If you have a new graduate in the family, you are about to embark on one of the biggest occasions for photography. Along with weddings, graduation is a milestone event that we want to capture in gorgeous colour.
Photographing a special event, particularly one this big, can be a daunting task. We have some tips to take dynamic, beautiful images that will memorialize this big day.
Before the ceremony: Use your wide-angle lens
Sometimes taking fantastic photos means breaking the rules—and I am not talking about rules of composition here. When the spectators are told to take their seats, hang back. As the crowd thins out, you will be left with just the robed graduates lining up and beginning the procession. Use a wide-angle lens for a stunning, grand effect.
During the ceremony: High ISO setting
Auditoriums have terrible lighting, and their huge size makes a flash almost pointless. To capture the special moments on stage, try changing your ISO setting. The ISO setting refers to the image sensor’s sensitivity to light: the higher the ISO setting, the less light you will need for a proper exposure. This will allow you to take very low light photographs. You should be able to get a proper exposure with no flash.
After the ceremony: Fill flash
After the ceremony, the graduates will spill outdoors to meet up with family and friends. When shooting outdoors, particularly on a bright sunny day, the strong light can create harsh shadows. For the best pictures, move your subjects into a shaded area where the light is more diffuse.
Another little trick is to use your flash outdoors. Using your flash on a sunny day may seem counter-intuitive, but the extra puff of light helps to illuminate the shadows, giving a more flattering photo.
Group shots: Tripod
Between the formal ceremony and the celebrations afterwards, graduations call for many group shots. Perhaps the most important, but under-used, piece of equipment is the tripod.
Group shots require a little planning—check out the light, background, people, and poses. Setting up your tripod means you can carefully choose lighting and background before you introduce different people and different poses.
Setting up a tripod also helps focus the group on the photo. When your subjects are celebrating, they may be hard to corral for a nice photo. The tripod tells your subjects that you mean business, and helps to direct them into the right positions.
Snap lots: Continuous shooting mode
When photographing big events, don’t be shy about taking multiple shots. Take a look at the options on your camera: mine has the option to shoot several pictures in quick succession. This may seem like overkill, but when you are taking a group shot, it is better to spend a little time sifting through many images than to lose the moment because one person blinked.
Get the images off the card and onto your wall
Graduations are milestone events—don’t forget to print your images and share them with others. Enlargements, including 8×10 and 12 x18, are available in an hour; plus, we carry a lovely selection of frames to showcase your print for all to see.
Create a photobook with a collection of photos from elementary school or sports teams. The options are endless. Simply bring 10-20 of your favourite digital files to London Drugs and they’ll help you build a custom photobook – a memorable gift idea for any grad!