Jun 20th 2022

Graduating is one of life's major milestones. And you should capture it with a series of enduring images. To help you mark this special occasion, we've put together a few tips on how to capture beautiful college graduation photos.

1. Tell a Story with Your College Graduation Photos

A single image can capture a moment, but it can rarely tell a story. Capture the essence of the day by taking a series of college graduation photos.

For example, start the story on the morning of the big day. A chronological narrative can help you and your family relive this auspicious occasion for many years to come.

Graduate from Alabama University facing away from camera

2. Get at Least One Close-Up of the Gown

A graduation gown is a powerful symbol of achievement. It's perfect for creating the cover for a special photo book. Get creative, and take some close-ups of the gown -- along with the college's colors. Make sure you get the graduation cap in the shot.

Have a small photoshoot, be sure to add any objects that represent a special memory while in school.

Graduate jumping in photo wearing green robe

3. Capture the Joy of the Day

Most graduation events are fun and filled with joy. They're not just about formal group photos and presentation ceremonies. Take a few shots of family members and friends embracing the graduate. Try to capture the joy and love on people's faces. This moment is one that is best shared with loved ones, so let your photos reflect that.

Don’t forget to get a picture of you receiving your diploma, it’s the most exciting part!

Graduates blowing glitter for graduation photos4. Get Some Shots with Best Friends

Group photos are great, but nothing captures the essence of a graduation day like a group shot with close friends. Ask the graduate to gather together their dearest friends, and take a joy-filled photo. Get the graduates to use their certificates as props.

Take a picture in front of the building where you met your best friend. Or pose in front of the library where you would spend most nights studying.

graduation invites and congratulations

5. Use Your Photos for a Graduation Invite

After you've taken your best photos with friends, family and posed in front of every memorable statue and building it's time to do something with those photos! What better way to start the next chapter than with a celebration.

Personalize your graduation invites with a favorite quote that sums up the time you spent on campus.

6. Get Some Landscape Shots

You should take a few unplanned, unstaged shots in order to capture the ambiance on the day. These shots are often best taken at the beginning or end of the event -- when people are milling about or leaving. Get creative with lighting and focus to create something interesting.

You should have plenty of room, so have fun with these shots. Capture the excitement of what it feels like to finally be a graduate.

Girl wearing green cap and gown for graduate photos

7. Use the College as a Backdrop

What better backdrop for both solo and group college graduation photos than the school? Look for distinctive architectural elements to place in the frame. Entryways and porticos are ideal. You won’t regret getting that one picture in front of your school's sign or mascot statue.

Try getting everyone in the center of the shot, to create symmetry for maximum effect.

college graduate throwing hats wearing blue gowns

8. Get a Few Formal Shots

Fun and emotional college graduation photos are perfect for photobooks, albums, and collages. But when it comes to photos you'd like to display, formal shots are usually more suitable.

Get the graduate to pose with and without their mortarboard. A formal smile in a quiet area of the college grounds is a fitting way to mark the gravity of the event.

9. Don't Be Afraid of Shade

Direct sunlight is great, but too much of it can cause serious problems for photographers. Lots of sunlight often means lots of shadows and shade. Getting large group shots in these conditions isn't easy.

Look for a large area of open shade -- outside a building is perfect. This should give you the stable lighting conditions you need.

graduates throwing caps in the air

10. Get a Great Shot of the Hat Toss

One of the most iconic images from any college graduation is the hat toss. The sight of dozens of mortarboards hovering in the air adds the element of fun to proceedings.

For the best results, shoot from a low angle -- using the sky as the backdrop. Make sure you leave a lot of space above the heads of the subjects. This will ensure you none of the hats fly out of shot.

If you are using a professional camera this would be the perfect time to break out that wide angle lens.

11. Display Your College Graduation Photos in Style

A college graduation photo album is always greater than the sum of its parts. Display these photos in a logical way using a photobook or collage. You can do this in a matter of minutes with the help of Mimeo Photos. Import the photos you want to include, and create something that captures the memories and emotions of this important day.

College graduation photos should capture the essence of the big day. With Mimeo Photos, you can tell a story that will live long in the memory.

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