Around special occasions like anniversaries and Valentine’s Day, there’s a lot of pressure to communicate “I love you” in the right way. Nice gifts, romantic dates, and handwritten notes are all common ways to express love, but even simple gestures can show you care. For example, you can send someone you love a photo with a special message or the phrase, “I love you.”
You can find countless “I love you” photos online, but those don’t have the same meaningfulness as an image you’ve created yourself. Even if you’re an amateur photographer, sending a photo you’ve created will be more unique and meaningful than using a stock photo like a thousand other people. It’ll say you cared enough to put creative thought into your message.
How to Create an “I Love You” Photo
Creating an “I love you” photo is pretty easy. Depending on the photo, it could take just a few minutes to put together, the same amount of time you’d spend looking for the right stock photo online.
However, if you’re a perfectionist or have a challenging subject or technique you’re working with, it might take a bit longer. It all depends on the photo you’re creating. In any case, here are three ways to communicate “I love you” with your photo.
Add the words “I love you” to a photo you’ve taken.
This method is easy. You don’t need expensive photo-editing software to add text to a photo. There are a handful of easy-to-use online programs that work great. For instance, the text in the following image was added using the BeFunky Text Editor. Other good options include AddText and Picfont.
Instead of “I love you,” use a different phrase.
This method takes a bit more thought, since you have to choose the right phrase and match it with the right photo. Whereas “I love you” works well with a variety of images, some phrases (especially puns and idioms) look best with particular photos. This extra effort can be worthwhile, though, as your final image will be truly unique.
Photograph the words “I love you.”
Don’t like photo editing? Then simply find the words “I love you” on something and photograph it. Candy and decorations for Valentine’s Day are a good place to start looking. But if you can’t find “I love you” on anything, you can just write the words yourself.
12 Creative Ideas for “I Love You” Photos
If you’ve chosen to add text during post-processing, then you could technically use any image for your “I love you” photo. Of course, not every image will have the same impact or romantic vibe. Some subjects and compositions work better than others.
Below are some great subjects and creative ideas for “I love you” photos. Whatever subject you choose, remember to think about where the text will go as you compose your photo. Leaving empty space for text will make your post-processing work a lot easier. Simplicity is always a good idea in photography, but especially so when you’re adding text to a picture.
If you live near a rocky beach, there’s a good chance a heart-shaped stone is somewhere on the beach. It’s admittedly not the easiest subject to find, but if you happen upon one, snap a picture! It’ll be perfect for an “I love you” image.
Flowers and Leaves
Flowers are an obvious choice for romantic photos, but heart-shaped leaves can be just as powerful. Either way, nature and love go well together.
Book Pages Folded into a Heart
You don’t need to look far to find this subject. All you need is a book with enough pages to make a lovely heart.
Heart Shadow on a Book
Another way to use a book for a romantic photo is to create a heart-shaped shadow with a ring or filter. It’s a bit tricky – you have to get the lighting and positioning right – but it makes for a stunning photo.
Bokeh + Hearts
The softness of bokeh has a romantic atmosphere already, but it’s subtle. Adding a heart or hearts makes that romance more explicit. To do this, you can either photograph lights in a heart shape or use a bokeh filter with a heart.
Bokeh filters are easy to create yourself. Just check out this tutorial from DIY Photography to make your own heart-shaped bokeh.
If your loved one loves coffee, this subject is a natural choice. All you need is a good barista who can make heart-shaped latte art for you – or perhaps you even know how to do it yourself.
Candy can be a nice subject because it’s colorful and easy to find. Especially around Valentine’s Day, you’ll have no shortage of heart-shaped candy to choose from.
Red Heart-shaped Balloons
Like candy, heart-shaped balloons are easy to find around Valentine’s Day. Red ones are great subjects in particular because they’re eye-catching, especially when shot against a pale background or cloudy sky.
Toys can give your photo a quirky or humorous side, which is nice if you’re afraid of seeming too mushy. At the same time, they can express deep emotions that other subjects can’t quite touch.
For a edgier atmosphere that still expresses love, you can look around your town or city for love-themed urban art. If you can’t find any, you can use chalk to draw your own urban art.
This type of photo takes a bit more effort. You first need to know how to take a long exposure with light painting. Then, you need to get the photo right, moving the light so it creates a nice heart, the word “love,” or another symbol on the image. Though challenging, you’ll get a super cool picture in the end.
Paper hearts are one of the easiest subjects on this list. You can make them yourself and put them anywhere, so you’re certain to get a lovely background and good composition.
Many of the above photos were selected from our inspiring Flickr community. If you’ve got an “I love you” photo worth sharing, add it to the group so we can admire it!