Even though you may not always think about the people behind the lens, photographers help remind us of the beautiful things in life. Over the years, many musicians have written songs about photographs. Here are the top songs about photos of all time.
“Photograph” by Ed Sheeran
Song Year: 2014
Let's start this list with one of the best Ed Sheeran songs, “Photograph.” Listening to this track should give you every reason to believe in the power of pictures.
Ed Sheeran sings about how photographs store some of the beautiful memories we create in life. When you're thinking of someone you love, a picture can bring back the memories you shared. Ed Sheeran adds that with a simple picture, you will never be alone. This song sends a special reminder that pictures represent love, memories, longing, hope, and healing.
“Photograph” by Ringo Starr
Song Year: 1973
This track also sends a special message about the power of photos. Ringo sings about how a picture reminds him of the best moments he shared with someone he loves. He talks about a picture reminding him of the best places they used to go.
He talks about growing old and gray as time goes by. Ringo laments that his heart is broken into pieces, indicating he's singing about losing someone. However, through a picture, all the memories come back to life.
“Picture” by Kid Rock Feat Sheryl Crow
Song Year: 2001
This track tells the story of two lovebirds going through a breakup. While the lovers have broken things off, they both can't accept that they're no longer together. The guy says he's not seen the sun in three days, and he's been fueling up on whiskey and cocaine, indicating he's stressed. He also can't see the picture of the girl she loves while he's with another woman.
The woman also sings her verse, saying she knows everything isn't right. She also puts his picture away; she feels guilty looking at the picture while lying next to another man.
Pictures are pretty powerful as they bring back hundreds of memories we shared with those we once loved.
“Picture to Burn” by Taylor Swift
Song Year: 2006
“Picture to Burn” is yet another song about a couple going through a bad breakup. Most people can relate to the title of this track, “Picture to Burn.” Usually, we tend to burn pictures we don't want to be associated with. We burn the photos to get rid of the memories in our lives.
Taylor Swift sings about striking a match on the wasted time she spent with her boyfriend. She adds that the guy is just another picture to set fire. This means she's unhappy with how things turned out and only thinks about forgetting about the man.
Burning a picture is symbolic here as it means getting rid of the memories Taylor Swift created with her ex-lover.
“Pictures of You” by The Cure
Song Year: 1989
The Cure rock band was formed in 1978, and they also released a track about how pictures are quite powerful. In this song, they sing about a love story painted in pictures.
The lyrics talk about a man living with the pictures of a girl he loved. Looking at the pictures reminds him of the great moments they shared. While her physical presence isn't felt anymore, the pictures she left behind bring life to her memories in the mind of her ex-boyfriend.
“I'll Wait” by Van Halen
Song Year: 1984
This song is about a guy crushing on a woman in a magazine advert. He pictures himself being in a relationship with the woman in the picture. The narrator sings that he's going for her heart.
He also adds that there's a lot the picture means to him. According to the lyrics, magic is felt in how the picture brings the woman to life and people's feelings toward her. But since the guy can't have the woman, he cries that he'll keep waiting until her love comes down.
“Kodachrome” by Paul Simon
Song Year: 1973
Paul Simon sings about his “Kodachrome,” his Nikon camera. Back then, cameras were quite special as they helped us store important memories of people, things, and experiences we treasured.
In this song, Simon begs his mom not to take his camera away. The track is about the value of a camera and how it was used to store the exciting moments we shared with friends and family.
“Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga
Song Year: 2020
Ready for the flashing lights from the paparazzi? Celebrities often have a difficult time dealing with the paparazzi, the professional photographers who usually use pictures to gossip. Photos of superstars doing crazy things and living their best lives normally leak through internet sites. This is the lifestyle this track talks about.
Lady Gaga talks about an obsessive cameraman who would do anything to get a snap of her photos. While he's her biggest fan, he goes after her pictures until he takes the worst photo of her.
“A Picture of Me” by Lorrie Morgan
Song Year: 1991
Love and grief are intertwined in this track as Lorrie Morgan sings about going through life without the person she loves. She reflects on the best memories without the person she loves.
Lorrie talks about picturing heaven with no angles as she compares this to seeing her picture without the person she loves dearly. She also compares the experience with seeing the sky with no blue.
Generally, there's nothing good to smile about as she's all alone in the picture.
“Family Portrait” by Pink
Song Year: 2001
Divorce is never a pleasant experience, especially for kids. Pink sings about a family that is torn apart. She talks about growing up in World War III, hoping that mom and dad can work things out.
While the “Family Portrait” might look like everything is okay, Pink sings, saying that it's not all rosy as people expect. From this song, we can resonate with how people look happy in pictures. However, in reality, most families are sad behind the lovely smiles they put up.
“Centerfold” by The J. Geils Band
Song Year: 1981
This classic rock tells a story of a guy who stumbles on a picture of his high school crush in a magazine. Growing up, the man was shy to approach the beautiful girl in school. He was always thinking about her dress but never got the courage to approach her.
Now years later, he sees her naked picture in a magazine. He's surprised at how things have turned out and hopes he will see her with her clothes on one day. Listening to this track will leave most people reflecting on how things change from childhood to adulthood.
“Photograph” by Def Leppard
Song Year: 1983
Still on the issue of fantasizing about girls in magazines, “Photograph” by Def Leppard also talks about a similar experience. This rock band sings about a man who is madly in love with a certain woman in the magazine. While they have not met in person, the guy says he can't get enough of her photograph.
Models in magazines can leave anyone with all kinds of fantasies. This classic rock centers around an issue that most people have experienced in their lives.
“Take a Picture” by Filter
Song Year: 1999
In “Take a Picture” by Filter, the narrator talks about feeling like a newborn. He sings about the great feeling that boils inside him. He doesn't want to forget about this moment, and that's why he says he wants to take a picture to remember.
We all have those special moments when we feel like it's the best feeling we've had. Taking a picture is the best way to recall such memorable moments. Luckily, advances in technology have also made it possible to record the good times in videos and store them in the cloud.
“Selfie” by The Chainsmokers
Song Year: 2014
If you're into the electronic genre of music, “Selfie” by The Chainsmokers is a good track to add to your playlist. Listening to this track will make you want to tag that crazy friend that always thinks about taking a selfie. When something good happens, you'll hear them say, “Let me take a selfie.”
Well, this song revolves around the party life people are accustomed to. The narrator talks about a girl ready to take a selfie to remember the fun and crazy moments in front of the camera.
“Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” by A Flock Of Seagulls
Song Year: 1983
This song is about a guy who is infatuated with a lady and wishes he had a picture of her to remind him of her beauty. The track is a great choice for hopeless romantics who feel a strong connection with someone but never get to take things to the next level.
In this song, the narrator describes the charming looks of a lady he met. He fantasizes about the girl and only wishes he had a picture to remember her forever.
“Polaroid” by Keith Urban
Song Year: 2020
An old picture of someone you love can bring memories of the great times you once had. In “Polaroid,” Keith Urban sings about how one picture reminds him of a time when he used to fawn over the woman he loved.
The picture tells a story of how the lovers were once strangers. However, he's now happy with her, and they are no longer strangers. Keith sings about how far the two have come, and it's quite evident he treasures the journey they have been through.
This country tune is the perfect choice for partners who fell in love when they were young and are proud to have been there for each other.
“Pictures of Lily” by The Who
Song Year: 1967
This classic is about a boy who fantasizes about a girl called “Lily.” His father gives him a picture of Lily, and the boy sticks the photo on the wall. Now that Lily is always in his bedroom, he no longer feels lonely and sad.
“Pictures of Lily” by The Who resonates with the experience most teenage boys go through. Boys often have fantasies about women they can't be with. They often resort to keeping their pictures somewhere just to admire them.
“Distant Camera” by Neil Young
Song Year: 2000
Are you finding it hard to express your emotions to the person you love? Well, this song is for you. “Distant Camera” by Neil Young is about a man who has feelings for a woman but can't do anything about it. Instead, he opts to write a song of love for her.
If you've felt that you can sing for someone to express your love, you'll want to dedicate this track to those who are dear to you.
“Photograph” by Nickelback
Song Year: 2005
It always feels good to hold on to the good old memories we once had when we were kids. “Photograph” by Nickelback is for anyone who loves recalling the amazing times they had when they were young.
Our old pictures always tell us a different story of the crazy times we once had with friends and family. Nickelback reminds us of such interesting times. Gazing at your old pictures will always take you back to moments you can't forget.
One important message we can get from this track is that it's important to take pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words, as it tells a story of where we have been.
“Heaven” by Warrant
Song Year: 1989
Whether in black or white, a picture is still meaningful. “Heaven” by Warrant also talks about the memories we treasure, as seen in the pictures we keep.
The narrator expresses how memories come rushing in when he sees a picture from his past. He carried a picture of his girlfriend when she was young. Despite what people say, the old, worn-out picture reminds him that he's a hero in the girl's life.
“Picture This” by Blondie
Song Year: 1978
Blondie sings about carrying a picture of a man with her that will help her have more solid memories of the guy. She's in love with the man, and all she asks for is a picture of him. She fantasizes about the good times she will have with the man in her dreams. To keep the memories alive, Blondie sings, saying all she wants is a picture of him.
This song is also a good reminder that a picture of someone you love can mean a lot. While the person you love might not be physically present, a picture can comfort you.
“Pictures” by Lady Antebellum
Song Year: 2019
A picture holds time still, and the worst thing about this is that the memories in photos can be deceptive. Lady Antebellum sings about a time when she was happy. From the smiles in the pictures, one can quickly assume everything is okay. However, Lady Antebellum says they looked happy, but she was hurting inside.
This song is for lovers who broke things off and feel that their past memories weren't as exciting as they looked in pictures.
“Camera” by R.E.M.
Song Year: 1984
This track by R.E.M. was a tribute to one of their photographer friends, Carol Levy. The song is about how people have different perspectives toward life. While it's a sad song, listening to the lyrics will make you understand that we all have unique perspectives about everything that happens around us.
“Click, Click, Click, Click” by Bishop Allen
Song Year: 2007
Bishop Allen shares an interesting story about a guy who escapes the rain only to find himself in a wedding event of some strangers. The lovers request him to take a picture of them with his camera. Interestingly, he also joins the bride's brother and takes a picture together. The trio share happy moments together even without knowing each other's names.
Allen expresses his interest in how things unfold themselves later in life. He wonders how the strange family looks at the pictures he took on their wedding day. The funny thing is that he's still a stranger, but he found himself glued permanently in other people's memories.
“Mama Lost Her Smile” by Lee Ann Womack
Song Year: 2017
The lady in this track opens a box full of old pictures that tell different stories. She sings, saying most people only take pictures of the good times. It's true that we rarely take pictures of sad times.
Lee Ann Womack wonders why we only want to remember the sunshine. She laments that somewhere in between, her mother lost her smile. However, the sad part is that no pictures tell the story.
The story in this track makes a lot of sense. When going down memory lane, we all have nice pictures portraying the best moments in our lives. But we don't take pictures of the gloomy times.
“Photographs” by Rihanna feat Will.i.am
Song Year: 2009
Rihanna and Will.i.am sing about a couple that remembers the good moments they shared. Back then, the girl thought the boy was meant for him. They were madly in love with each other and felt that nothing could separate them. But life happened, and they parted ways. All they have now are photographs of their love story.
It hurts to think of your ex-lover and reflect on the promises you made to each other. When the love was strong, chances are that you thought you were meant for each other. This song evokes bitter-sweet memories of your past love life.
“Photo” by Ryan Cabrera
Song Year: 2005
Ryan Cabrera admits in this track that a picture can indeed say a thousand things. He says a picture can capture lifetime memories, but it can't capture the reality of things.
Ryan has a picture of his ex-lover, and he remembers the time they were together. The picture drives him to remember how good they looked together. He wishes that they could be together one more time.
In any relationship we enter into, there are those good times we wish we could revisit, even if things never worked out. This is the message Ryan sends to his listeners.
“Cameras” by Matt and Kim
Song Year: 2010
This party-vibe song talks about having no time for cameras. We live in a society where everything is always documented. People will go the extra mile to take pictures and videos about everything happening around them.
However, in this track, Matt and Kim sing about living in the moment without waiting for cameras. The deep message this song carries is about living life without depending on technology to help us remember the great times we shared.
“Photographs Can Lie” by Elvis Costello & The Imposters
Song Year: 2018
When looking at the pictures you took with your ex, one can quickly judge that you were in love with each other. Now that love has turned sour, and you probably went separate ways, the same pictures can lie.
“Photographs Can Lie” talks about the reality behind the pictures we carry around. Sometimes the pictures are nothing but memories. They don't tell the truth about how things really are in the present moment.
“In Pictures” by Alabama
Song Year: 1995
“In Pictures” is a piece of sweet country music about a father thinking about how fast his little girl has grown. The narrator shares his experience about how he feels he has missed so much in his daughter's life. He missed her first steps and her first words.
The narrator also opens up that it hurts him to remember his little girl only in pictures. While he did the best he could to be there for her while growing up, the father feels he missed a lot.
“Was It a Dream?” by Thirty Seconds to Mars
Song Year: 2005
Thirty Seconds to Mars sing about a relationship that seemed like a dream. The track is about a guy who has good intentions for the woman she loves. However, they break up, and he wonders whether it is all a dream. The only memories he has of the girl are in pictures.
“Second Chance” by Lucy Rose
Song Year: 2017
Lucy Rose sings about falling in love and feeling alive again. She's happy, and she wants someone to take a picture of her while she's in a great mood. Later, the picture will remind her that she was young, beautiful, and happy.
She sings about second chances, which indicates she might be unhappy with her current life. The track also reminds us that pictures carry good memories, and it's worth clicking on the great times life bestows us.
“Photograph” by Weezer
Song Year: 2001
Weezer, an American rock band formed in 1992, sings about the photograph of love and how everyone longs to be part of the picture. The song can be interpreted to mean people's huge expectations about life.
We all dream of a better life. A life that is full of love and bliss. According to this band, this dream is in the photograph of love.
Top Songs About Photographs, Final Thoughts
Memories are like antiques; they remind us of the good and bad experiences in our past lives. Storing these memories in pictures helps us to remember where we have been. They can also serve as motivation as we look back on the lessons we've learned over time. The songs about photographs featured in this list will help you reflect as you go down memory lane.