32 creative graduation photoshoot ideas

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by David Em
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Graduation is a special event that recognizes the hard work you’ve done. Get inspired by unique ideas for your graduation photoshoot.

Graduate smiling and holding flowers outdoors.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Graduations are meaningful and momentous events. Your hard work and achievements are recognized while a new chapter of life begins.

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Whether you’re preparing for a graduation photoshoot or need last-minute ideas, get inspired by traditional and uniquely creative graduation pictures and poses.

Related: 11 tips for perfect cloudy day photography

Graduation photos are cherished for a lifetime, and capturing the moments will provide fun memories.

Photographer with text overlay.

1. Look back at the camera

Graduate outdoors looking back.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

A classic graduation picture pose is one where you look back at the camera. It incorporates movement, which makes the portrait eye-catching.

Looking back at the camera can also signify taking a moment to reflect as you continue your journey. Overall, it’s a must-do graduation photo pose.

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2. Celebrate with confetti or glitter

Three graduates blowing confetti.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

What’s a celebration without confetti or glitter? Get a confetti cannon or toss or blow confetti in the air. You can also swap out the confetti for glitter.

Regardless of which one you use, surrounding yourself with glitter and confetti makes your graduation picture fun and truly a celebration.

3. Take a group photo with friends or family

Graduate with his parents outdoors.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

Your friends or family are your biggest supporters. Take a group photo to document the people that have helped you get to where you are.

Additionally, the relationships you form in school can last the rest of your life. It’ll be fun to talk about as you look back on it.

4. Go to your favorite spot on campus

Graduate standing in a park and holding their cap.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Chances are, you have a favorite spot on campus. It could be where you study, go for a walk, meet friends, clear your mind, or meet your significant other.

Whether it’s indoor or outdoor, it was a meaningful location during your time in school.

Always remember it by doing your graduation photoshoot there.

5. Toss your graduation cap in the air

Group of graduates tossing their hats in the air.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Tossing your cap in the air is a classic graduation photoshoot idea. It’s easy to do, and you can do it only or with a group.

Make sure the image is taken when the hat is in the air.

It’s an excellent way to show your excitement and relief. It shows that you’re enjoying the moment.

6. Hug your significant other

Two graduates outdoors with their arms around each other.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Graduating with your significant other is a special moment. Whether the two of you are high school or college sweethearts, capture a loving moment by hugging each other.

You can get a picture of the two of you holding hands and walking or kissing.

Graduation pictures with your significant other are perfect for looking back on as you continue your lives together.

7. Do your favorite activity

Graduate standing on a football field and holding their cap.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

You’re more than a student. Whether you’re an athlete, creative, bookworm, or gamer, show what you love to do in your graduation pictures.

Aside from doing the activity, you can take a photo surrounded by it. For example, football players can stand on the field, and hikers can pose on a trail.

It’s an excellent way to document what you did outside of school and see how your passions evolve.

8. Find a cool wall

Graduate standing in front of a wall with vertical patterns.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

A cool wall is photo-worthy. Taking your graduation pictures in front of an eye-catching wall ensures your image turns out amazing.

Brick walls are a classic and common option. Also, look for murals, geometric patterns, and interesting textures.

9. Jump in the air

Graduate laughing mid-air.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Jump for joy. It’s a fun and creative way to document your graduation day and the joy you’re feeling.

When you jump, you’ll likely have genuine expressions of laughter and happiness. Mid-air photos are also social media-worthy.

10. Combine your past and present

Since graduation day marks a special day in your life, show how far you’ve come by holding a picture of your younger self. You can include a baby picture, elementary school graduation, or any other image to show your progress.

11. Hold a sign

Graduates holding a 2021 sign.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

A sign provides context. Of course, your gown shows that you’re graduating, but a sign can share the year or your feelings.

On the sign, you can write about graduation finally being here, that you finished school or your graduation year.

12. Take a photo with your furry friend

Graduate holding a dog and smiling.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

If you have a special bond with your pet, include them in your graduation pictures. Take a photo of you holding or petting your furry friend. It’s unique and adorable.

13. Wear a varsity jacket

Woman outdoors wearing a varsity jacket.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Show your school pride one last time. Wear a varsity or letterman jacket for your graduation photoshoot to represent.

You can also wear other clothing items with your school’s logo or mascot. Be sure to also document pictures at your favorite places on campus.

14. Walking away

Graduate walking away.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

During your graduation photoshoot, capture an image of you walking away with your back facing the camera.

To make it more interesting, put your arms out to the side, in the air to celebrate, or throw up a peace sign. It signifies moving on to the next chapter.

15. Close-up of your tassel

Close-up of a 2021 graduation tassel.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

As a part of your graduation photoshoot, document a close-up of your tassel.

It may become something you hang, display, or tuck away in storage. So, take a photo of it while you’re wearing it.

16. Walk on the beach

Graduate standing barefoot on a beach.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

If the beach is where your heart is, take your graduation photos at one. Walk or stand barefoot on the soft sand with the waves behind you.

Graduation photoshoots at the beach are fun, creative, and unique. Plus, the views are stunning.

17. Dress your best

Graduate walking outdoors and adjusting their tie.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

Graduation day is special. So, dress your best. Wear a nice shirt and tie or dress under the gown.

It’ll also look great in your graduation photos because you’ll look professional and ready to take on the next chapter of life.

18. Sit on steps or a bench

Graduate sitting on steps and holding their cap.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Another classic graduation photoshoot idea is to sit on steps or a bench. It’s an easy and flattering pose that anyone can do.

When you do seated poses, make sure you have good posture and keep your chin out to avoid a double chin.

19. Use props from your future job

Graduate outdoors in confetti while wearing a white lab coat and stethoscope.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

Whether you have a job lined up or are looking for a job after graduation, use props from what you’re going to do.

Props are an excellent way to capture unique graduation pictures.

If you’re going to be a nurse, wear scrubs. If you’re going to be a doctor, wear a white coat and stethoscope around your neck.

Maybe you’re going to be an athlete. If so, wear your uniform. As an artist, you can pose in a studio.

With so many occupations comes many opportunities for creative graduation photos.

20. Show off your culture

Graduate standing outdoors with a flag on their shoulder.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Your culture plays a role in your identity. It influences your values, traits, food, and what you like to do. Your culture also makes you unique.

Instead of a basic graduation picture, get creative and show off your culture. You can wrap a flag around yourself or wear authentic clothing.

21. Pose with your favorite teacher

Group of graduates posing with a teacher outdoors.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

A good teacher will have a special place in your heart. They’ve helped you get to where you are. So, include them in your graduation photoshoot.

22. Stand in front of your favorite building

Graduate sitting on steps in front of a building.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Architecture is an excellent background, and there’s always that one building that you’re drawn to. Maybe you have a lot of memories there, or it’s an aesthetic building.

Regardless of what it is, use it as a background to document your graduation day.

23. Get out in nature

Graduate smiling in a field of flowers.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

You don’t have to shoot your graduation pictures at the ceremony. For unique photos, go out in nature.

Plants, flowers, mountains, and bodies of water are eye-catching and result in aesthetic images.

24. Celebrate with champagne or apple cider

Graduate outdoors spraying champagne.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Depending on your age, pop a bottle of champagne or apple cider to celebrate. It’s a nice way to toast your achievement and mark the beginning of a new chapter.

When you’re taking a photo with champagne or apple cider spraying, make sure you have a darker background.

White backgrounds will blend in with the drink. So, darker backgrounds make it stand out more.

25. Personalize your graduation cap

Hands holding a personalized graduation cap.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Make your graduation cap stand out by personalizing it. It’s also an excellent way to stand out from everyone else.

You can decorate it with things that are meaningful to you, your name, the degree you earned, or things that describe who you are. Get creative and have fun with it.

26. Hold balloons

Graduate holding a diploma and balloons.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

Balloons represent a party. They’re also perfect for graduation photos. Hold a balloon or a bunch of balloons in one hand and your diploma in another.

It’s an easy and simple pose with minimal props, but it makes for a fun graduation picture.

Also, you can make it more fun by holding it up as if you’re flying away.

27. Surround yourself with textbooks

Graduate sitting next to a stack of books and reading in a room.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

You’ve spent a lot of time reading textbooks to get to graduation day. So, incorporate them into your graduation pictures.

You can hold a book, read one, or surround yourself with textbooks. It’s also an ideal photo idea if you’re an avid reader.

28. Hold a bouquet of flowers or gifts

Close-up of a graduate holding flowers.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

On your graduation day, you’ll receive flowers and gifts. Be sure to document yourself holding the things you received.

Aside from being sweet memories, it can enhance the photo.

29. Stand in front of your school

UCLA graduate standing with a building in the background.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

School buildings are great backgrounds. Not only do they look aesthetic, but they also have a lot of meaning.

Take a photo in front of your school as a memory for the books. It’s where you spent a lot of time getting to graduation day.

You have a lot of memories and lessons learned there. So, it’s an ideal graduation picture idea.

30. Stand in the bleachers

Graduate standing in the bleachers.
Photo courtesy of Pexels.

If you attended sports games, you made a lot of memories on the bleachers. It was a place to cheer, hang out, and enjoy food or drinks.

The bleachers are a great place to take graduation photos because of the memories and the seats look good in the background.

31. Hold your diploma

Graduate smiling and holding a diploma outdoors.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

A diploma is a tangible item that proves you graduated. It’s an important piece of paper, so take a photo with it.

Make sure you look happy while holding it. You’ve worked hard to get here.

You can hold a diploma in one hand or both hands. Another option is to focus on the diploma while blurring out yourself.

32. Capture a candid moment

Graduate holding a diploma and hugging their dad.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

Candid moments are the best because they’re genuine. Your emotions and actions are sincere.

When you look back at candid moments, they’ll evoke the same emotions you felt and be heartwarming.

Every graduation photoshoot needs to have candid images.

Conclusion

After graduating, almost everything in life changes. Graduation pictures serve as a reminder of the hard work leading up to it and serve as a significant point in life.

So, do different poses and try the unique and creative graduation photoshoot ideas. You’ll have fun pictures that serve as a memory to look back on in the years to come.

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

About David Em

David Em.

David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.

About Portraits Refined

Portraits Refined (PR) is a media company that publishes the latest expert-backed portrait photography tips, in-depth camera gear reviews, and helpful advice to grow your photography business.

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