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How to Choose an Obituary Picture

If you've ever seen an obituary posted online or in a newspaper, you'll notice it's typically accompanied by a photo of the person who passed away. While it may seem like a small detail, choosing the right obituary photo is actually quite important.

The photo you choose will be one of the first things people see when they learn about your loved one's death, and it will be a lasting image that family and friends will remember and likely continue to see. Here are some tips on how to choose the right obituary photo.

Choose the right size

The first thing to consider is the size of the photo. Obituary photos are usually small, so it's important to choose an image that will be clear and easy to see even when it's reduced in size. A close-up shot of the person's face is usually a good choice.

Choose a clear photo

If the photo you're choosing is a family photo (for example), and your loved one is one of many pictured in the photo, it'll be difficult to pick out who the obituary is for. (Of course, if you have an online obituary on Ever Loved, you can have up to five primary photos, so having some group shots will work fine.)

Choose the right orientation

Obituary photos published in the newspaper are typically portrait orientation instead of landscape, meaning they're taller rather than wider. When publishing an obituary photo on Ever Loved, you can choose either landscape photos or portrait photos -- both of them are viewable and accepted on your memorial website.

Choosing a photo in the right orientation for a photo posted in the newspaper is important since an incorrect orientation may lead to a low quality photo being printed. Check with your newspaper if you have any concerns or questions about the photo you intend to use.

Choose a high-quality photo

When including a photo with an obituary, you need to use a high resolution photo. If you're using a photo with low resolution, it can easily be printed but will come out looking pixelated and lower in quality. If you're confused about what are considered high-resolution obituary pictures and what are low-resolution obituary pictures, here's some guidelines to keep in mind:

  • A high-resolution photo is typically a minimum file size of 800 KB
  • Larger photos are typically preferred as they can be resized as needed by the newspaper
  • Try to send photos in .jpg or .png formats so the newspapers can accept them
  • If you have physical photos you want digitized to be used in the newspaper obituary, you can scan them into your computer to digitize them or ask a family member for help.
  • If you're not sure what size photo to use, ask the publication where the obituary will be printed or posted for guidance.

If you're posting an obituary online, you'll immediately be able to see which photos you upload are low-resolution vs. high-resolution. Low-resolution photos will appear grainy and blurry, an indication that you need to choose higher resolution photos.

Consider a professionally taken photo

If you're using Ever Loved to post the obituary, you have the option to include unlimited photos on the Memories timeline so you're not restricted to only choosing one photo. However, if you are only interested in posting one photo (or are posting a photo in the newspaper), many families try to choose a photo in which their loved one looked their best or the photo was professionally taken. These photos typically include professional photo shoots, business card or business website portraits, professional headshots, or professional photos from a wedding or other important social event. Professionally taken photos are great choices for obituary images because the photos are typically high quality, take lighting and setting into account, and capture your loved one in their best light.

Choose a photo that represents them as a person

While it's important to choose a high quality photo, it's also important that the photo you select captures your loved one as a person. Since the photo will be featured with the obituary, mourners reading the obituary should be able to get a sense of who your loved one was just by looking at the picture.

Some mourners may not have ever met your loved one in person, so the photo you select will give them their first (and possibly only) impression of the deceased. In addition, people who did know your loved one may be scanning the obituary for a particular photo that captures a precious memory they have of the deceased.

Some families choose to use a photo that shows their loved one smiling while others prefer a photo that looks more serious or somber. Consider the personality of your loved one and the message you want to communicate with the photo before making your selection.

It's not recommended to include a photo of your loved one on their deathbed or photos that could be considered graphic to viewers as this can be traumatizing or painful for anyone who is reading the obituary. It’s also generally not how people reading the obituary want to remember the deceased, so try your best to choose a photo from earlier in their life or from better times.

If you're stuck between a few different choices for the obituary photo, consider presenting your choices to family members and asking for their favorite.

Ready to get started? Publish an obituary online with Ever Loved today. You can include an unlimited number of high-resolution photos, share memories and stories, and publish an obituary for free.

Publish an obituary

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Last updated August 18, 2022
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