From Caps to Clicks: Tips for a Memorable College Graduation Photoshoot

April 28, 2023

Guide to Prepare for Your Graduation Photoshoot

Many people tend to feel a little awkward in front of a camera (one of the many reasons why I choose to stay behind mine), but having memories of you celebrating your degree at your favorite locations on campus to look back on in five, ten, or even fifty years will make all the awkward, silly moments worth it. Rest assured, this is my passion. I do this all the time, so I wrote this guide on how to make sure you’re feeling at ease, comfortable, and natural during your graduation photoshoot.

What to Wear Ideas

Wear something that will make you feel like the absolute best version of yourself, maybe in your school colors if you can. White dresses are always and extremely popular option but all that matters is it makes YOU feel good. Bring a couple of outfits so that you can play with different options and combinations, especially if you want to do a combination of dressy and casual outfits!

  • If you have any pieces in your wardrobe that are textured, sheer, or billowy, fabrics that flow, those capture snapshots of movement and photograph beautifully. Try to avoid stiff garments that can get wrinkled in weird spots or need lots of adjusting.
  • Be careful with loud prints and large logos. These can sometimes distract from the subject of the photo – you!
  • Your cap and gown will be a part of the outfit, opt for pieces that compliment your schools colors/gown color.
  • Depending on locations, try to pick color palettes that will help you stand out against your environment and will be complemented by your background.

Hair, Makeup, Props

I HIGHLY recommend getting your nails done before the session, and if you plan to have open-toe shoes or be barefoot, your toes too. Many poses will involve you holding the cap, make sure those nails look good! If you feel like getting a little glammed up and want to do a full face + hair… there‚Äôs absolutely no reason not to get your hair and makeup done! If you want to accessorize and the location calls for it, bring a jacket or hats or other potential props that reflect this time in your life. But remember to keep it real. Authenticity is in the details. Try to avoid spray tanning within 5 days of your session.

Example props:

  • Champagne
  • Confetti (bio-degradable preferred)
  • Cords/Stole from any organizations you were a part of
  • Books from your classes
  • Pets (make sure you have someone to hold the pet for shots of just you)

What to Bring

Bring items that make you comfortable during the session. Pack a change of comfy clothes for afterward. Consider celebrating and going out dressed up! Bring snacks in case you get hungry and water for the heat. Pack tequila for liquid courage and a portable speaker for your playlist. Bring anything that makes the session fun and enjoyable. Don’t forget props, outfits, and good vibes!

Getting in the Right Headspace

Remember this before your grad photoshoot: set aside time for an activity you love before the session. Arrive feeling relaxed, happy, and ready. Manage your time well to avoid rushing from one thing to another. Avoid arriving rushed; it sets a disorganized tone. Give yourself a relaxed session by allowing plenty of time for grooming and preparation.

If you need more info, I have a comprehensive guide for all clients that covers everything!

Looking for your graduation photographer? Book me here!

NEED SOME inspiration?

here are a few of my favorite resources