How to Light Graduation Photos

When you are taking graduation photos, you want to be sure that you get the best pictures possible. In order to do this, you want to be sure that you are able to get good lighting. There are a few tricks and hints that will ensure that your child will have graduation photos that are frame worthy.

Inside Shots

Location is the most important aspect when it comes to getting the right lighting. This is not only important for the photographer, but for the subject as well. You will want to be as close to the stage as possible whenever you are getting the picture of your graduate walking across the stage. It is always a good idea to get some test shots before the ceremony begins so that you will know what the best angle and setting will be for your camera.

Outside Shots

You will need to be sure that you are able to get really good outside shots. The lighting for these is usually really simple as long as it is daylight. Even on cloudy days, you will be able to benefit from natural lighting. It is usually a good idea to show up early and take pictures before the ceremony. That way everybody will still look fresh. Take notice of how the graduation cap is resting on the graduate's head. You will need to be sure that it is not casting too much of a shadow, as this could cover up her face and ruin the shot.

You will need to have sun on her face, but not so much that she is squinting. If you cannot find a good angle, then simply position her cap where the shadow is not a problem.


You will need to be sure that you have poses picked out. Make sure that each pose has enough light. You will need to do this by checking the flash on your camera to make sure it is not too bright. Find as much natural light as you can for each shot. Even inside, you will need to position the graduate as close to the lights as possible without them glaring down on her. Test shots are going to be necessary to make sure that you are able to get just enough light without it becoming overbearing.


Make sure that you change the settings accordingly with your camera; use the indoor settings indoors and outdoor settings outdoors. If you are not familiar with the settings on your camera, then it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with them before the ceremony. Get started on this about a week before the graduation so that you will be ready to go when the big day comes.

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