Updated: Jan 31
Step One: Develop Your Vision
Your photographer will help bring your vision to life but it’s up to you to develop it! Your graduation portraits should not only document your accomplishments but also capture the facets of what make you who you are. Take some time to think about how you can personify yourself.
Maybe your future goal is to be a doctor. Grab a stethoscope as a prop! Maybe one of your favorite hobbies is playing soccer. Grab a soccer ball and shoot an action shot of you scoring a goal! Another idea is to create a vision board. Creating a vision board can help you gain inspiration for props, posing, outfits and so on. Pinterest is an excellent tool to create visual boards. Not every graduation shoot needs to be creative but you should maximize your shooting time by coming with a set plan of what you want to portray.
Step Two: Early Is The New On Time
Do yourself and your photographer a favor and arrive at least 15 minutes early to your photography session. This extra time is super valuable! For one, it gives you the opportunity to relax and organize yourself for your photo shoot. When you arrive late, you can appear frazzled, out of breath and not put together. This in turn may have you in a bad mood and you don't want that to be reflected in your pictures.
Secondly, arriving early gives you the time to have any last minute discussions with your photographer. Perhaps you had an amazing idea for your shoot on the ride there. The extra time can benefit you and your photographer in such a way that you are both on the same page as to how the shoot will go!
Finally, arriving early can help you save money! Many photographers charge extra fees for clients that arrive late and/or need to spend extra time shooting past the agreed end time of the shoot. Portraiture sessions are an investment but you do not want to be caught in a situation where your photographer refuses to deliver your photos until you pay the extra fess associated with extra shooting time.
Step Three: Wardrobe
Right after your beautiful face, your choice in wardrobe is very important. During your shoot, you will be taking both traditional and modern graduation photos. Your choice of attire must not only be consistent with your photos but also complement who you are!
Try to avoid busy patterns that may distract from you, the subject. Be sure to iron or steam out any wrinkles in your garments. Post editing may not be able to save you if you don't. Bring a back up outfit in case there is a wardrobe malfunction. You don't want to be out of luck if you bend down and hear a rip in your pants. Lastly, plan out the number of outfits included in your photography package in such a way that you are able to get versatile and unique photos that capture who you are.
Step Four: Stylist Please!
Okay, so maybe you aren't a movie star and don't have your very own personal stylist. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't seek out such services! Photoshop may work wonders but your photographer is not responsible for your appearance. You are. And unless you want to pay extra fees for retouching and editing, it's best to come your best for your photo shoot.
Make up. Hair. Nails. Skin. Seek out services to to get these all perfected before your photo shoot. A good rule of thumb is to be done with these services at least an hour before your shoot. You don't want to risk being late!
Step Five: Jam Session
Create a music playlist for your session. Trust me, if you aren't a natural model, you may be uncomfortable in front of the camera for the first part of your shoot. To avoid photos where you look stiff and shy, have a playlist at hand that has you feeling confident and glamorous! This is your big moment! You should be shining as bright as a diamond.
Feel free to invite a friend or two that can jam with you! Keep in mind, they can not be photographed with you, but there is no harm in having people around who make you feel comfortable. And extra hands of assistance at the shoot is always a plus!
Best of luck on your graduate portraiture shoot and congratulations on your big accomplishment!