"Photograph" Piano Tutorial

Learn this Ed Sheeran romantic ballad

Lisa Witt - Nov 12, 2019

<< Download the lead sheet here >>


This beautiful romantic song was written by Ed Sheeran and talks about the challenges of long-distance relationships.


It was inspired by Ed being away from his own girlfriend at the time while he was touring.


It’s a beautiful song to play on the piano. The most difficult thing is that it’s in the key of E, so we have 4 sharps! But that’s ok!!


Because this is a pop song remember. So we also only have 4 chords. The chords you’ll need are E major, C# minor, B major and A major.


Let's talk about the hardest part of the song...


The intro riff


This riff is difficult because it starts on the off-beat, and includes a few black keys. But there is only one riff, and it simply repeats over the different chord progressions.


I find it really helps to count the 8th notes out loud. So each measure will sound like: One - and - Two - and - Three - and Four - and.


This might take a bit of practice, and I would encourage you the spend the time getting it right because honestly, the rest of the song is super simple compared to this.


Especially ...


The chord progressions


I have talked so many times about common chord progressions.  Two of the most common chord progressions are used in this song. One for the verse, and the other for the chorus.


The verse follows the 1-6-5-4 progression, and the chorus uses the 1-5-6-4 (which is the most common progression in pop).


The only change is the pre-chorus, but that still uses the same 4 chords as the rest of the song.


This is a pop song, through and through.


Practice tips


There are ways you can make this song easier or harder, depending on your skill level. If you just want to sing along it helps to keep the chording and rhythm simple.


If you want to sound more complicated you can explore different chord inversions and even play broken chords in your right hand.


So have some fun!




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Hi, I'm Lisa Witt

Lisa has taught in a variety of settings from beginners just getting started to recording artists preparing their songs for the road. While her background is classical, she loves helping students play the music they love by ear and is excited to be a part of YOUR journey.