Guide For Your Graduation Pictures

With graduation right around the corner, many seniors are seen walking around and on campus taking graduation photos in front of Geisel Library or on Library Walk. If you are like me, where you have a full schedule of classes, work, and social activities to attend, you may find taking graduation pictures a stressful process. However, I truly recommend it, as the experience and photos will be unforgettable and sentimental. Therefore, here is a quick guide for you to ease into taking some amazing graduation photos.

Photographer and Friends

If you have a friend who enjoys photography, ask them if they can do you a favor; it may be better to ask a friend so you feel more comfortable. If you do not know any photographer friends, I’d recommend searching on Facebook; because during this time of the year, many photographers are advertising their offers online. Be sure to check out their portfolios, reviews, and whether or not the session fits within your budget and schedule.

If you are an introvert and a little awkward, like me, I’d highly recommend bringing a couple of friends. This not only makes the experience more fun, but it eases the tension of being the center of attention. Furthermore, some photographers offer discounts for a group session. The only downside is the more people you include, the more complicated scheduling will become so I would refrain from inviting no more than two or three friends.

Props and an Outfit

Yes, you are the star of the shoot and the entire focus should be on you. However, a few accessories would not hurt. Consider bringing champagne, biodegradable glitter, balloons, or any other props you think would add a theme for your photo shoot. It is very common to wear a graduation stole and semi-formal attire; a dress for ladies and a slim-fit shirt and dress pants for men. Take notice that the University of California San Diego’s graduation stole colors are royal blue and gold, so choosing a deep blue dress or shirt may not be ideal. By the end of the day, the photos are for your own memories — there is no dress code, so wear whatever makes you feel great to capture the moment. If you want, break the conventions and rock a jumpsuit or shorts!

Take weather and the location of the shoot into account when selecting your outfit. If you are planning to go to a beach, long dresses and pants may cause inconvenience. For those who want to wear high heels, consider the amount of walking needed and carry bandages and comfortable shoes to change. If the location of the shoot is windy, using double-sided tape will temporarily prevent your stole from flying around.


As students of UCSD, it is ordinary for students to take pictures in the heart of the campus, Geisel Library. Indeed, it provides stunning backgrounds and a clear city view, but consider other parts of campus or even other San Diego landmarks. Within 4 miles away from Geisel Library, Scripps Pier provides the iconic architecture while incorporating a beach view. Rady School of Management gives a modern and professional aesthetic while the eucalyptus trees by Muir College have a rustic feeling. A picture in front of your major’s department building may trigger both happy and painful memories.

There are a countless number of places in San Diego that are photo-friendly. Balboa Park, Old Town, Seaport Village, Coronado Island, or Sunset Cliffs are also great places to shoot outside of campus. If you and your friends always hang out at a certain restaurant or café, consider asking the staff before the shoot if you can have a photoshoot session there. All in all, these are just some ideas that you can think about before you decide.

Through careful planning, most aspects of your photoshoot will be fine. Ideally, you should already have an envision of what you want to incorporate such as jumping, throwing your cap in the air, or any specific poses before the start of the shoot so you do not waste time. Lastly, be sure to tip your photographer, bring water, makeup for touch-ups, and lots of smiles! Congratulations Class of 2019!