A funeral should be a celebration of your loved one’s life, and to create this feeling, ensure that they surround their guests at their funeral. Gathering photos for their funeral is one way to make their presence felt. Those photos hold stories that show who your loved one was. And when you gather photos beyond your own supply, you end up with many different stories, including some you yourself didn’t even know. When you collect pictures for a funeral, you’re getting a chance to walk down memory lane and invite your family and friends on that journey with you. Here are a few tips for collecting photos and videos for your loved one’s funeral.
How to Gather and Display Pictures for a Funeral
1. Consider creating a Dropbox or Google Drive to keep everything in one place.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed while planning the funeral. And although it might not sound like a lot of stress to collect photos, when you’re dealing with grief, even the small things can become anxiety-inducing. Rather than getting bombarded by emails with photos, send your family and friends one email containing a Dropbox or Google Drive link where they can upload their images and videos all to one place.
2. Dedicate a time and location for photo gathering.
Especially if your loved one was older and didn’t have many digital photos, you will want to go through their old photo albums for images to share at the funeral. Before you convene for the funeral, ask your family and friends to come over to your loved one’s house to go through those albums and maybe collect a few other mementos to bring to the funeral. Gathering photos with family members is a very emotional experience, and seeing your loved one’s happy memories can be painful so soon after their passing. But sharing this time with family and friends can also help you on your journey through the grieving process. All of that emotion you’re experiencing can aid your healing.
3. Decide how you want to use the photos.
Often, pictures decorate a funeral. Alongside flowers, they make a funeral space brighter and livelier. But there are other ways to use photos and even videos at funerals. You could decide to make a memorial slideshow, which can be shown during the ceremony, complete with music and voiceover, or play silently in the background of a memorial celebration. Using a digital slideshow gives you more options as to what type of media you want to use, including videos and voice recordings.
For memorial slideshows, it’s helpful to aim to tell a story and follow some sort of progression. You could opt to have the slideshow start from their earliest baby pictures all the way until their last image, with their life story filling out between. Or you could focus on something important to who they were in life, like displaying a slideshow that shows how much they loved to travel.
Before making a slideshow, check with your funeral home to be sure they have a projector or monitors to display the photos and videos on. Funeral homes often do, but you’ll need to provide one if not. You could also decide to have the slideshow play in a digital frame, but keep in mind that most of these types of frames don’t play audio.
And remember that the most important thing are the photos, videos, and other pieces of content in your slideshow. Even if you’re not the most tech-savvy, you can still put together a meaningful slideshow using relatively simple and free programs like Google Slides.
Talk to your funeral home about what options they have for displaying photos. In addition to asking if they have projectors or monitors for memorial slideshows, ask about their printing services. Many funeral homes will print photos for poster boards or foam core boards, which can be displayed on easels throughout the funeral.
4. Collaborate with your friends and family on photo displays.
A memorial slideshow is just one way to show significant pictures of your loved one. You could also opt to make a collage or even a memorial tree. Get creative with how you display the photos. Maybe a family member passed away who loved to bake and had hundreds of recipes their loved ones enjoyed over the years. Consider printing up a book of their recipes with their pictures throughout the pages. The book adds to the storytelling aspect of sharing photos at a funeral. Guests can peruse the recipes that they’ve come to know and love alongside their loved one’s smiling face. You can even consider making multiple copies to give away after the funeral to close family and friends.
Just like with photo collecting, creating displays for the funeral can get emotional. Call up some of your loved one’s family and friends and ask them for their help. Working together on a meaningful project can help everyone through their grieving process.
No matter how you gather pictures and display them, it’s essential that you don’t feel isolated. In fact, any form of funeral planning is better when you’re working together, as you explore old memories and be together while you grieve. Make collecting and displaying photos into a creative project that celebrates your loved one and all those who remain with you.