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Photo Montage
"What a great photograph! It will always bring back the fondest of memories..."

Like flipping through your grandmother's scrapbooks. Only with catchier music.

A Photo Montage is usually an ending or credits montage, but it can show up in other odd places. In a photo montage, a series of photographs are shown in some fashion—they may be "flashed" at the screen one-by-one, tacked on a wall, in a photo album—that depict the main characters. However, in order to be a "true" photo montage, they must explicitly be photographs—random still images just won't cut it. Sometimes, the photographs will depict events from the course of the TV show, movie, or video game they come from—bonus points if, re-watching whatever-it-is, you can spot the places where they might've been "taken". Other times, the montage will show events implied to have happened after the ending, in a kind of poor man's "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. When photo montages are used in an opening, they can help establish the relationships between the characters and their history, depending on the people or things depicted.

The appeal of the Photo Montage is its relative ease—putting one together doesn't require a lot of expensive animation or film. Just a few good still images, and one long, panning shot. It can also be used if it's thematically relevant—if a character in a movie, TV show, or game is a photographer, it becomes increasingly likely that a Photo Montage will appear somewhere in the production, to show off his "handiwork." If this is the main character, the chance of encountering this trope approaches 1.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 
  • The ending sequence to Macross has an off-screen character flipping through a photo album. The photo album and the hand turning the page are live-action, but the photos in it are cartoons.
  • The third ending sequence to Gintama is a photo montage of school life in the Class Three, Ginpachi-sensei verse.
  • Later episodes of Full Metal Panic!! do this in the credits, both showing pictures of Kaname as a child and Kaname and Sousuke with their classmates. Some, but not all of the photos are from scenes seen in the show. Kaname's friend is also an amateur photographer, so it's implied at least some of the pictures were taken by her.
  • For the end of one season of Yu-Gi-Oh!, the ending credits are accompanied by a montage that is essentially nothing but photos of the gang changing from one to the other in a slow succession.
  • The final chapter of Fullmetal Alchemist ends with one of these, with Pinako Rockbell's photo wall revealing what happened to the various main characters later on. Brotherhood ends with one as well.
  • Episode 7 of the Hellsing OVA has a sequence of photos of one of the characters who died during the episode, although some are also implied to be the character's memories
  • Used Tear Jerkingly in Code Geass, as Lelouch removes Shirley's memories of him due to her being in both pain and danger from the knowledge they have. It doesn't help that all the while Masquerade is playing. To some, this scene is worse than Shirley's death
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu's daughter Kaede and late wife Tomoe are first introduced by way of a long string of framed photographs in his apartment.
    • Another photo montage appears in the second opening theme, where Kaede note  flips through the pictures on Kotetsu's iPhone; this includes shots of all the heroes, Kaede, Tomoe and Agnes. When she comes across a picture of Barnaby, someone else (most likely Kotetsu) takes the phone away from her.

    Film 
  • Both the opening and closing credits from The Parent Trap features photographs; of the parent's first and second marriages, respectively.
  • The ending credits to the short film "Thumbtanic" follows (via photographs) the adventures of a guy who stole and pawned the old woman's necklace (which was apparently a Memento MacGuffin in Titanic).
  • The opening credits of Sahara use a variant, with the camera zooming in on pictures, newspaper cuttings and the odd memento in Dirk Pitt's Trophy Room. It's a sort of Establishing Character Moment, and full of ShoutOuts to the NUMA Series.
  • The ending credits of Rain Man are the pictures taken by Dustin Hoffman's character through their journey.
  • In Time Bandits, the character Kevin regularly took pictures of things using his camera. The end credits (starting around 3:10 on this YouTube clip) have a Photo Montage of somewhat distorted pictures that could have been taken by Kevin.
  • In the Australian film Look Both Ways, photo montages are used to show the thoughts of Nick (a photographer), just as animation is used to show the thoughts of Meryl (a painter).
  • The end credits for Lethal Weapon 4, showing first the life of the characters after the end of the movie and then, when the credits start mentioning the crew, pictures of said crew.
  • The credits for Amélie feature Nino's carefully compiled photo album, now with pictures of all the film's characters added.
  • Bullshot ends with The Hero and the Damsel in Distress getting married, as shown by a series of wedding photos, with the last photo showing the scowling villain disguised as their chauffeur.
  • The ending credits for The Hangover shows exactly what the group were doing in Vegas they didn't remember.
  • Red Dawn (1984) ends with B&W photographs of the Wolverines, all but two of whom where killed, adding to the 'historical' nature of the final narration (which takes place after the war).
  • The Blind Side has pictures of the real-life Michael Oher and the Tuohy family, including the only known photo of him as a kid.
  • Stuck on You has a filmclip montage of every single member of the cast and crew.
  • The title sequence for Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000) shows a series of photos portraying the various central characters growing up together, mixed in with car racing trophies, car parts, etc.
  • Raise the Titanic! opens with a montage of black and white photographs of the Titanic.

    Live Action TV 
  • This is a favorite of Dom Com series. For example, the opening sequence of Still Standing shows photos on a refrigerator, showing how the characters "grew up" and came to be where they are in the show.
  • All three series of Feasting on Asphalt use photo montages as pre-commercial eyecatches, as did the behind-the-scenes episode of Good Eats.
  • All My Children opens with photos of the cast members, always ending with Susan Lucci.
  • Tour of Duty, in its later seasons, had a group photograph of the characters, looking like a unit photo taken during The Vietnam War.
  • The end credits for the Australian series Embassy had the faces of the cast appearing one by one in a passport.
  • An episode of Cougar Town featured a Binge Montage made up of snapshots of the guys going on a rowdy night out.
  • Cheers opened with a montage of pictures (paintings and photographs) depicting the title bar from decades earlier.
  • The opening credits of the 1990s Britcom As Time Goes By features background video footage of various goings-on in Britain and the U.S. from the 1950s to the 1990s (earlier seasons ended with footage of John Major as PM while latter seasons ended with footage of Tony Blair as PM) while, in the foreground, two individual photo frames featuring photos of a young Jean (from the '50s) and a young Lionel (also from the '50s) change to show how they aged throughout the years.
  • The opening credits of How I Met Your Mother is an in-universe version of this, showing a series of realistically overexposed, crooked, poorly-lit, crudely-posed, yellowing photos of the gang taking pictures of themselves while hanging out in MacLaren's Bar, opening with Lily taking a picture of herself in the bar mirror. Appropriate, as we can assume all the actual photographs in question are still in one of the gang's possession in the year 2030, where the series is framed.
  • JAG and NCIS both have fairly standard end credit sequences with stills from the episode in question.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • The ending credits of Sonic Unleashed. It's because Chip has a camera in the game.
  • The ending credits of Earthbound. There's a photographer who appears throughout the game to take your picture. The more places you find him in, the more photos you'll see. If you look all around, he'll end up chronicling your entire adventure in photographs.
  • The ending of Pokémon Snap uses pictures taken by the player during the course of the game for its end credits Photo Montage. Hey, it's a game about taking pictures of stuff—what did you expect?
  • The end credits of Beyond Good & Evil has a Photo Montage in its credits, but one that strangely doesn't use pictures taken by the player. Instead, it shows the main characters hanging out at the lighthouse and playing with the children.
  • The ending of Super Mario Sunshine. It shows Mario, Peach, Toadsworth and the Toads finally having their vacation on Isle Delfino.
  • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney combines this with the regular Ace Attorney credits at the end.
  • Mega Man Star Force 3 also uses it on the credits. The first photo is particularly endearing.
  • Asellus' "human ending" in SaGa Frontier shows a series of photos of living as she grows up. The photos go backwards starting from being a grandmother, to raising children, to her youth.
  • The very last ending of The Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb has one.
  • Fallout 3's ending. The pictures vary depending on the player's Karma Meter and what sidequests they completed.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The end of Lilo & Stitch has a "pictures on the wall"-style Photo Montage, showing off what all the characters do after the end of the movie. (Whether or not they have any bearing on the TV show depends on the viewer.) There's several Shout Outs in the pictures, including to a famous Norman Rockwell painting.
  • The opening of The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the feature-length Wallace & Gromit movie, features the camera panning over a bunch of framed photos on the wall of the duo over the years.
  • The ending of Up is entirely in scrapbook format. Said scrapbook has actually been a key plot point for most of the movie. The credits are presumably what gets put in it after the end.
  • Bruce Wayne in an episode of Batman Beyond was seen looking through old pictures of his past loves on his bat computer on his birthday. Among the pictures are: Zatanna, Lois Lane, Catwoman, and Barbara Gordon.
  • The Simpsons episode "Holidays of Future Passed" shows 30 years worth of future Christmas card photos.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic shows one of these for the "style" portion of Rainbow Dash's competition to pick a pet in "May the Best Pet Win".
    • "A Canterlot Wedding" has one during the post-wedding celebration.
    • "Just For Sidekicks" opens with a pan over some photos of Peewee the phoenix living with Spike and Twilight Sparkle, ending with Spike returning Peewee to his real parents.

Photographic BackgroundPhotography and IllustrationPhoto Op With The Dog
Opening MonologueMontagesPhoto Booth Montage

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