When a loved one passes away, friends and family often gather to share memories and honor that person. Creating a photo memorial to display at the wake or funeral not only reminds guests of the person who has died, but also creates a lasting keepsake for the family. The photo memorial is a tangible reminder of a life well lived, and if the deceased was elderly, it may provide some younger family members with a first glimpse of their relative as a child or young adult. Creating the tribute together as a family is also a good way to come together before the memorial service and share memories of a loved one.

Collect photographs of the deceased. Look through his photo albums, your own personal albums and ask close friends and family of the deceased for photographs. Choose photographs that capture the deceased throughout multiple stages of life, and show his interests, personality and close relationships.

Make copies of the photographs to preserve the originals. Use your home scanner and computer to print copies, or visit a retailer with a photo reproduction machine. Make corrections to the photos if necessary.

Purchase foam core boards to display the photos. Foam core will hold up better than regular poster board on a display easel.

Add the person's name and years of life to the top of the board; print it on a sheet of paper, or use die cut letters or stickers. Include a message as well, if desired, such as "You Will Be Missed" or "A Life Well Lived."

Arrange the photos on the display board. How you display the photos is up to you: you can create a chronological timeline of the deceased’s life; designate a single board for each topic, such as family or hobbies; or arrange the photos in a collage covering all ages and phases.

Mat the photos on cardstock for a finished look. Use photo corners, available in the scrapbooking section of any craft or hobby store, to add definition. Adhere the photos to the board.

Design labels for the photos. The labels can be as simple as a listing of the year and place of the photo, or tell a story of the photo and express a memory of the deceased.

Things Needed

  • ['Photos', 'Memorabilia', 'Scanner', 'Printer', 'Foam Board', 'Card stock', 'Photo corners', 'Glue']


  • If the deceased was well known for something, such as a hobby, incorporate that into the photo memorial. For example, if he was a musician, use sheet music as a backing for the photos or incorporate musical notes into the collage. Copies of newspaper clippings or other memorabilia add interest to the photo memorial.


  • To prevent hurt feelings, give each child and grandchild equal space on the photo memorial, if appropriate.