Graduation Photoshoot Ideas & Best Places for Senior Pictures

If you or a loved one is a soon-to-be or a recent graduate, a celebration is in order! Finishing school is no easy feat. Whether it is high school, college, graduate, or a Ph.D. – graduation pictures can happen at every stage of academia.

Graduation pictures are usually taken by a local senior portrait photographer or maybe even a fellow classmate. We think it’s worth investing in a quality photographer to help mix it up a little bit! You don’t want to end up with terrible senior portraits that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Take advantage of a vacation or family event to capture some nice graduation pictures, or capture photos in a unique and unusual setting to set yourself apart in the yearbook.

Graduation and senior photo poses are the same old same old, so we’d like to offer some examples of more natural and candid strategies for capturing portraits to celebrate the occasion. Below we’ll cover some of our favorite graduation photoshoot ideas, the best places to take senior pictures, and tips for what to wear!

Graduation Photoshoot Ideas

As your graduation from high school or college is only going to happen once, you want to make sure all the iconic moments are captured. Hiring a professional photographer for both the ceremony and photographs will make sure you can look back and remember everything when the day passes by in a blur.

  • As you are probably nervous about tripping on stage in front of all those people, consider doing your senior pictures before the day. This way you can make sure you are relaxed and get exactly what you need without the stress and nerves coming through to the photos.
  • Get your parents, boyfriend, girlfriend – anyone you want photos with on graduation day, to participate in an advanced shoot. As your photographer will also be there on the day with you, make sure those who are doing the shoot in advance, as well as yourself, are wearing the outfit they plan to wear on your special day.
  • Have you got a pet that is your sidekick and has been there for you throughout your final year at school. Get them involved – why not even get a little pet graduation cap, so they can match.
  • Recreate a childhood photo with your siblings. Even better is to recreate a photo that you know your parents or grandparents love. Find similar outfits and get into the same poses; facial expressions and all. The only difference could be that you wear your graduation cap.
  • Try a candid approach! Instead of stiff posed senior pictures, try laughing, dancing, and interacting with your surroundings. This will give your senior portraits more authenticity and movement.
  • If you are on a budget, camera-shy, and want your photos to be a celebration with your besties, then taking group graduation photos is a great idea. You’ll get to have fun, be candid, and you can let loose! Make sure you book enough time, like 2 hours, to make sure that everyone gets the group and solo photos they want.

Best Places to Take Senior Pictures

Like your graduation photoshoot, having it done before you are finishing school or graduating, will reduce the nerves, and therefore your senior portrait photographer will be able to capture natural-looking photos.

Everyone has an idea of the best places for graduation pictures. Train tracks, rooftops with an urban skyline, an open field, next to a tree, and right on campus are some common ones. We think they are a little over-done, and senior portraits need an update. Here are a few ideas to help you choose where to take senior pictures:

  • There is no better place to have your senior photos than at school. What clubs or sports are you a part of? Did you have a particular spot that was significant to you, like a tree or building? Making those locations a part of your photo shoot will add a touch of nostalgia to your images.
  • Your family home is always a fabulous choice when it comes to senior portraits. Having your photoshoot in a familiar spot will ensure even the most posed photo will come through to the camera naturally.
  • Utilise your neighbourhood / town / city. Find beautiful buildings, gorgeous parks, funky street art, or maybe your favorite coffee shop for the backdrop for your senior portraits. Using big, open and public spaces like this also allows larger groups to be part of your photoshoot also like family, friends or a club you were a part of.
  • Go on a trip or vacation and find a local portrait photographer at your destination! You can get professional photos taken in a beautiful setting to remember your graduation trip! Vacation photo sessions make great graduation gifts too! The best way to find a senior portrait photographer while on vacation is to do a simple search on Local Lens. We have hundreds of photographers in the top cities all over the world who are ready to take some portraits while on your graduation trip. If you are traveling with family, you can get family photos too!

What to Wear for Graduation Pictures

You want to feel cool, confident, and ready to take on the world. Wear something that shows it! A killer leather jacket, a dress you never get to wear but are dying to put on, or shoes that speak for themselves – all can make your photos pop and express your personality. Graduation pictures are one of the few occasions you get to take professional photos of just you, so take advantage and wear something awesome.

  • For males, a shirt and tie is always a great option as it allows the gown to sit neatly and the overall look is neat and tidy, making for posed photos prior to “graduating” look flawless. If ties are not your thing, remove it once your gown is open. Wearing block color pant and shirt is the way to go, but make sure the colors of your outfit do not clash with your gown colors.
  • For females, a nice dress in a block color will not only go great under your gown but will look great with the gown undone too. Make sure you take your gown when you buy your dress to ensure the neckline doesn’t show any part of the dress that will look out of place in your photos. Don’t over accessorize either around your neck, as your gown may not sit well.
  • Graduating with your boyfriend/girlfriend? No need to match, but make sure you don’t clash either. Coordinate colors before the event so your photos don’t make you cringe.
  • Graduating with your best mates? Why not wear the same and have fun with your senior pictures with all of you looking the same.
  • If you want some photos wearing your graduation gown, make sure to pick what you are wearing beneath it. Most graduation gowns have a v neck, so you will be able to see what you are wearing underneath. And after the receiving of your diploma, you will be posing for photos, probably with your gown undone, so consider that too before throwing on your gym gear.

Hire a Graduation or Senior Portrait Photographer

Whether you are traveling or capturing graduation pictures close to home, Local Lens can help find and book the right best senior portrait photographer for you. Easily check availability for your desired date, check portfolios and reviews, and book the shoot in one place. It’s SO easy.

Find the Best Senior Portrait Photographers

Local Lens has senior portrait photographers that specialize in graduation photoshoots. Find your city or your destination to see pricing, compare portfolios, read customer reviews, and check date availability.

What’s included in my graduation photoshoot package?

With every photography package, you’ll get high-resolution graduation pictures that are professionally edited and delivered by email in a private online gallery within 5 business days. You’ll get a ton of shots to choose from!

How much does a graduation photographer cost?

We made photography packages for graduations and senior pictures that are easy to choose from. Choose between 4 different packages:

  • 30-minute Mini Session – 15 digital photos
  • 1 hour – Includes 30 digital photos
  • 90 minutes – Includes 45 digital photos
  • 2 hours – Includes 60 digital photos



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