Photograph Piano Cover
By Jacques Hopkins
My Cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph”
In today’s post I’m going to show you my cover of an Ed Sheeran hit from a couple years back. It’s a ballad that became very popular due to its relatable lyrics and a tune that perfectly conveys the emotion of the song. That’s right, I’ll be taking you through my Photograph piano cover.

So if you want to see how I cover this song, let’s get started!
The Song – A Layered Pop Ballad
Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph” begins with a gentle guitar melody, backed by a more emphatic rhythm guitar. The single vocal comes in without fanfare for the first verse. Singing lyrics that reflect on the difficulties of missing a loved one, Ed’s voice pulls us into an introspective moment.

The song starts to build into a pre-chorus with the help of an added piano track and soulful vocals. In the chorus, Ed breaks into falsetto while the instruments retain their steady but subdued sound.

Moving forward into the second verse and beyond, the song brings in percussion to increase intensity. This is also reflected in the vocals. Layers of instrumentation and more effects are added, building to a final soaring chorus with swirling background vocals and strings.

The outro drops into a near silence, grabbing our attention as the singer shares a final lyric full of longing.

So here’s how I interpret this hit ballad on the piano:
My Photograph Piano Cover
As I begin my Photograph piano cover, I start with fairly basic chords, echoing the plaintive tone of the original.

Next, I begin to add more emphasis, moving up an octave during the chorus. This helps mark the transition and also gives more emotional impact to the chorus’s words. I drop back down and follow the same building pattern when the second verse transitions towards the chorus.

Then moving on to the bridge, which is meant to be quite emotionally powerful, I add in stronger bass notes with my left hand to really emphasize the feeling behind the lyrics. Finally, moving back into the outro, I subdue my playing – maintaining rhythm through to the end.

This ballad has a lot of nice contrast between the last chorus and the outro. I wanted to highlight that contrast in the same way as the original version does. 

So I simply pulled back down to a quieter tone and let the final lyrics have their moment to resonate.
Building Impact Through Technique
The relatively slow pacing for this song makes it a great opportunity to practice adding in more advanced techniques. What do I mean by that? Well, when you are going through a ballad like this, the amount of nuance you add in is really up to you. You can keep things simple as you start, and then work on adding more flourishes as you get more confident.

A slow rhythm doesn’t have to be boring – make it your own! In my 21-day course, I explain many relatively simple ways to add interest to your playing through chord inversions, improv techniques, and more.
Now It’s Your Turn to Play a Photograph Piano Cover
I hope you liked my cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph”. That said, please don’t try to memorize what I’ve done in my video. Instead, I hope you’ll practice using the method I teach so that you can figure out how to play the song on your own.

If you grab a copy of my free 5-day workbook here, you can get started today. And I’d love to hear from you if you give this song a try, so please leave me a comment below!


© Hopkins Media, LLC