Senior Details- Tips for stunning graduation photos

Senior, Senior Details, Senior Info

May 16, 2023

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Graduation photos in a cap and gown by the beach at sunrise

We get it, this day is BIG! and its BUSY! So, having a graduation day plan is a necessity! I won’t lie, your phone camera may struggle with some of this, but if its what you have got! USE IT! These Graduation day tips and shot list will help even phone cameras take better graduation photos!

Capture the Moment: Tips for Stunning Graduation Photos

Graduation is an exciting time full of new beginnings and endless possibilities. As a graduate, you want to capture the moment and create lasting memories that you can cherish for years to come. That’s where stunning graduation photos come in! With the right tips and tricks, you can ensure that your photos are not only beautiful but also tell a story. A From choosing the perfect location to mastering lighting and posing, these tips will help you capture the essence of your graduation and share it with the world. Whether you’re a proud graduate or a family member looking to capture the moment, these tips will help you take stunning photos that will last a lifetime.

Lighting and composition

Lighting is an essential element in photography, and it can make or break your graduation photos. The best time to take photos is during the golden hour, which is the hour before sunset or after sunrise. But, since you are most likely in the ceremony then, try and find open shade. Behind a building, in a doorway, or under a large group of trees. This will create softer light!

If you’re taking photos indoors, try to use natural light as much as possible. Avoid using harsh overhead lights or direct sunlight, as these can create harsh shadows and highlights. Instead, position your subject near a window or a door.

Posing and location

Posing is another essential element in capturing stunning graduation photos. Try and get that big gown OFF- hold over the shoulder, take photos with just the diploma… but at least prop it open! That thing is a giant ROBE- showing the clothes underneath gives them a shape, but also shows some of their personality! Ask them to lean against a wall, hold a diploma or toss their graduation cap in the air.

You may be wondering “Where should I take graduation photos?” Location is an important factor in taking great graduation photos. Consider choosing a location that is meaningful to you, such as your university campus or a favorite park. Even your back yard is fabulous. Look for interesting backdrops such as brick walls or greenery or blooming flowers. Brick walls always work well because schools always have them! If you can find a glass wall, you may even get a great reflection! Since so many ceremonies are located at UNF, the library there is a great location. Having lunch before hand, look around the restaurant. If you are at Town Center, the jasmine wall and waterfall by J. Alexanders are great spots! Restoration Hardware is great too, but only with a iPhone! They don’t allow professional cameras.

Capturing emotions and candid moments

Capturing emotions and candid moments is what makes graduation photos truly special. Whether it’s a smile, a tear, or a hug, these moments tell a story and capture the essence of your graduation day. Add family members, friends and teachers to add that extra special touch!

To capture these moments, try taking photos in burst mode or continuous shooting mode. This allows you to capture a series of photos in quick succession, increasing your chances of capturing candid moments. You can also try shooting from different angles or using a longer lens {different iPhone settings}to create a more intimate feel. most of all, try and steer clear of filters… they will look very dated in time, and wont show the true colors of that cap and gown and your location. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect!

Graduation photos list- the MUST haves!

Now that you know where and how to take the graduation photos, its time to make the kist of what you want! This day goes FAST! Try to take a moment, breathe and remember to snap a few photos… even if they are just snapshots! The day you’ve been waiting all year for is right around the corner and you’ll never regret memorializing your graduation day with tons of photos! The worst thing that can happen is getting so wrapped up in the festivities that you forget to take photos! Use this free capture guide to help you document this incredible time in your life!


  1. You in your graduation ensemble: remember to get all the angles! Whip that dress around, peek over your shoulder, smile at the camera, all the things!
  2. You in your cap & gown: be sure to take a full body pic, close up, selfies, and everything in between to capture your grad garb! Take a few without the gown, but just your dress and cap too!
  3. Details: don’t forget to take pics of your grad program, class ring, diploma, sashes, and everything else! This is the most overlooked aspect of commencement photos, but some of the most important! Then put those details in your senior memory bod… looking back at them will be priceless, trust me!
  4. You with your family: grab Mom, Dad, family members and loved ones and take some sweet photos with them too! They’ll want to look back on this moment forever!
  5. Commencement Event: take all the pics at your actual graduation ceremony! Snap a few of your family in the stands cheering you on, you and your friends in the class rows, and your friends as they cross the stage!

So there you have it! With this checklist you’ll be sure to have tons of pictures that will allow you to look back at your amazing graduation ceremony without missing anything! If you wanna take it that extra step, don’t forget to include video & interview your friends for even more memories!

Graduation is a momentous occasion, and taking stunning graduation photos is a great way to capture the moment and create lasting memories. By following these essential tips and graduation photo list, you can ensure that your photos are not only beautiful but also tell a story. With these tips, you’ll be able to take stunning graduation photos that you can cherish for years to come.

Senior High school Graduation photos  ideas with water and confetti
Looking for more graduation day inspiration? Check out this post on Graduation day photo ideas!

Kelleen Hite is a senior portrait photographer based out of Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida. Her goal is to create and amazing experience and revolutionary portraits so that every senior knows how awesome they are, and so that every parent can enjoy this fleeting moment. Kelleen is now booking for the class of 2024. To learn more about being a revolutionary KHP senior, click here.

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