Some people prefer to emblaze a photograph of their loved one onto the headstone or grave marker. If you choose to include a photograph of a loved one, be aware that photos for headstones fall into one of two categories: ceramic pictures or laser etched portraits. The type of photograph you select for a headstone will depend upon whether you choose a ceramic picture or have a photograph laser etched onto the stone.
Ceramic pictures are made by taking a computer image of a photograph and then baking the image onto a ceramic or porcelain plate. These types of photos can be something personal like a photo of your loved one doing his or hers favorite activity (like fishing, cycling, etc.) or it could just be a posed photograph. Ceramic pictures can also be professional portraits, but with the rise of digital photography many portraits used today are taken by family members or friends.
Laser etched portraits are created by using a laser etching machine to gently “burn” the image onto a stone. These photos can be essentially be any high-quality photograph of a loved one. Laser etching looks best using high quality photos because these types of photos bring out the most detail in the etching. Laser etchings don’t necessarily need to be portraits of the loved one; they can be scenic images (either designed by an artist or computer) or they can be scenic photographs of places your loved one visited frequently or was especially fond of when they were alive.
Please note that neither ceramic pictures nor laser etched portraits destroy the photograph of your loved one.
If you choose to include a photograph on your headstone, choose one that you especially love. Sometimes people will choose to include the last photo taken of the person before they died, while others may use a picture from the person’s youth if they died in old age. Remember that a photograph that is placed on a headstone is there for decades, so it’s best to choose a photo that epitomizes the person.