12 Creative Ideas for “I Love You” Photos

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.

Before Editing:

Sara Alfred – Love is always..

Sara Alfred - heart engraved in wood

After Editing:

Sara Alfred - I Love You Heart in Wood

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.

Original Image by Neal Fowler – Captured your Heart

Neal Fowler - You've Captured My Heart

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.

Jeff Kubina – i Love You

Jeff Kubina - i Love You

Kelly Schott – 9/365

Kelly Schott - 9/365

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.

Heart-shaped Rocks

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.

jordan parks – summer love

jordan parks - summer love

Peter Habbit – Stone Heart

Peter Habbit - Stone Heart

Tuhin alom Photography – love,,,,,

Tuhin alom Photography - red rock

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.

RebeccaVC1 – vintage love

RebeccaVC1 - vintage love

Thomas – Bleeding Hearts

Thomas - Bleeding Hearts

Jean-Jacques MATTEI – Fallen in love

Jean-Jacques MATTEI - Fallen in love

Yann Gar – Tree Heart

Yann Gar - Tree Leaf Heart

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.

ikerpe – 14 de febrero

ikerpe - book pages in heart

Billy Rowlinson – Definition of love

Billy Rowlinson - Definition of love

Ph0n31x – love_is_in_the_air

Ph0n31x - heart book pages

Theo Crazzolara – Let the fantasy play with your heart

Theo Crazzolara - book pages in a 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.

Paul David – The Shadow of Love

Paul David - The Shadow of Love

Francisco Villalobos – <3 (?)
Francisco Villalobos - heart shadow from ring on book

nopantsboy – Love

nopantsboy - Love

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.

Johan Hansson – Christmas Heart

Johan Hansson - Christmas Heart

Oliver Henze – Heart Bokeh 306/365

Oliver Henze - Heart Bokeh 306/365

Gonzalo Malpartida – Descartes

Gonzalo Malpartida - heart bokeh

motiqua – Je t’aime

motiqua - heart bokeh

Latte Art

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.

Rahim Packir Saibo – Glass of Heart

Rahim Packir Saibo - Glass of Heart Latte Art

Is111 – P.S. (I’m Still Not Over You)

Is111 - heart latte art

Ryan Adams (homedust.com) – Coffee cup

Ryan Adams (homedust.com) - Coffee cup latte art

Bex Walton – Gorgeous latte art at Colombia Coffee Roasters, Oxford

Bex Walton - Gorgeous latte art at Colombia Coffee Roasters, Oxford

Heart-shaped Candy

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.

Maira Gall – I try to apply colors like …

Maira Gall - heart sprinkles

Marie Sturges – Candy Heart

Marie Sturges - Candy Heart lollipop

jeannine doran – I Love Snow

jeannine doran - heart lollipops in snow

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.

Garry Knight – St Valentine’s Day Heart

Garry Knight - red heart balloon

half alive – soo zzzz – I take it slow because I have time

half alive - red heart balloon

Mike Bonitz – Love Can Fly

Mike Bonitz - Heart balloons

Toy Figures

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.

JD Hancock – Armored Amour

JD Hancock - stormtrooper in love

pixlilli – Love !!!

pixlilli - Lego Dinosaur Love

pixlilli – Peace and love ….

pixlilli - R2D2 toy

Takashi Hososhima – Family love

Takashi Hososhima - Family love

Urban Art

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.

Brian Rome – metro love

Brian Rome - metro heart graffiti

Ken Lane – The Distillery Historic District Heart Art (Toronto, Ontario)

Ken Lane - The Distillery Historic District Heart Art (Toronto, Ontario)

Steven Kay – heart texture

Steven Kay - chalk heart

Light Painting

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.

Jeremy Raff-Reynolds – Light of Love

Jeremy Raff-Reynolds - Light Painting Love

Nykaule – En choeur

Nykaule - heart light painting

Devin Roberts – Here is a Heart

Devin Roberts - Here is a Heart light painting

Paper Hearts

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.

jordan parks – in a jar

jordan parks - in a jar

Asja Boroš – pink and glitter

Asja Boroš - pink and glitter heart

Camdiluv – love love

Camdiluv  - heart with clothespin

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!