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15 Can’t-Miss Graduation Photos

Author: The Printique Team

With many graduations happening in May and June, the countdown to graduation day has officially begun!  As you approach this important milestone – whether that be saying goodbye your high school, receiving your college degree, or watching your little one move from elementary to middle school – it’s important to keep a bucket list of photos in the front of your mind. These last few weeks go fast, and you’ll be so grateful for every picture you take.

To help you navigate capturing the sentimental moments that will surround you as you approach graduation day, we’ve put together a list of photos you won’t want to miss.  Pick the ones that pique your interest and add them to a personal list; This way you can reference your photo goals regularly as the big day gets closer and closer!

Before Graduation Day…

Graduation season starts well before graduation day. Prepare to say goodbye to a meaningful time in your life by snapping all the photos your heart desires leading up to the final moments. Graduation day can be extremely hectic, with ceremonies to attend and family members coming in from out of town, so start working your way down your photo bucket list before the big day arrives!

Remake last day of school pictures.

Did you take last day of school pictures with siblings or childhood friends growing up? Remake them on your last last day! Take time to source matching outfits and match your hairstyle to your younger self, then head to the location of the photo and snap away!

Take a photo with your favorite teachers.

Before the school year comes to an end, snap a picture with your favorite teachers! This is a subtle yet meaningful way to tell your teacher they played a positive role in your life; And since you likely won’t be in touch with your teachers any time soon, it is a way to ensure you remember this person and their influence.  In 30 years, when you go through a box of photos, you’ll feel a rush of fond memories and a new appreciation for this person in your adult years.

If this teacher made the whole class a fun experience, get a photo of everyone together, too!  Chances are you won’t be forgetting your best friends any time soon, but you might sadly forget the class friends you shared so many laughs with. A photograph of the whole class together will promise that you always remember who was part of the random happy memories that pop into your head.

Take photos in meaningful local places.

If graduation means leaving your home town or starting a job in a new city, make sure you get photos in all your favorite local places before it’s time to say goodbye. It’s not unusual to spend hours and hours somewhere, just to realize you have no photographs to remember this significant location. The local college bar, your go-to coffee shop, and your favorite park are all great examples of places to snap some pictures in!

Reenact photos from years past.

Is there a photo from your earlier years at school that sticks out in your mind? Perhaps it’s a funny photo of you and a friend, or maybe it’s a tantrum you threw before getting on the school bus for the very first time.  Whatever the picture, recreating it at the end of your journey is a fun yet sentimental way to pay tribute to the memories.

Get a group picture with each of your social circles.

Our school years are filled with endless networks and social circles – even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time!  Whether you’re on a sports team, part of a volunteer group, a member of a music club, in theatre, or anything in between: take a photo with the whole group!  When you graduate from this organized setting, chances are you won’t keep in touch with everyone else who was part of the team or club.  Make sure you never forget any of your favorite – or even least favorite – acquaintances with a photo of everyone together.

Take a picture on the school bus.

A school bus is a classic symbol of childhood for many people and snapping a photo while boarding or departing a school bus for the last time will bring you back to day one.  This picture may feel a bit cheesy for the graduate, but Mom and Dad are sure to love it!

If you’re able to get a school bus photo op on graduation day, a photo on school bus stairs in your cap and gown is another great photo to snag!

Photograph your college home or childhood bedroom.

If graduation means leaving home or moving our of college housing, get photos in your room well before it’s time to go!  The move out process can be a slow and steady one, and you may start to move out before you even realize it.  Next thing you know, you’ll have packed up your photo wall, trophy collection, or poster displays before photographing your room exactly as it was.  We love the simple pose of sitting on your bed for this photo!

Get photos doing what you love.

High school and college are full of pursuing passions and exploring hobbies; Don’t let the school year come to an end without plenty of photos of you doing what you love!  Whether you spend long afternoons in the ceramics room or early mornings on the basketball court, photos of you completely in your element will be your favorite ones to show your future kids one day – or to simply look back on fondly!

On Graduation Day…

When the big day arrives, there will surely be a long line of people wanting to snap a photo with their incredible graduate. Mom, Dad, Grandpa and Grandma will hardly be able to pull themselves out of the frame! But aside from the obvious photos with loved ones, there are a handful of photos you won’t want to miss on a day that will pass in the blink of an eye. Take a look at the ideas below and plan ahead for the ones you definitely want to make happen!

Take a photo with your childhood pet.

If you’re lucky enough to have a childhood pet by your side for a number of life milestones, make sure you take a photo with them!  Hold this picture next to a photo from your younger years to capture how much you’ve both grown.  As time goes on, you’ll be so glad you captured this happy day and the role they played in it.

Take a photo with the people who made it all possible.

Whether you’re celebrating a pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school, or college graduation, there will no doubt be people who helped make the accomplishment possible.  Whether this is your parents, your grandparents, a big sibling, a kind neighbor, a coach, or a family friend, taking a photograph with these significant mentors will mean so much to both of you.

Take pictures with childhood friends.

If you have friends who have been by your side since childhood, taking photos with them is a beautiful way to capture the new milestone you’ve reached together. 

If you’re looking for a creative way to do this, try hosting a photoshoot of the graduates partaking in a classic childhood activity.  Did you all go for scooter rides around the block growing up?  Was your favorite pastime jumping on the trampoline together? Were you regulars of the school playground during elementary school? Whatever the activity was, having everyone get together to do it in their cap and gown will not only leave you with unique and playful photographs, but with a new special memory as well. Win, win!

Visit your local bar or deli.

Biting into a celebratory sandwich or saying cheers with a celebratory beer while wearing your cap and gown will make for a fun and authentic photo – and we don’t hate that it means treating yourself to a great meal and a cold beer!

Take a photo on your home turf.

Whether you spent most of your school year on the football field, in the music room, or on the stage, make sure to snap a photo in this meaningful location while wearing your cap and gown.

Toss your cap.

A cap toss photo is a signature pose for high school or college graduation day. When you scroll through social media after the ceremony, you’ll see dozens of your friends and peers nailing the pose – don’t set yourself up to be envious! Get your own fun cap toss photo while you’re still dressed up for the big day.

A tip: Angle up! You’ll capture your toss with gorgeous blue skies as your background.

Get your perfect solo shot.

At the end of it all, this is your big day. Without a doubt there will be people who helped you cross the finish line, but it’s you who put it the work, made the sacrifices, and pushed yourself to learn and experience as much as you could – even when it was hard. Take time to enjoy the spotlight on this celebratory day! Find the perfect lighting, the perfect pose, and the perfect background for a portrait of you in your cap and gown that you absolutely adore.

The general rule…

If you only remember one thing from this graduation photo guide, remember this: take the photo. Your last year at high school or college will fly by, and there will be plenty of times where you feel awkward being photographed in public settings or unsure whether you should ask someone for a photo. If you feel that “should I or shouldn’t I” thought pass through your mind, the answer is always: you should! You will be so grateful for every photo you take during these precious final months. They’ll serve as reminders to reach out to people you miss, prompts of hilarious stories, and insight into the life you lived before you met the people you’ll meet in the future. In other words, your future children will love to get their hands on these photos!

So, whether you’ve read this to share insight with a graduate in your life or are graduating yourself, we say: Congratulations on an incredible accomplishment!