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How to Get the Perfect Graduation Photos

You’ve worked hard for this moment and it’s time to celebrate. Your graduation marks the beginning of a completely new phase in your life. But it’s also the end of an era with friendships you’ve likely formed for life.

So it’s no wonder you’ll want to capture this day in style to have some beautiful keepsakes. But don’t hold back. Now is the time to get creative with your photos! A headshot in the cap and gown is a must, of course. 

But why not get fun as well? These graduation photography ideas will add a real splash of personality and colour to your photos. 

Get some candid shots

Graduate Women Candid Shot

Designate someone your personal photographer for the day. They’ll be in charge of capturing all your best moments - without you even knowing it. 

The posed shots are all well and good, but candid photos - when you’re hugging your parents or celebrating with friends - will capture the emotion of the moment in a much more natural way.

Pose in front of your favourite building

Graduate Women On Steps

The spaces where you’ve spent your university years will always hold a special place in your heart. Most universities have at least one beautiful building, plaza, or corridor. 

Pose in front of your favourite statue or an iconic university art piece, stroll down the university’s oldest corridor, or sit on the steps of the library you frequented every day for every semester. These location-based photos will undoubtedly evoke nostalgia in years to come.

Don’t forget to get the crew together

Graduates Throwing Caps In The Air

Of course, you’ll naturally capture a tonne of selfies and portraits on the big day, but be sure to gather your university crew together for a squad shot. After all, they’ve gone through the gruelling times with you and have come out the other side, just as you have. 

A static, posed shot is all well and good but why not have a little fun? Time a shot with everyone jumping, throwing their caps in the air, or trying out one of the other creative ideas below.

An important tip when photographing big groups is to just use one camera at a time or everyone will be looking in different directions.

Show the transformation

Your graduation marks a transformation from university student to professional. Why not capture something to serve as a real reminder of that transformation. 

Just find a young photo of yourself - one from your childhood - to pose with in your full graduation garb. This shows a nice juxtaposition of how far you’ve come. But you can also get a little cheeky by replicating the pose or facial expression you’re pulling in that younger shot.

Use props

Graduate women blowing confetti

Consider a huge banner or a big bunch of brightly coloured balloons. Or you could get letter balloons and gather your closest mates to spell out “Class of” and the year you’re graduating. For a similar effect on a smaller scale, you could use a chalk board or letter board to spell out your graduating year. 

Alternatively, glitter or confetti make great props and add a burst of colour. You can throw handfuls of glitter or confetti in the air or blow them off your open palm, with your photographer ready to capture the moment perfectly. 

Another hot photography tip here: set your camera to continuous shooting mode so that it takes a burst of rapid photos quickly. This will help you capture several images in quick succession so you can pick the best one.

3 simple photography tips to help you capture the best graduation shot

And if you’re not the graduate but the dedicated photographer for the day? These tips will ensure you snap some keepers throughout the day.

Set your camera to portrait mode

The best portraits bring the face into crisp clarity and blur the background. The portrait mode on your smartphone or camera should do the trick. 

If you have a camera that gives you a little more control and you’d rather go pro, use the Aperture Priority setting on your camera and make the aperture as wide as possible.

Avoid the flash

For more flattering photos, avoid the flash and instead use any natural lighting you can find. This could be the light from a lampshade or through a window. More likely, you’ll be taking your photographs outdoors; around sunset is a particular beautiful time to shoot.

Fill the frame

As with portrait photos in general, graduation photos look best when you fill the frame. That means your subject - the graduate - will take up most of the room in the photo. 

Make the most of your special day

Create a graduation day that will be truly memorable! Get some inspiration on your graduation outfit and hairstyle or create an after-party graduation playlist that will evoke all the emotions!

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