22 Tips For Creating Tribute Videos Your Families Will Cherish Forever

As a funeral director, you’ve probably creating many tribute videos in your day.

Maybe it’s become a mundane task for you.

Or, maybe you’re just in search of new ways to get creative with your tribute videos. Don’t worry, we got you covered. We’ll show you how to turn average tribute videos into stunning keepsakes that will spark memories, stories and conversations.

But first… if you’re new to Life Tributes or tribute videos in general, run on over here to learn more about it.

Or, if you’re a tribute video veteran, let’s dive right into these 22 tips on how to create an amazing tribute video for your families:


1) Create your own tribute video for a loved one you’ve lost

Until you’ve truly been in the shoes of your families, it can be hard to understand the real value behind what seems like such a small piece of the funeral service. Managing director, Walker Posey, at Posey Funeral Directors never realized how valuable tribute videos were until he lost his grandfather and created a tribute video in his honor. Here’s what he gained from his experience:

“I will never forget the impact [the tribute video] had on me and my family as we sat there and cried together [and] laughed together.  But I looked at my father’s eyes and saw his tears – and through those tears he said ‘Walker this video has had so much impact on us. Think about the value and impact they will have on the families we serve’.”

By taking Walker’s advice, you’ll get a fresh perspective on every tribute video you create, and maybe even spark some new ideas!


2) Get the whole family involved in the process

For many funeral homes, the tribute video is the first step of grieving and healing for the families. They use the tribute video as a way to hear the story of the loved one. Having the families talk about the loved one isn’t only great for you to get insight on what’s meaningful to the family and the loved one. It’s also a wonderful way to get the family to connect around the memories of their loved one.

Take Joe Pray, for example, who uses the process of creating a tribute video to get details on how they can “imagineer” one-of-a-kind personalized services at his funeral home. He uses the tribute video a platform to ask his families great questions, which brings us to our next point…


3) Ask the right questions

Instead of just asking your families for photos they’d like to include in their loved one’s tribute video, ask them questions so you can truly capture the story of that person. Try asking questions like:

  • What was the happiest moment of their life?
  • What are they most proud of?
  • What are the most important lessons they learned in life?
  • What is your favorite memory with them?
  • What were some of their favorite stories or memories?
  • Did they have any favorite photos? What specific photos MUST be incorporated in the tribute video?
  • How would they want to be remembered?
  • What hobbies did the love one have?

Tip: The more questions you ask, the more information you’ll have to work with when creating your tribute video. For more ideas on questions you can ask, checkout this Ultimate Funeral Personalization Checklist.


4) Remember, less is more

Typically, 25-30 photos per video create the best, most powerful presentations. Although Life Tributes can support much more than 30 pictures, an audience is less likely to remember or enjoy any more than that. In other words, a LONGER video doesn’t necessarily mean a BETTER one. So, when you are sitting on a mountain of photos that the family gave you, it might be good to…


5) Consider the major themes in the loved one’s life

After receiving all their photos and asking your client family the right questions, start to put together a story timeline. The structure you create is important because it is the framework for the story you are telling. You can hone in on the important memories and photos by considering the following (it’s always helpful to check in with the families on these major themes, too!):

  • The person’s hobbies, passions, and interests
  • Organizations they belonged to
  • Their unique personality
  • Major relationships (kids, marriage, etc.)
  • Special memories like vacations and weddings


6) Consider going in chronological order to tell the life story

In order to authentically remember the life lived, it helps if you put the pictures the family gives you into chronological order when possible. That way it tells the story of the loved one’s life in a beautiful way, from beginning to end.

Tip: In order to do this, you’ll need to ask the family to put them in chronological order for you. Otherwise, you could spend days doing this on your own!


7) Create captions to add another level of engagement

Photos tell a beautiful story on their own. But add a little context and story to that picture, and soon enough you have a conversation starter or a memory trigger for your families. This is why we incorporate captions into our Life Tribute’s software. By including a simple line of text next to a loved one’s photos, you encourage your families to start remembering unique moments that they may not have thought of otherwise.

For instance, a simple picture of Dad next to a truck becomes “Dad poses next to his first truck – a 1952 Ford F1, that he spent a year restoring with Grandpa Joe.” Suddenly, the moment comes back, and people recall stories of Dad painting the truck, or driving it for the first time. And you help the picture become a memory.

Tip: Try to keep the captions short, so families don’t miss any memories along the way!


8) Use motion effects to create emotion

Motion effects create a powerful sensory impact, but using the same motion effects on every photo can get a little boring. Play around with different effects and speeds to make your tribute video more engaging. Just remember that every motion effect should focus on the loved one – especially when multiple people are in the photo.


9) …Or let the software do it for you

If you’re a Life Tributes user, the software can automatically add “smart motion” to every image. Just right-click on any photo in the timeline and select “Add smart motion to all images.”

The program sorts through all of your photos and searches for faces, helping keep the motion focused on people rather than the physical center of the picture. As you apply this smart feature on the photos, just double click on the first photo and you’ll be able to cycle through all of the pictures. It also allows you to edit motion effects individually as you go through the album.


10) Use blurred backgrounds to enhance your photos

When you’re showcasing the biggest moments of someone’s life through something important like a Life Tribute video, you don’t want it to look like you threw it together in Powerpoint. After all, this is the story of someone’s life – it deserves to be magical, beautiful, stunning and professional.

One easy way that Life Tributes helps funeral professionals add more magic to the photos they are showcasing is by swapping out blank, boring space for personalized backgrounds. For example, if you use a photo in Life Tributes that doesn’t completely fill the screen, you don’t have to settle for a blank black background… you can select an advanced option to add a special blurred effect to the sides of the screen, which helps to add more depth and customization to the photos you are showing.


Taking it to the next level…

Now that you’ve got the basics worked out, if you want to take your tribute video to the next level, here are a few things to try.


11) Add custom music to your memorial videos

Music is one of the most powerful tools in a funeral professional’s arsenal. Not only does it evoke emotion, memories and celebration, but music also helps to express individuality. For instance, when you hear a particular song that means a lot to you, it can instantly transport you back to a specific moment in time, an important event, or make you think of someone special in your life. That’s why music is one of the most important aspects of a Life Tributes video.

Next time you sit down to create a video for your families, ask them about the songs that remind them most of their loved one. What was their favorite song from their youth? Adding these custom songs to their loved one’s memorial video will help to add another layer of personalization and remembrance to the highlights of their life. (Just make sure you have the appropriate license for all custom music you want to include.)

How to do it: Select the ‘Background Music’ button on the Life Tributes ‘My Themes’ screen. From there, choose the third selection: “Use your own music.” Simply click the import button and upload the song you would like to use from your computer.


12) Tap into the power video to evoke emotions

If a photo is worth 1,000 words, just imagine how many stories and memories can come from watching a Life Tribute video filled with the most important photos and home movies that made up a loved one’s life. For instance, the video from their wedding day, walking across the stage at graduation, or teaching their son how to ride his first bicycle.

These are all moments that tell a story when they are in video form… and can help to spark memory sharing when they are watched by friends and family members. So make sure you aren’t leaving these important moments out of your Life Tribute videos.

How to do it: Click on the ‘DVD Video’ tab at the top of the Life Tributes window. Next, click on the ‘Insert Video’ button and select the videos that you want to use from your computer.


13) Don’t be afraid to invoke a little laughter!

The one thing that will stick with your funeral guests the most through this video is the tears they shed, and the laughter they experience. The tears will come naturally, so why not give them a reason to shed some tears of joy, too! Get them chuckling with a couple photos in your tribute video, as long as it’s appropriate for the family, of course!


14) Choose the perfect cover photo

The cover photo is used twice: once on the DVD menu and again on the DVD jacket cover. So make sure you get a feeling from families about which photo they would like to use. Also, pay special attention to its content and how it looks on the screen. Because all cover photos automatically crop into a 1:1 aspect ratio to prevent them from stretching, shrinking or distorting, a cover photo may need additional adjustment, even if it looks great anywhere else.


15) Or go for it and completely customize your DVD cases and labels

Photos, videos and music are not the only things that you can customize with Life Tributes. You can also completely customize and personalize your packaging, too. For example, you can create an entire DVD package – from the label of the disc, to the DVD case, and even the insert that goes inside the DVD case.

How to do it: From the ‘My Themes’ tab, select the fourth button – ‘DVD Menu & Label.’ From this screen you can pick the theme that you would like to use for your DVD, and select ‘Labels Editor’ to add custom fonts, text and more.


You can even add your own custom text, change text styles, and add in important quotes or poems that were meaningful to the loved one.

Simply right click anywhere on the Labels Editor to insert new photos and text, or double click on existing text to change the font style.

Before you’re finished…

Take these last couple of measures before you finish up your video and make sure it’s ready for its audience!

16) Check in with the family

Make sure every family member is happy with  the amount of times they’re featured in the tribute video to avoid any hard feelings. You can do this by encouraging everyone in the family to give you photos they’d like to have of themselves and the loved one. Or, encourage the family to ask their friends and other family members to contribute any photos they have as well.


17) Take control of your copyrights

Use the Copy-Protection feature when burning your DVDs. When families need more copies, help ensure that they’ll come to you instead of burning more themselves.


You’re finished! Now take it one step further…

Now that your tribute video is finished, you can use it to amplify other elements of your funeral service, as well as your funeral home in general! Here are some tips for doing just that.


18) Create a special ritual for the first watch

After learning about the importance of ritual in an interview with a Soul Midwife a few months back, we realized how powerful a ritual around a tribute video could be. Since a tribute video is already such a powerful tool around the grief process for the family, putting a simple ritual into the process can really great a memorable moment for everyone involved.

Some ritual ideas are lighting a candle for the loved one with a photo of them next to it, everyone coming together to say a few words after the video, or even writing a special message on the DVD cover of the original video for the family. Get creative!


18) Use your tribute video in every aspect of the funeral service

Tribute videos are meant to spark conversations, memories and help family and friends come together to reflect on the loved one’s life. With that said, think about using your tribute video as inspiration to the rest of the service.

For example, if you choose a fishing theme for your video, create print materials such as prayer cards and memorial folders that also incorporate that fishing theme. You can use the fishing theme to inspire other personal touches to the service as well!

Tip: It’s incredibly easy to create print materials that match the tribute video you’ve already created. Simply select the tribute video project you created, and in the “Project Options” menu, click on “print materials” and press “next” and it will intelligently create matching print materials.


19) Send a DVD to out-of-town friends and family

Memorial tribute videos can be a really great healing tool for family and friends who are at the funeral and want to honor their loved one. But it can be even more powerful for those who were not able to make the service. Why? Because it allows them to join in on sharing memories and stories, and begin the healing process, even if they were not able to be there in person.

If you want to give your families another level of service, offer to send a few DVDs out to out-of-town people who couldn’t make it to the service. You could include it as a free part of your services, or for a short fee. The family will really appreciate that you’re thinking about their whole realm of support!


20) Upload the tribute video to the social memorial page

When you upload Life Tribute videos to a loved one’s social memorial page (if you’re not sure what a social memorial website is, check out this blog), family and friends from out of town can easily access it on your funeral home’s website.

The tribute video will be a conversation starter on the loved one’s social memorial page, encouraging everyone to share their own memories, stories and reflections. It’s a win-win, as the direct family will get to benefit from hearing a new story from someone who was impacted positively by their loved one, and it acts as an avenue for healing for the out-of-town friend or relative.

How to do it: When you are finished creating your Life Tribute video, simply select the option to publish the video to your website. This will automatically create a ‘Order Your Copy Now’ box that appears on your website (specially on the loved one’s Memorial Page) and all requested video orders will be sent directly to your funeral home.


Tip: Visitors on your website can even purchase a copy of the memorial tribute video themselves, right on your website! That way they can better remember their loved one for years to come (and it acts as a great additional service for your funeral home).


21) Don’t limit your tribute videos to the funeral service

Your Life Tributes videos are your memorial masterpieces, so why not show them off? If the family agrees to let you, play a few of your best tribute videos on a loop so families can see what you can do for them. If your families aren’t OK with you playing their loved one’s tribute video, simply make a “sample” video so potential families can still get an idea of the many creative ways you offer to remember their loved one.


22) Remember, tribute videos aren’t just for funerals

Who ever said you have to use your tribute video software just for funeral services? Not us, that’s for sure. Get creative and use your video software to create videos for birthdays, weddings, community event, graduations, or even anniversaries… the possibilities are endless!


Get a 30-Day Free Trial of Life Tributes!

Ready to start creating tribute videos your families will love? Sign up for our 30-day trial where you can create unlimited tribute videos, funeral webcasts and personalized print materials, free of charge. To get your 30-day free trial, click here or call 800-798-2575, ext. 5.

What other ways has your funeral home gotten creative with tribute videos? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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  3. Jacqueline

    I am looking for the cost of your software.

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  5. jill skinner

    Looking for a video tribute program. I have used Timeless Tributes for 20 years, they have made changes that I am not happy with. Can you give me some information. I need to do something soon. I want to know if I can use any music with your program, do you have backgrounds, effects ?

  6. Rilee Chastain

    Hi Jill!
    Thanks for getting in touch. We have a library of custom music for you to use in your tribute videos, as well as the ability to add any music you’d like. We also have multiple intros, scenic video backgrounds and effects. I’ll share your email address with one of our success coaches who can give you a quick demo 🙂

  7. Mary Jane McArthur

    I am interested in this process. What is the cost and how does it work. Would I be,purchasing the program and then need some one capable to put it together? I am not computer savvy. Also can you add music from “ Spotify”?
    Thanks. Is cost in US funds?

  8. Funeralvid

    This is some great information! We have also written about how to create a remembrance video.