5 Tips for Selecting the Right Photo for a Funeral Program

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Pictures capture meaningful moments in time. Selecting the right photo for a funeral program of a loved one is an honor and a challenge. We have compiled some thoughtful tips to assist you with this process.

Talk to Friends and Family

Knowing where to begin after the loss of a loved one is tough, so you may find it helpful to receive some input from friends and family. You are not alone, and people closest to you will want to do what they can to offer support.

People’s opinions on the funerary program photo may differ. However, try your best to be flexible and hear everyone. Talking through this decision can potentially lead to exchanging stories about your lost loved one, as photos are an amazing and concrete way to keep a memory.

With a little patience, you will gather a consensus, which should give you a starting point. Even if you have yet to choose a photo, you will probably get some wonderful contenders.

Reflect on Your Lost Loved One

Allow your loved one to serve as a guide. After all, you are one of the people who knew them best. Considering how they want to preserve their memory is important in honoring them to the fullest. The photo you choose should be an authentic representation.

Think of their personality when reflecting on how you knew them in life. It is also helpful to consider their happiest moments. This reflection can give you more insight when narrowing down the photos you will include in the funeral program.

Ask Yourself Important Questions

You can ask relevant questions to choose the photo you like best. It may be helpful to write down notes as you think this through. Here are some questions that may assist you with this process, along with some thoughtful answers.

Should I Choose a Recent Photo or One From the Past?

This comes down to personal preference. If your loved one felt the happiest in their youth, going this route can reflect how they want to be remembered best.

If your loved one embraced all chapters of life, consider a recent photo. Friends they met later in life only know the dearly departed in this way, so a current picture will likely be more recognizable to the mourners.

If your loved one had an illness towards the end of their life, picking a photo while they were in good health is a great way to remember them from better days.

What Kind of Photos Are Best?

One tip for selecting the right photo for a funeral program is to choose a moment of great significance to your loved one. These can include:

  • Their wedding day
  • A milestone birthday
  • Their favorite vacation
  • Your loved one engaging in a meaningful hobby
  • The deceased celebrating an accomplishment

It’s best if your loved one is front and center in these photos. While you could choose a group photo, it would require some editing to emphasize the dearly departed.

Should I Choose a Professional Portrait?

It may be helpful to choose a photo of your loved one taken professionally by a photographer. Studio portraits are often very flattering and feature your loved one looking their best. They are also high-quality, which makes them a good fit for a funeral memorial program. If your loved one enjoyed frequently dressing their best, this is a wonderful option.

Customize the Funeral Program

After deciding what photo to choose for the program, you can add personal touches to the pamphlet. Doing so can create a meaningful l keepsake that goes beyond just a leaflet. Like the photo, you can make the funeral program reflect your loved one’s personality.

Let’s look at the content people generally include in funeral pamphlets.

Cover Photo

The chosen image of your loved one is highlighted on the front cover. When you customize this, you can also include a background that highlights who they are. For example, if the dearly departed enjoyed gardening, you may want to choose floral accents.

Important Details

In addition to the cover photo, fuenral programs often contain the following information on the front page:

  • Name of your loved one
  • Birthday and the day they passed
  • The date of the service
  • The time of the wake
  • The time of the funeral
  • The address of where the service takes place


The second page of the funeral program features the obituary. This section should tell the story of your loved one. You may find it tricky to know where to begin, as it’s difficult to encapsulate all somebody was with words.

If you feel stuck, you may want to consider the following guidelines while writing the obituary:

  • How your loved one’s life began
    • Include their birthday, where they were born, and information about their family
  • Talk about how your loved one grew up
    • Highlight any accomplishments and education
  • Include information about your loved one’s career
    • Alternatively, you can mention hobbies they loved
  • If the dearly departed had a significant other, tell the story of how they met
    • Include details of the wedding and list any of their children
  • Discuss how the deceased made the world a better place
    • You can mention stories of what they loved doing in life
  • Finish by acknowledging their passing and who survived them

Funeral Service Events

After the obituary, a list of the events to take place at the funeral typically follows. This schedule gives mourners an idea of what to expect during the service.

Funeral Poems and Prayers

Other sections to include in the funeral program are poems and prayers. Poetry allows you to let everyone know how special your loved one was to you. For people with strong faiths, the prayers offer mourners solace during such a difficult time.

Be Kind to Yourself

Our final and most important tip is to be kind to yourself. Remember, you are experiencing the loss of your loved one. There are no right and wrong ways of grieving. Treat yourself with plenty of grace, and comfort yourself like you would comfort a friend.

In moments when it feels exceptionally difficult, consider how the dearly departed would not want you to beat yourself up over choosing the correct funeral program photo. Ultimately, the best way to honor them is to continue living and finding those moments of happiness.

By putting your heart into the process of choosing a picture, you are showing how much you care. Remember, the photo only captures one moment in time, and you’ve likely had many interactions with your loved one. We advise cherishing the good times when navigating this difficult period.

5 Tips for Selecting the Right Photo for a Funeral Program

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