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Ed Sheeran 'Photograph': lyrics, meaning, official music video

Ed Sheeran
(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

What do the Ed Sheeran Photograph lyrics mean? This haunting ballad is not only one of the greatest songs about photography ever written, it also uses the power of music to convey the power of pictures – with the titular photograph representing love, longing, memories, healing and hope. 

Ed Sheeran's Photograph lyrics were co-written by the English singer-songwriter in collaboration with Irish musician Johnny McDaid – a member of the band Snow Patrol, who has also written songs with the likes of P!nk. 

Sheeran toured with Snow Patrol in 2012, as a special guest on the band's Fallen Empires Tour. It was during this time, in the Intercontinental Hotel in Kansas City, that Sheeran and McDaid began putting the song together – inspired by the singer's lovesickness being away from his partner. 

During this time Sheeran was romantically involved with Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt. Between guesting with Snow Patrol and conducting his own solo tour, he maintained a long-distance relationship with Nesbitt for almost six months. Thus came the inspiration for the lyrics to Photograph.

Ed Sheeran 'Photograph' lyrics

Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes,
But it's the only thing that I know.
When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes,
It is the only thing makes us feel alive.

We keep this love in a photograph,
We made these memories for ourselves.
Where our eyes are never closing,
Hearts are never broken,
And time's forever frozen, still.

So you can keep me
Inside the pocket of your ripped jeans,
Holding me closer 'til our eyes meet
You won't ever be alone, wait for me to come home.

Loving can heal, loving can mend your soul,
And it's the only thing that I know (know).
I swear it will get easier,
Remember that with every piece of ya,
Hmm, and it's the only thing we take with us when we die.

Hmm, we keep this love in a photograph,
We made these memories for ourselves.
Where our eyes are never closing,
Hearts were never broken,
And time's forever frozen, still.

So you can keep me
Inside the pocket of your ripped jeans,
Holding me closer 'til our eyes meet
You won't ever be alone.

And if you hurt me
That's okay, baby, only words bleed.
Inside these pages, you just hold me
And I won't ever let you go.
Wait for me to come home
Wait for me to come home
Wait for me to come home
Wait for me to come home.

Oh, you can fit me
Inside the necklace you got when you were sixteen,
Next to your heartbeat where I should be
Keep it deep within your soul.

And if you hurt me
Well, that's okay, baby, only words bleed.
Inside these pages, you just hold me
And I won't ever let you go.

When I'm away, I will remember how you kissed me
Under the lamppost back on Sixth Street,
Hearing you whisper through the phone
"Wait for me to come home."

Read more: 

How to photograph live music (opens in new tab)
Famous photographers: (opens in new tab) 30 celebrities who also take pictures
World Photography Day 2022 (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.