What Lenses Are Best for Graduation Photos

Graduation ceremonies are an important event documented through photography. The lenses you choose to use for graduation photos should give you the versatility to shoot in different conditions and locations.

Different lenses are chosen for their ability to allow the photographer to shoot close ups while they are a distance away, shoot in low light, or to capture a panoramic view of a venue. Each type of lens can also be used to evoke a certain feel, movement or emotion to your photos.

If you use a mix of the following lenses, the resulting photos will add variety and interest to your photo album or scrapbook.

Wide Angle Lenses

For graduation ceremonies held in large venues such as stadiums, a wide angle lens will enable you to shoot a wide angle view of the scene. More area in front of your camera can be captured, giving you the ability to take photos of the entire stage and of the graduates tossing their caps. Wide angles lenses also enable you to take panoramic shots of subjects that are closer to the camera.

Zoom Lenses

A zoom lens is effective for close up shots if the location that you are shooting from is far from your subject. A general purpose zoom will give you the most control over depth of field and the ability to take a zoomed-in picture while still having a fairly wide shot. With a telephoto zoom, you have a shallow depth of field, however, you can take photos over a greater distance. Used with faster shutter speeds, you can capture moving objects easily while minimizing distortion.

Macro Lenses

This type of lens is a good portrait lens for posed photos before or after the graduation ceremony. Portraits and posed shots give a more formal feel to your photos. A macro lens allows you to capture close details of your subject and is a good choice for a photo of a diploma or head shots of family and friends. The details it can capture can also bring in the emotions of the day to your graduation photos.

The above lenses are typically used with DSLR cameras. They will give you the ability to shoot pictures for any occasion in addition to graduation ceremonies. For experienced photographers, other lens types or variations such as a longer zoom or fast 50 can be used to shoot subjects in particular settings.

Point and shoot digital cameras often have settings for wide angle, zoom and macros. Shooting with these settings can produce good photos, however, using a DSLR camera with the lenses listed above will typically produce more consistent results when used appropriately.
Prior to the ceremony, take test shots and practice using your camera and your lenses so that you are familiar with them and will be comfortable using them. If you are unfamiliar with your equipment, you can miss out on some graduation photos. 

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