How to make stickers from personal photos for fun group chats


Cut Your Own Stickers
Make your own stickers from your own photos.
Image: Watty62/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can make custom stickers from photos on your iPhone and send them in iMessage, Snapchat and WhatsApp. Stickers made from your own pictures are a lot of fun to send in group chats. They’re great for sending highly personal reactions using photos of people or pets that everyone knows. You can even add fun sticker effects.

Making these custom stickers from photos stems from an iOS 16 featured that brought the ability to copy and paste the subject from a picture. Now, in iOS 17, it’s easy to collect your personalized cutouts int a set of digital stickers you can use anywhere. I’ll show you how it all works.

How to make stickers from photos for iMessage, WhatsApp, Snapchat and more

Note: This is a feature of iOS 17. If you bought an iPhone 15, you’ve got it already. Otherwise, head over to Settings > General > Software Update to get it.

Table of contents: How to make stickers from photos on iPhone

  1. Tap and hold on a picture to select the subject
  2. Tap “Add Sticker”
  3. Add a sticker effect if you like
  4. Send your custom photo stickers from iMessage or the emoji keyboard

1. Tap and hold to select the subject

Screenshot shows selection "Add Sticker" to make a custom sticker from a personal photo
It’s easy once you get the hang of it.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

To make photo stickers from any of your images, first open the Photos app on your iPhone. On any picture in your photo library, tap and hold on the subject to select it. Confusingly, this is the same as the gesture to preview a Live Photo, so it might take a few tries to get it right. Once you successfully select a subject, the image’s outline will glow and you’ll see a pop-up menu.

2. Tap “Add Sticker”

From the pop-up, tap Add Sticker. You’ll see your sticker collection appear onscreen for just a moment and the new sticker made from your photo will be added.

3. Add a sticker effect if you like

Adding a Puffy effect to the sticker of a desk phone made from a photo.
Dynamic 3D lighting effects truly push the graphical prowess of Apple silicon to its fullest potential.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Now that you’ve made a sticker from your photo, it’s time to tweak it to make it look as good as possible. To add one of Apple’s built-in sticker effects to any of your custom photo stickers, just tap and hold on a sticker and hit Add Effect. You can give your new sticker one of the following effects:

  • Original is the cut-out image you made from your original picture. (Turn the Live Photo on or off using the button in the corner, if applicable.)
  • Outline gives the image a thick white outline, like you’d see on a printed sticker sheet.
  • Comic simplifies the colors to make the image look more like a comic book (but a fancy one, printed in full color!).
  • Puffy gives your custom photo sticker a plastic highlight effect that shimmers as you turn your phone around in your hands.
  • Shiny produces a vibrant, iridescent rainbow effect. In my opinion, it makes most pictures a little hard to see.

4. Send your custom photo stickers from iMessage or the emoji keyboard

Sending stickers by iMessage
Here’s where you will find your custom photo stickers: The app menu in Messages (left) and the emoji keyboard (right).
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Once you finish tweaking your sticker, you can find it in the Messages app by tapping the + menu and selecting Stickers. Tap on one of your custom photo stickers to send it in a new message, or just drag it out into the conversation to pin it to a message.

In another app like Snapchat, WhatsApp, Notes or Mail, you can scroll all the way to the left of the emoji keyboard to find your custom stickers.

Get more iOS 17 tips

You can read about other new features in iMessage, FaceTime and Phone here or see our master list of 50 new iOS 17 features.

Note: We originally published this post on how to make custom stickers from photos on November 9, 2023. We updated the content.


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