How to Take Professional Looking Graduation Photos with a Point-and-Shoot

You don't have to be a professional photographer to capture some great graduation photos with a simple point and shoot camera. Here are a few simple tricks for capturing some great photos.

Know Your Camera First

Before you start trying to capture important photos, you should spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with your camera and the settings. It's never a good idea to use a brand new camera for an important event like a graduation. If you are working with a new camera, read through the operation manual and make sure you understand all of the settings. This will prevent you from getting blurry or bad photos.

Use a Tripod

Even though a tripod may be bulky and awkward to carry around, it's a good accessory to have for an important event. Graduation day is not the day to rely on a shaky hand. Most point and shoot cameras can attach to a tripod. Using a tripod will allow you to grab the focus needed with no movement from your hand.


Lighting is important no matter what type of photograph is being taken. The best lighting is natural light. Avoid using the flash if possible. This will prevent the photos from looking washed out. If the graduation event is outdoors, keep in mind the time of the day will affect the lighting in the photo. Mid-afternoon when the sun is high will be the most difficult time to capture great outdoor photos. This is because the lighting will cause shadows. For these situations, it's best to get as many candid shots as possible, and use a photo editing software to correct anything after the fact.


Whenever you are setting up the shots for certain poses, make sure that you get a good background. You do not want a background that is going to take away from the graduate. This means something as simple as a brick wall or a tree will work really well. Just make sure that the lighting is not affected by the background that you choose. Choose a background where it is not overly crowded. You do not want to have to worry about directing traffic while you are taking pictures.


You want to get several different types of shots when it comes to this type of event. Planned poses that are serious and planned poses that are funny are always a good idea. You will also want to make sure that you have some candid shots as well. These help to capture the moment and the overall atmosphere of the graduation. There are important moments of a graduation that everybody wants to try to get--such as when all the hats are thrown in the air. Always remember to ask the graduate if there is any type of picture that he wants taken. It is, after all, his big day. 

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