20 Songs About Photographs and Photography

Photographs hold a special place in our hearts because they capture a moment in time that we can never get back. They remind us of people, places, and things that we love.

And sometimes, they even tell a story or a memory. Some artists have written beautiful songs about photographs and photography, and here are some of them:

1. “Photograph” by Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr - PhotographRingo Starr – Photograph

Memories contained in a picture speak volumes. The song is a nostalgic look at a past relationship, and how a photograph reminded him of the bittersweet moments they shared.

A song that would be perfect for a montage of old photos, “Photograph” speaks to the power that images have to take us back in time.

2. “Picture to Burn” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift - Picture To BurnTaylor Swift – Picture To Burn

While others feel nostalgic when they see old photos, Taylor Swift has a different reaction. This song is about realizing that dating a guy who lied often isn’t worth it, and is about burning any pictures she has of him.

Swift is a country-pop singer who quickly gained popularity for her unique sound, and her creation of the song “Picture to Burn” is for anyone who’s experienced being betrayed by an ex and understands that their time was wasted. It’s the perfect anthem for moving on and letting go.

3. “Pictures of You” by The Cure

The Cure - Pictures Of YouThe Cure – Pictures Of You

The melancholic feeling we often feel when we see a picture of someone so dear to us and are no longer with them is perfectly captured in this song. 

“Pictures of You” is about the heartbreak of a failed relationship, and how looking at old photos can bring back all of the pain we felt when that person was in our lives. This song is for anyone who’s been through a tough breakup and is trying to move on.

4. “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran - Photograph (Official Music Video)Ed Sheeran – Photograph (Official Music Video)

Love requires sacrifice, struggles, and patience, and this song is a beautiful reminder of that.

“Photograph” is a lovely ballad about facing the realities of love and being reminded that being alone is never as bad as it seems when we’re with the one we love. You just gotta bring a photograph to remind you that problems are small and love is all that matters.

5. “Kodachrome” by Paul Simon

Paul Simon - Kodachrome (Official Audio)Paul Simon – Kodachrome (Official Audio)

The good old days were when we had to physically own a camera to capture the things we liked. “Kodachrome” is a classic song about begging his mother not to take his camera away. The song reflects how the discontinued  Kodachrome film was one of the best ways to capture memories.

6. “A Picture of Me” by Lorrie Morgan

Lorrie Morgan - A Picture of Me (Without You) [Official Video]Lorrie Morgan – A Picture of Me (Without You) [Official Video]

Love and anguish are wrapped up in this song about a woman who is no longer with the person she loves and how that affects her.

A beautiful song with a sad message, “A Picture of Me” is a song for people who are reminiscing about the good memories they had with their departed loved ones.

7. “Family Portrait” by Pink

P!nk - Family Portrait (Official Video)P!nk – Family Portrait (Official Video)

Not every perfect family portrait is what it seems. In this song, Pink describes having parents who are divorced and how that has affected her. 

The song is a candid look at what it’s like to grow up in a broken home, and how important family is despite the struggles.

In an interview, Pink shared that this track was actually a poem she made when her parents separated. This portrays how music can be used as an outlet to deal with difficult emotions.

8. “Photograph” by Def Leppard

Def Leppard - PhotographDef Leppard – Photograph

Falling in love and fantasizing about a woman in a magazine can happen to anyone. This song is about a man who gets extremely attracted to a picture of a woman and wants more than anything to meet her. 

This song is for people who are pulled by the strength of physical attraction and how it can drive us to fantasize about someone we don’t even know.

9. ” Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)” by A Flock Of Seagulls

A Flock Of Seagulls - Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) [Official Video]A Flock Of Seagulls – Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) [Official Video]

This synth song is about meeting someone fleetingly and wanting to keep a picture of them. “Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)” is for anyone who’s ever met someone and felt an instant connection, only to have them disappear from their life as quickly as they came, wishing you’ve kept memorabilia to remember them by. This song is perfect for anyone who’s a hopeless romantic.

10. “Pictures of Lily” by The Who

The Who - Pictures of Lily (1967)The Who – Pictures of Lily (1967)

This song is about a boy being attached to an old picture of a movie star given by his dad that he constantly fantasizes about.

“Pictures of Lily” is for anyone who’s ever been attracted to someone they can’t have because the woman in the picture no longer exists. This song is for teenage boys going through puberty and their fantasies about women.

11. “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga - Paparazzi (Official Music Video)Lady Gaga – Paparazzi (Official Music Video)

Fame comes with a price, and this song is about going to greater heights just to be loved by the press and the person she desires. 

The paparazzi are courting the media and individuals who seek love and attention with a renowned reputation. This tune might also allude to the ambition of both fame and love, which is difficult for a pop singer.

12. “Distant Camera” by Neil Young

Neil Young - Distant CameraNeil Young – Distant Camera

“Distant Camera” is for anyone who finds it difficult to express their love and ends up doing things that are out of character, like writing a song.

This is a sentimental track about expressing love to the people who are dear to them but find it difficult to do so. The lyrics “If life is a photograph fading in the mirror / All I want is a song of love / Song of love to sing for you” express the singer’s desire to show his love through music.

13. “Polaroid” by Keith Urban

Keith Urban - PolaroidKeith Urban – Polaroid

Making memories with the people we love is one of the best things in life, and this song is about capturing those memories with a Polaroid camera.

“Polaroid” is for anyone who loves taking pictures and wishing he’d become more than a polaroid boy to the person that he likes. This song is perfect for anyone who loves capturing precious moments or just loves taking selfies with their friends.

14. “Selfie” by The Chainsmokers

#SELFIE (Official Music Video) - The Chainsmokers#SELFIE (Official Music Video) – The Chainsmokers

This pop music made by an EDM duo known as “The Chainsmokers”  is about the culture of taking pictures of oneself called “selfies” and posting them online. 

The song revolves around a party setting which has lots of people taking selfies and trying to look their best. This track is perfect for anyone who loves socializing and taking pictures of themselves – definitely a revolutionary pop song for the selfie generation.

15. “Photograph” by Nickelback

Nickelback - PhotographNickelback – Photograph

Saying goodbye to the lost times and just remembering how spending time with people in the past used to be so great is what this song is all about.

“Photograph” is for anyone who’s ever felt nostalgic about the good old days and just wants to hold on to those memories. This song is for people who are filled with regret and wish they could go back in time and spend more time with the people they love.

16. “Picture” by Kid Rock (featuring Sheryl Crow)

Kid Rock - Picture feat. Sheryl Crow [Official Music Video]Kid Rock – Picture feat. Sheryl Crow [Official Music Video]

Mourning for lost love is never easy, and this song is about being miserable after a break-up and trying hard not to dwell too much on the past. “Picture” is a song about not being able to move on from their past lovers, dating another but can’t seem to get over their past love. 

Still holding the hopes that one day, they will come back into their life. This song is perfect for anyone who’s ever been through a difficult breakup and just can’t seem to forget about their past lover.

17. “Picture This” by Blondie

Blondie - Picture ThisBlondie – Picture This

This track, with Blondie’s powerful vocals,  is about a woman who wants a photograph of her lover and spends time imagining the man’s presence with her. 

It’s a song about being in love with someone and making their relationship real by obtaining a photo of them. This tune is perfect for anyone who’s hopelessly in love and just can’t seem to get the person out of their mind.

18. “Pictures” by Lady Antebellum

Lady Antebellum - Pictures (Audio)Lady Antebellum – Pictures (Audio)

Pictures hold smiles like it lasts forever, which makes it painful when the moment’s over. “Pictures” is a song about capturing moments that showed happy times, oblivious of the reality that goodbyes were said after the photo was taken. 

The lyrics “Yeah, we sure looked happy in pictures / The camera doesn’t show the way it hurt” show how precious memories can be, and how we can never keep them with us forever.

19. “Camera” by R.E.M.

R.E.M. - CameraR.E.M. – Camera

A metaphorical song about the different ways people see the world and how being a ‘camera’  to someone sparks a vague meaning.  

The lyrics “If I’m to be your camera / Then who will be your face?” is most likely connected to seeing things from a different perspective and how taking pictures of the world around us changes our perception.

This song is ideal for anyone who enjoys photography or art and wants to think about the many ways we perceive things.

20. “Photographs” by Rihanna and Will.i.am

Rihanna - Photographs (feat. Will.I.Am) Lyrics VideoRihanna – Photographs (feat. Will.I.Am) Lyrics Video

Ending this list with an R&B track about having only photographs as the remnants of so-called perfect love. The lyrics “It could have been you and me / Now all I got are these photographs” show regret and unanswered questions about what could have been between them.

The song is for anyone who’s still reminiscing about the one that got away and is trying to move on from the past. Even though this song is about a failed relationship, it’s still a beautiful track that anyone can relate to.


Photographs are amazing keepsakes that help us remember the past, but as this list of songs demonstrates, they can also be bittersweet reminders of what we’ve lost.

Whether it’s a pleasant or painful memory, photographs have the ability to transport us back in time, and there are songs about photographs and photography that everyone can listen to.