Your teen has worked hard for this moment, and you want great photos that capture graduation day! Documenting all the moments and emotions and details of the day will keep your memories fresh through the years to come.
How can you get the best photos of this important day even though you’re not be a professional photographer and your best camera is your cell phone?!
I have good news for you. You can absolutely take great graduation photos with your cell phone. Further, with a little planning ahead of time you’ll really nail a wonderful set of images that capture this momentous day in your child’s life, and your pictures will bring back your special memories every time you see them!
Find the best spots for photos on graduation day
- Remember great light trumps a pretty backdrop. You’ll find nice soft light next to a window or and always away from the direct light of the sun. In other words, your subject shouldn’t be able see the actual sun. Stand at the edge of a shaded area facing a more brightly lit area. If you can’t avoid the direct sun, place it behind your subject(s) at a slight angle.
- Though you’ll want some photos that show off the graduation venue, most of your backgrounds should be clean so that all the focus is on your subject(s). Get away from the crowds when possible. Find an uncluttered background such as the building, garden, bushes.
- If you can’t find a secluded spot, zoom in! Make sure to get some tight shots that will cut out the people and distractions in the background.
Include the most important people
- Get in a few graduation photos with your child! Moms and dads tend to be behind the camera instead of in the photos, so hand that camera to a friend or relative, because both you and your graduate are going to treasure those photos
- Maybe this is the most obvious, but take photos of your grad by themself. With and without their cap and gown. Before and after the ceremony.
- Take photos of your grad with the friends who are celebrating this day with them!! Grab some candid images when they’re unaware of the camera as well as more posed images where they’re looking at the camera.
Capture all the little details of graduation day
- Play the journalist and capture the events of the day leading up to the big moment on stage. Take some shots before your senior puts on their cap and gown. Did you have a special dinner? Who attended the graduation ceremony?
- Get close ups of the cap and tassel, your senior’s hands round the diploma… These little details complete the story of their graduation day and will round out your photo album when you pull together all the images of the day in a book or album.
How to capture the graduation ceremony
- For the graduation ceremony pictures, don’t bother using flash! You senior will be too far away for flash to make any difference.
- Avoid zooming in on your phone screen. These photos will be grainy/blurry and won’t print well. Instead, use the max zoom lens on your phone and simply capture the wider scene. Crop these images later if you want. They’ll be the same quality as if you’d zoomed in when taking the photo.
- Anticipate the action. Get your camera ready for that cap toss, your child walking across the stage, grabbing that diploma…