What Size Picture Is Best for a Funeral Service?

Funerals are hard enough, but when we have to plan them for our loved ones, it can be overwhelming. Between the big decisions and smaller details, there are a lot of arrangements to be made before the service can happen. So, let’s talk about deciding on a picture to display. 

The best size picture for a funeral service is a 16×20 inch (40.64×50.8 cm) portrait to go by the casket. However, there are varying sizes for different placements. For example, ideal entrance photos are 8×10 inches (20.32×25.4 cm), while program photos should be 5×7 inches (12.7×17.78 cm).

This article will give you more detail about which specific picture sizes are more suitable at a funeral service and why. It’ll also provide you with some insight into making the perfect picture collage for the funeral and how to choose the best photos of your lost loved one. Keep reading to learn more! 

What Are the Different Ways To Display Pictures at a Funeral?

There are different ways to display a picture at a funeral, including: 

  1. A large portrait near the casket
  2. A smaller, 8×10 photo near the entrance
  3. A nice picture in the program
  4. A picture collage playing repeatedly on a screen

Each of these places requires different size pictures. 

By the Casket

If you’re placing a picture in the front of the funeral home by the casket, you’ll want a larger one that guests can see from across the room. For this, a 16×20 inch (40.64×50.8 cm) would be a perfect fit as it’s large enough to garner attention from guests, but it won’t distract from the body of your loved one. 

Tip: if you’ve chosen a closed-casket funeral this is an especially good option.

These pictures are typically laid on an easel and displayed by the funeral home, but make sure you talk to them first as they may not be able to provide one for you. Luckily, you can purchase your own if necessary or even come up with your own type of stand if pricing is an issue. 

The reason you should display a picture here is to draw the attention of everyone in the room, even as they first enter. This will let everyone know where their loved one is and where their focus should be. 

This picture should also represent your loved ones at a happy time in their lives. Whether they’re smiling or just looking at peace, it’s nice to have this comparison for how they look now. Showing a large picture of the deceased at a happy moment can help loved ones remember the good times and begin to process their grief. 

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Near the Entrance

For some, having a picture near their loved one’s body may not be ideal. Some may believe that a picture so close to the body will distract from it. Instead, they may choose to put it at the entrance. This would be a great way of welcoming people into the funeral home while reminding them that the deceased lived a happy and fulfilled life. 

If you want a picture near the entrance to the funeral home, you should stick with an 8×10 inch (20.32×25.4 cm) photo. You don’t want something that’ll draw attention toward the back of the room during the funeral service, but you do want something that’s large enough to draw the attention of guests as they enter. 

You may want this picture by the guest book where people sign in and pay their respects in writing. Looking at a picture of their loved one may help them write something from the heart. So, keep a picture close to the guestbook for more honest and heartfelt words. 

Shot of religious chapel or funeral home for funeral service

In the Program

A program for a funeral will help those close to the deceased remember them fondly and look back on the day of the funeral service as a celebration of their life. This photo can be a lot smaller and allow their personality to shine. 

For most funeral service programs, you’ll want to consider a 5×7 inch (12.7×17.78 cm) photograph. This will fit nicely on the page without overcrowding it or making the program too big. Because of the size, this doesn’t have to be a professional picture. Rather it can be a picture that you love no matter who took it. 

Projected on a Screen

It’s becoming more and more popular to do a slideshow of pictures at a funeral service that projects on a screen. In this case, most photograph sizes will be fine, but they need to be in digital format to make this work. 

So, you can choose any size photo of your loved one for this method, but make sure they’re good enough quality to be projected. Keep in mind that physical photos will have to transition into digital format. Do this carefully to ensure that no or limited quality is lost. 

If you choose a slideshow for your loved one’s funeral service, then you may be wondering how many pictures are needed. This will depend on how many you can get, how many you like, and the time allotted for the slideshow itself. If you want the slideshow playing as guests enter the funeral home, then you’ll want at least ten minutes’ worth of pictures. 

A good rule to follow for slideshows is that you should have about six or eight pictures for every minute you want the slideshow to be active. This will give enough time for guests to enjoy pictures while moving the slideshow along at a reasonable pace. So, for a ten-minute slideshow, you’ll need about sixty to eighty pictures total. 

How Do You Choose Pictures for a Funeral?

You can choose pictures for a funeral by asking others, showing what makes them happy, making sure they’re recognizable, choosing the right age, and considering a collage of your favorites. 

Choosing the right pictures can be difficult, but let’s go over some rules to guide you along the way. 

Ask Others

One of the best ways to get authentic and fun pictures of your lost loved one is to ask others for some of their favorites. Friends and different family members may have different pictures than you do, as they may have seen that person in a different stage of their life. 

Other people may have pictures of trips or events that you didn’t attend, which may have meant a lot to your loved one. So, don’t be afraid to ask for some of your loved one’s pictures that others may have kept over the years. 

Show What Made Them Happy

We’re rarely happier than when we’re doing something we love. Whether that was spending time with family or going fishing, your loved one had a certain pastime that meant a lot to them. Feel free to show that in their funeral pictures. Sure, these may not be professional quality photos, but it’s worth it to show them at their happiest. 

If your loved one was a musician, include a candid shot of them sitting at the piano or strumming a guitar. Whatever their favorite pastime was, incorporate that into their funeral service with pictures. 

Make Sure They Are Recognizable

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when choosing funeral pictures is choosing a picture that makes them not easily recognized. It may seem like a good idea to show your loved one side by side with their sibling or close friend, but this can be confusing for those in attendance. 

Remember, not everyone in attendance will have known your loved one for their entire lives. So, older pictures or pictures with other people may confuse some as they may not know what your loved one looked like when they were younger. So, some group pictures are fine, but make sure the main pictures chosen only feature your loved one. 

Choose the Right Age

This will vary based on the age that your loved one passed. However, make sure you choose an age where they’re most recognizable to ensure no one gets confused or skips over their obituary without realizing who has passed. 

It has become more common to use photos of the deceased in what’s considered their “peak” during their lives. While it’s great to remember the deceased in every stage of their lives, it can be confusing. However, it’s catching on quickly. 

According to a study done by Ohio State, families now are two times as likely to choose a picture of the deceased when they were significantly younger compared to pictures of the deceased chosen in 1967. While this may be for vanity or simply remembering the deceased while they were young, it can be difficult for others to relate to a picture from too long ago.

Consider a Collage

When it comes to photography at funerals, it’s sometimes best to get a bunch of pictures together to celebrate the happy memories of the deceased. As we discussed above, this works on a projector as a slideshow of fun memories. For this, you want to ensure that you get pictures from each stage of their life. 

Collages don’t all have to be screen projections. In fact, some people choose to have funeral programs that feature a nice collage of pictures rather than just one large picture. Alternatively, you can have a nice collage of printed photos for viewing as guests to the funeral service come in the door. 

It’s especially important when choosing a collage to ask other friends and loved ones for their favorite pictures like we discussed above. This will ensure you have a wide variety of pictures for everyone to enjoy no matter what age they knew the deceased. So, don’t be afraid to ask around and get input from others. 

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How Do You Choose Music for a Funeral Slideshow?

Choose the music for a funeral slideshow by considering the type of mood you want to set, acknowledging the musical interests of the deceased, and considering who’ll be in attendance. 

Choosing the right music for a funeral slideshow can be stressful. You don’t want to send uncomfortably happy vibes while people are in mourning. However, you don’t want the music to make people leave the room in tears either. Balance is vital in music choice. So, let’s go over these considerations for choosing funeral slideshow music in more detail. 


First, you want to consider the type of mood you are trying to set. Music plays a big part in setting a mood. Ask any movie director. You want to make sure that you choose music to convey the right mood. If this is a celebration of life rather than a traditional funeral service, you can consider more upbeat, less somber music. 

For a more traditional funeral service, you may want to stick with instrumental pieces that reflect hope and perseverance. This will keep your guests feeling hopeful that their loved one is in a better place or simply no longer suffering. 

Loved One’s Interests

Sometimes we stress so much about choosing the right music that we forget to consider the deceased’s interests. Your loved one most likely had their own musical interests, and it’s important to consider that during the service. Not every song by every artist will fit in at a funeral service, but remember, there are instrumental versions of just about every song. 

So, consider finding a few of their favorites and playing them over the slideshow to welcome guests. While not every artist may be appropriate for the mood you’re trying to set, remember there are instrumental versions and remixes of many different songs. So, consider some more creative options like these if your loved one preferred a certain artist. 

Consider Your Guests

While it’s vital to use the right music for you and your deceased loved one, try to keep in mind the guests that’ll be attending the service as well. Chances are the guests attending the service will vary in ages, from small children to elderly. So, consider them when choosing the music. 

Make sure you avoid music that may be offensive for children or elderly guests, as this may make the service even more challenging for them or you. There’s an important balance between what your loved one liked and what their family and friends may be able to handle. Things like swearing or loud instruments may be overwhelming for some attendees. 

Final Thoughts

Planning a funeral service can be overwhelming when you’re in mourning. So, we’re here to help with photo sizing recommendations, choosing pictures, and choosing music. 

With our help, you don’t have to worry about making those hard, unfamiliar decisions as we’ve thought it out for you. Always remember when making any funeral service choices to consider what your deceased loved one would have preferred, as this day is for remembering and loving them.


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Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

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