who passed away is a woman, flowers offer the gentle, feminine vibe you want. Flowers have been known to symbolize anything from friendship and forgiveness to death and reverence, so they’re a great choice for your memorial picture background.

And if she was a devout gardener whose pride and joy lived among her azaleas and lilies, it’s an even more fitting way to commemorate her personality.

17. Balloons

Credit: Natalie Bond

Balloons usually accompany a reason to celebrate and if you want to redirect the sadness that comes from losing a loved one, balloons are ideal.

A memorial picture background full of balloons will remind your loved ones to celebrate the life and memory of a dear one who’s passed away.

What are some memorial picture collage or board ideas?

Credit: Andrea Piacquadio

18. Various Life Stages

As I discussed earlier in the article, the best memorial picture collage or board will showcase a diverse range of photos that show your deceased loved one at different stages of life.

Choose photos that show their childhood, their young adulthood, their married life, their first child, their first grandchild and more.

You’ll also want to determine the best layout, so let’s dive into that next:

 19. One Large Photo

If you’re taking the memory board route over the college route, a single blown-up image is easy.

Just make sure it’s a recent, flattering shot!

20. One Large Photo Surrounded by Smaller Ones

A large, recent photo of a loved one who’s passed away should be the focal point of your collage or board. This allows you to give special remembrance to that special person in your life who’s no longer with us.

Then you can select several cherished photos showing them at different life stages to surround the larger one.

To get a better visual, check out this example from Funeral Prints.

Celebrating a Loved One’s Life: Final Words

Whether you choose a physical photo display or a digital one, there are tons of options to choose from when it comes to commemorating a loved one’s life.

All you really have to do is determine if jewelry, a painting, photographs or a t-shirt make the most sense to you and then either start designing the idea yourself or choose a professional.

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Shotkit Writer, Product Tester & Instagram Manager

Jeff Collier is an experienced film photographer who enjoys experimenting with modern digital photography equipment, software and apps. He’s also an ex-world champion triathlete and avid cyclist, clocking hundreds of km each week in the beautiful Tweed Valley of northern NSW, Australia.

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