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Picture Perfect: 7 Graduation Photoshoot Tips for High School College, and Graduate Students

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

Congratulations, Class of 2023! As you prepare to embark on the next chapter of your life, it's time to capture your graduation with a photoshoot that truly reflects your achievements and personality. Whether you're planning to share the photos with loved ones, frame them in your home, or post them on social media, a well-planned and executed graduation photoshoot can be a cherished keepsake that captures the essence of your special day.

To help you make the most of your graduation photoshoot, I've compiled 7 essential tips for students to keep in mind, especially college students. From choosing the perfect location to posing with confidence, these tips will help you create stunning photos that you're proud of. So, put on your cap and gown, gather your props, and let's dive into these graduation photoshoot tips that will ensure your pictures are picture-perfect!

1. Plan ahead: Schedule your graduation photoshoot well in advance to ensure you have enough time to prepare, including booking a photographer, choosing a location, and coordinating outfits. This will also help you avoid last-minute stress and ensure that you get the date and time that works best for you.

I knew that the picture below would pop because I planned that! I scoped out this location in front of Nassau Haul, one of the most notable buildings on Princeton's on campus, and decided to leverage the vivid greenery on the building to my advantage.

Instantly, I knew that the greenery would complement my bright orange dress beautifully. I allowed the setting of my photos to inform my outfit choices to ensure that the two meshed well together. Little details like complementary colors, leading lines, and framing yourself with other objects can really take your graduation pictures to the next level!

2. Choose a meaningful location: Consider selecting a location that holds special significance to you, such as your college campus, a favorite spot in the city, or a location that has sentimental value. This will add a personal touch to your photos and make them more meaningful.

3. Dress appropriately: Dress in attire that makes you feel confident and comfortable. Your attire should represent your style and personality. Avoid wearing clothing with large logos or distracting patterns that may take away from the focus on you, unless this loudness is intentional.

Also, get your clothes tailored if possible-especially if you're wearing a suit. A good tailor can take your suit from a 6 to a 9.5 (it's true, Keith Lee said it himself.) Tailors can make your dresses, suits, blouses etc. look so much sharper and crafted specifically for your body. Ensuring that your clothes fit properly will allow you to feel more bold and confident in front of the camera, since you don't have to waste mental energy worrying about whether others can notice if you're clothes fit right. You may even save some $$$ since you wont have to ask your photographer to do strenuous editing in post-production.

4. Get fly!: When you look good, you feel good! Consider getting your hair and makeup professionally done for your graduation photoshoot to look your best. This also extends to getting a haircut, re-twist, or even a facial. If you're able to do your hair and/or makeup by yourself, definitely go ahead! But if you'd rather worry about one less thing on the photoshoot day (which can be stressful in and of itself) it's worth paying a little extra money to take this responsibility off of your self.

5. Bring meaningful props: Consider bringing props that are meaningful to your college experience, such as your cap and gown, diploma, a class ring, or any other items that hold sentimental value. For instance, I also took pictures with my senior thesis! I wanted to have a moment to celebrate all 148 pages of my diligent research. Props like this can add a personal touch to your photos and make them even more memorable.

6. Know your go-to poses: Relax and be yourself during your photoshoot. Avoid stiff poses and forced smiles. Instead, focus on natural and candid poses that reflect your personality and capture genuine emotions. Don't be afraid to express yourself and have fun during the photoshoot.

7. Capture candid moments: In addition to the traditional graduation poses, you want to ensure that you're capturing candid moments that reflect your college experience. Designate a friend or family member with the task of capturing cute behind-the-scenes footage for you as the shoot goes on. This will allow you to have some content ready before you get your pictures back, and will offer an effortless compliment to the other planned shots.

You can also consider capturing these candid moments as part of the photoshoot, too! Your graduation shoot should reflect the people and things you care about. Don't be afraid to get some shots of you laughing with friends, casually walking across the campus building you frequent, or throwing your graduation cap in the air. These moments can add some more authenticity and emotion to your photos to complement the signature cap-and-gown-with-a-smile shots.

Remember, graduation photos are a celebration of your achievements and a reflection of your personality and style. By planning ahead, choosing meaningful locations, dressing appropriately, getting hair and makeup done, bringing meaningful props, striking natural poses, and capturing candid moments, you can create memorable and meaningful graduation photos that you will cherish for years to come.

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