Wildenauer Photography | Must-do's for Great Graduation Ceremony Photos

Must-do's for Great Graduation Ceremony Photos

April 23, 2014  •  1 Comment

Lots of graduation ceremonies are coming up: U of M 5/2-5/19, University of St. Thomas 5/24, East Ridge High School 5/31, Park High School 5/31, Woodbury High School 6/1. And many more around the cities!

Taking great photos during and after commencement can be a challenge. Lighting is often poor and there is usually lots of excitement/chaos. And, you may have literally a second to capture the perfect moment. 

Here are some tips for taking graduation ceremony photos that will be the envy of your friends.

Planning for the Day:

  1. If the graduation ceremony is held in a larger facility, pick a meeting place after the ceremony that will work well for a photo background. For instance, meet by a landscaped area or by a structure that has architectural design, not by the exit doors or in a designated area of the parking lot.
  2. Know your graduate's logistics. Ask: which side the graduate will enter from, where they are in the line or who they follow, where they'll sit. Make sure you're seated in a location where you can capture their every moment.
  3. Capture candid shots of your graduate, their friends and their favorite teachers when they walk in. These are often the most genuine smiles.
  4. Practice the diploma shot before it's your graduate's turn. You should have at least a few people (or maybe a few hundred people!) to practice on before your graduate takes the stage.
  5. Don't forget to capture the "traditional" photo of the graduate holding their diploma. Sounds obvious...but it is easily forgotten when the graduate is busy hugging family and celebrating with friends.

Technical Tips:

  1. When inside, avoid using a flash. The flash usually isn't big enough for the venue and it will darken the ambient light in the photo. If you can, increase the ISO setting number which will increase the sensitivity of the camera's sensor. In photography, ISO refers to how sensitive the camera's sensor is to light. Most digital cameras allow you to adjust this sensitivity.
  2. When outside, if there is bright sun, find a shady place and use a fill flash (turn the flash on so it fires on every picture until you change the flash setting back to auto).
  3. To capture caps being thrown in the air, use the burst mode to take multiple photos. For a clear photo, focus on high shutter speed of at least 250. If your camera has time value setting/shutter speed priority, use it. This will set the priority on the shutter speed and automatically adjust the aperture. Use an ISO of no higher than 800 for sharp images.
  4. If the above tips appear a little overwhelming, go out and practice capturing images using different settings. Digital photography provides immediate results.

Enjoy the moment and capture as many awesome photos as possible! Many of these photos will be treasured in the future.

Do you have lessons learned or other tips? Click on Leave a Comment to share your thoughts and/or tips.

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Comments

Andy L(non-registered)
Nice tips. Very informative.
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