Add a Photo to Your Memorial: 3 Portrait Options

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Alecia Milano
Posted by Alecia Milano on June 30, 2020

When it comes to designing a memorial, families have endless personalization options. From lettering and symbols to vases and flag holder, personalized memorials help families add special touches to remember and celebrate a life.

Perhaps one of the most personal options is an image or memorial portrait, which allows current and future generations to visually see and remember their lost loved one. The image can be a portrait of your loved one, a nature scene or anything that is significant to that person and their family.

Like with most memorial design decisions, there are multiple options. Continue reading below, as we explain three common memorial portrait options, and how they differ in costs.


1. Hand Etching

Howard Hand Etched Upright Monument Memorial

Hand etching is a unique and difficult skill that adds incredible character and customization to a memorial. Talented hand etchers can take a scenic picture or multiple images of a person and create a one-of-a-kind image.

For example, you may provide separate photos of family members, and our talented hand etcher creates one cohesive memorial portrait. Not only is hand etching an impressive precision skill, it is a true art that requires creativity that cannot be replicated by a machine.


Milano Monuments is thankful to have an extremely talented hand etcher, Peter Viyuk, who can personalize your photograph. Contact us to meet Peter and discuss a possible hand etching design.


See Peter creating a hand-etched photograph in the video below.


HubSpot Video


2. Laser Etching

Laser Etch - Adams - Flat Lawn Level Memorial

Laser etching, which is somewhat similar to hand etching, is an effective option for families who want an image replicated onto stone. Though it does not offer the same artistic distinction as hand etching, this method enables portraits to be etched on the memorial at a lower cost.

The result can be excellent, as long as the photos provided are high quality. Unfortunately, the machine is only able to etch exactly at the quality that is provided.

When high quality images are provided, laser etchings can create beautiful portraits, logos or other symbols set in stone.


3. Porcelain or Ceramic

An alternative portrait option—and on that is typically more cost-effective compared to either etching option—is a ceramic or porcelain photo. Instead of having a portrait etched onto the stone, a porcelain or ceramic is attached to the memorial.


Collins - Upright Monument - York Township Cemetery - Monument   Porcelain or Ceramic Picture Photo


When considering this option, keep these porcelain memorial photo details in mind:

  • Available in standard sizes 2.25 in. to 10 in., but can go bigger if desired.
  • Material is typically porcelain, but ceramic is also an option.
  • Typical shapes include oval, square, rectangle or heart.
  • White with gray and black is the least expensive, but color is available.
  • Porcelain and ceramic manufactures offer their own warranty in the unlikely event of a damaged memorial.


How Do Hand Etching, Laser Etching, and Porcelain or Ceramic Photo Differ in Costs?

Pricing is often an important factor for families when designing a memorial.

When it comes to etching, laser is less expensive than hand etching. This is because it requires less time and skill than hand etching.

While costs for either will vary depending on size or detail, families should budget the following:

  • Laser etching: An 8-inch, laser-etched portrait starts at $595. Other options, such as a logo or symbol, start at $300.
  • Hand etching: An 8-inch hand etching starts at $995, and price varies depending on the design's size, detail and complexity.

For porcelain or ceramic photos, the cost starts at $265, and increase depending on size, finish and color.

Keep in mind that the price for other image types—such as scenery, pets and other unique designs—will depend on the complexity.


Uncover More Information on Memorial Costs

A memorial or monument is a lasting symbol that honors and celebrates the life of a lost loved one. Download our Memorial Cost Guide to learn how headstone costs are determined and to see what’s possible for your budget.


Related Resources:

Topics: Memorialization

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