Tips for capturing your Grad

Image courtesy of SPS Member Carolyn Walter

We're pulling another request from the mailbag. We had a mom write in and ask for tips for capturing her Grad, who will be missing his commencement this year due to Covid-19. We thought tips like that might appeal to quite a few, so here we are.

Graduations this year, from preschool all the way through colleges and universities, are undeniably different. They're being held virtually, postponed, or not at all. We should still document them. Here are some suggestions, tips, and plenty of images to help inspire you.

Get a traditional portrait

Whether your Grad is five or twenty-five, have them put their cap and gown on and snap a traditional portrait.

Image courtesy of SPS Member Tricia Couffer
  1. Find some open shade – A spot where your Grad can see the open sky, but isn't in direct sun. This will brighten their face, but keep them from needing to squint.
  2. Get on their eye level – Especially if you have a tall or a small Grad – get even with their eye level. You'll capture so much more of their eyes, their face, and their emotion this way.
  3. Shoot a few different shots – Yep, you want to remember that cap and gown, but you'll also want to remember their face. It's okay to take a full length shot and then get up close and personal (maybe so close that you cut off almost their entire body and part of their cap) to capture those details. Grads of all ages will be changing fast. Stop time in this moment.
Image courtesy of SPS Member Ambar Hornback

Get some fun shots

Add some props and have some fun with it. This may be a very unusual Graduation season, but it can still be fun.

Image courtesy of Photo Fix Member Jill Broadwater
  1. Add a mask to some of your pictures.
  2. Write up a board like you see for first day of school pictures. This could be particularly humorous for older Grads.
  3. Roll up some paper and create a diploma or include a sheet with ‘Insert diploma here' written on it.
  4. Take your Grad on location to their school grounds (if you can do so safely and it is allowed).
Image courtesy of SPS Member Jacque Grzebin
Image courtesy of Photo Fix Member Jerri Brouse
Image courtesy of SPS Member Natalie Brand

Document their Graduation event.

Whether you're shooting over their shoulder while they watch a commencement speech online or you're having an unofficial official family graduation event with handshakes from parents and siblings, be sure to snap some pictures of it.

  1. Take screen shots. If their graduation event is virtual, take screen shots during some important moments.
  2. Shoot over their shoulder as they watch a virtual graduation ceremony. Focus on the screen, but get some of your Grad in the shot, too.
  3. Stage a home graduation ceremony and snap pictures of family congratulating your Grad.

There is no question that Graduations of all kinds look very different this year. There is disappointment and heartache for certain. There can also be one of a kind memories and fun – you just have to be more active in seeking it out. If you're looking for some words of wisdom and hope for your Grad (probably eighth grade on up), John Krasinski's Some Good News (SGN) graduation edition is definitely a great place to get it. We wish all of 2020's Grads health, happiness, and success in the next chapters of their lives!

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