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Alabama Graduation Portraits

Portrait Session Advice + Insight


2021 has been a fantastic year for portrait sessions. In fact, it’s been the busiest year I’ve ever had doing graduation portrait sessions. At some points during the month of April, I didn’t know how I’d make it to the finish line, but I did.

With 2021 winding down, I wanted to take a few moments and, hopefully, give upcoming graduates who find this post a little advice + insight on how to make the most of their graduation portrait session.

Alabama Graduation Portraits

Remember – This is YOUR Graduation Portrait Session

The first thing I always tell the students I work with during a graduation portrait session is “BE YOURSELF”. That means I want the student to take ownership of the session.

Going back to when they send their initial inquiry and we’re communicating about setting up a session, I want to get as much creative input from the student as possible. I want to know the visual style they like, the locations they want to use, and any other design ideas they might have in mind.

I never want a student’s pictures to be something they aren’t comfortable with receiving or looking at after the fact. To make the most out of their session, I want the photos to best represent their personality and time on campus.

As I always tell students and any client I work with – These are YOUR photos and this is YOUR session.

University of Alabama Graduation Portraits

Have Fun During Your Graduation Portrait Session!

The next thing that will help a student make the most out of their graduation portrait session is to make sure they have fun and a good time during the shoot.

Making the student feel comfortable, relaxed, and at ease throughout the session is a high priority I have any time I do a graduation shoot. I want them to enjoy things and always walk away with some great photographs to mark this important milestone.

Being buttoned-up, stiff, and rigid is definitely not the right approach to making the most out of a graduation portrait session. Don’t feel like you have to be all formal for the duration of the session. I promise it’s okay to cut loose during a shoot.

Bring a friend along with you during the shoot. Maybe even a significant other. Have a pet? I love when four-legged friends get involved as well.

Want to use props? Go for it!

Pop that champagne and throw that confetti because they always make for great photos!

Whatever you’d like to do because, again, this is YOUR graduation session!

Alabama Graduation Portraits

Some Practical Graduation Session Considerations

Now there are some practical considerations to take into account when making the most of your graduation portrait session.

The first is determining what time you’d like to do a shoot.

Most photographers, myself included, love to do portrait sessions early in the morning, right around or after sunrise, or in the late afternoon, right before sunset. These are the golden hour periods of the day when the daylight is just absolutely perfect for photo sessions.

It’s always my advice to students to avoid the time just before, during, and right after high noon as much as possible due to how the sun can cause undesirable effects on the session.

The time of the shoot is also important to consider if you’re doing it during a time class is in session. If you don’t want a lot of people in your background or walking around campus, that’s something to consider when picking a time and date.

Another consideration to take into account is where you’d like to do the session.

Since it is a graduation portrait session, a college campus is probably going to be the main location, but don’t feel like you have to be confined to that space. Go out into the city or surrounding area if you want, especially if there are important places that meant a lot during your time in school.

If there are important locations on campus, such as an academic building, a fraternity or sorority house, or anything else, make sure to mention them. I want to make sure we get every location you’d like to have documented.

I also don’t want to force any locations on you. If there’s a popular spot on campus that you want to avoid, we’re going to avoid it. It’s as simple as that because, again, it’s your graduation portrait session!

Do also take into mind what you’d like to wear during the session. Of course, you’ll want to bring your cap and gown, but if you want to have other outfits or wardrobe changes, go right ahead! Planning all that in advance is something I’ll help you with before we get on campus to shoot.

Columbus State Georgia Graduation Portraits

Let’s Book a Graduation Portrait Session!

I hope this advice and insight has helped you a lot and has answered questions you might have had regarding a graduation portrait session.

If you’ve liked what you’ve heard and seen, well, I’d love to talk with you about getting a date on the calendar so I can help you make the most out of your own graduation portrait session.

Visit my portrait photography pricing page to begin the process. You can also fill out the form below to request a personalized quote. I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can so we can set up a session for you to mark this great time in your life!

UAB Birmingham Alabama Graduation Portraits

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