Stepping into the final stretch of your academic journey is both exhilarating and bittersweet, marked by the anticipation of graduation day and the memories forged throughout your college experience. It’s time to commemorate this milestone with a grad photo session at the University of Oregon! These 10 tips will help ensure you can make the most of your session and that it best reflects this exciting time of your life.
1. Bring the Vibes (and Your Squad)
This shoot is all about you, so let loose and enjoy it! Bring your best hype person or people and a speaker to play your favorite tunes. Don’t forget to bring pose ideas, props, or anything you want to reflect your unique personality. If you are worried about posing, I have plenty of ideas to help you out!
2. Pack Smart and Comfortable
While UO’s campus isn’t massive, expect some walking. If you’re planning to rock high heels, pack a comfy pair of shoes or sandals to slip into between locations. With all the graduation gear like caps, gowns, tassels, stoles, cords, and other accessories, a spacious tote or wagon can be a lifesaver for keeping everything organized.
Bonus tip for tassels: they are traditionally worn on the right of the cap until after graduation.
3. Iron Your Attire
I cannot emphasize this enough: wrinkles are not a good look in grad photos. Take the time to iron your stole and gown beforehand. Don’t have an iron? Pop them in the dryer with a damp towel for 15 minutes to freshen them up and get rid of creases.
4. Expect Crowds
Graduation season means lots of fellow grads and their photographers are vying for the perfect photo spots. Be patient; you’ll still get your shots, but there might be a bit of a wait for those popular locations. While I will do my best to work around other people, this can eat into your session time.
5. Explore Beyond the Busier, Iconic Spots
The above being said, while right in front of Lillis Hall might be the go-to spot, don’t limit yourself. There are plenty of other amazing locations in that courtyard that will still give you the huge yellow O in the background, but without everyone else’s champagne and confetti all over the ground. If you must have that iconic spot, again, be prepared to wait your turn.
6. Save the Champagne for Last
If champagne is on the agenda, save it for the end. Once that cork pops, there’s no turning back, so choose your moment wisely and make it the grand finale of your session. Regardless of how hard you try to avoid it; you will get wet.
Bonus tip for champagne: (1) pop the cork, (2) put your thumb over the top, (3) make sure your photographer is ready, (4) start shaking it!
7. Identify Meaningful Places
The idea of grad photos is to be representative of your journey throughout college. Whether it’s your favorite study spot in the library or a beloved hangout just off-campus, choose locations that hold significance for you. These photos will be treasured reminders of your time at UO.
8. Infuse Personality into Your Shoot
Make your session uniquely yours by incorporating elements that define you. Did you have a signature bike you rode everywhere? Bring it along! Love a particular campus activity or hobby, like ceramics? Let’s showcase it!
9. Roll with the Weather
I am always willing to reschedule for pouring rain, but sometimes you hope for sun and all you get are clouds. However, oftentimes cloudy skies can add a soft, flattering light to your photos. Embrace whatever the weather brings, knowing your photos will look stunning regardless. (Not to mention cooler temperatures keep the sweat at bay!)
 10. Time Flies
Your grad session will be done before you know it. Embrace the experience, prioritize your favorite locations, and trust that I’ll capture the essence of your UO journey. And remember, if you opt to take photos at Autzen, your time on campus is limited to under an hour, so let’s make every minute count.
As you move forward into the next phase of your life, I hope these photos serve as a reminder for you and your family of the incredible journey you've embarked upon. Congratulations, UO grad, and here's to the adventures that lie ahead!
Want more tips or to brainstorm before your session? Book a free 30-minute phone consultation with me.
Already booked me? Fill out your session questionnaire at least three days before your session.
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