It’s graduation season, and with the invitations pouring in, it’s time to get your camera ready. Whether its kindergarten, high school, or college, the graduate, and their proud family will want to remember this once in a lifetime event. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Preparation makes perfect.**
Have your batteries charged and an extra memory card on hand. And make sure to organize all of your equipment ahead of time, so you don’t waste anytime fumbling for what you need.
2. Pay attention to lighting conditions.**
If the graduation ceremony is outdoors, be aware of where the sun is. Most high school graduation ceremonies take place during that “golden hour” in the early evening and conclude as the sun is about to set. In these conditions, your shots will be filled with a gorgeous soft light. If the ceremony takes place when the light is harsh, try to scout out the best place to stand beforehand, and find some shade for portraits.

If the ceremony is indoors, be sure to take some test shots, and play around with your camera’s settings (including white balance) since lighting is usually low.
3. Get closer, and try something new.**
Try to position yourself as close to the graduate as possible, and bring a telephoto lens, just in case the school won’t let you. While you’re up there, try using a shallow depth of field to create a more unique composition.
4. Focus on the unusual.**
Don’t just conduct a family photo shoot. Sure, you’ll want some posed pictures of the entire family together, but also focus on capturing personal, candid moments. Maybe the graduate whispers something to her friend as they walk down the isle or embraces a family member they haven’t seen in a while. These are the photos that will really capture the essence of graduation.
5. Give the perfect graduation gift.**
If the graduate doesn’t have one already, why not give them their first digital camera? A lot of entry-level DSLRs are reasonably priced, and point-and-shoots are packed with tons of features. Check out for recommendations.
—Kaitlin Tambuscio
Editorial Intern