Graduation shoots are so fun, but inevitably I get the question:“What Props Should I bring to my Graduation shoot?”
“What Props Should I bring to my Graduation shoot?” This time of year I get TONS of graduates wanting photoshoots – and I LOVE it! It’s a great way to celebrate and mark the achievement. I usually steer my graduation clients towards a mini session if they are looking for something of JUST them, but if it’s something where they are incorporating family members we go for a full hour long session so we can really relax and make the most of our time together.
While I am not a big prop-heavy photographer, I do think that Graduate shoots are a great spot to use them because they can really spice up the shoot into more of a celebration. What Props should I bring to my Graduation shoot seems like something someone who loved props would write about… but I guess it’s good to be the exception!
The good news is you don’t need to haul around a 100 pounds of props to make the most out of our time together. I try to focus on my clients bringing props that aren’t heavy or hard to manage during the shoot.
- Cap & Gown
Cap and gown are one of the best props to have. The outfit is…. ridiculous. I mean, I will NEVER understand why when people earn this hard-to-get thing we give them a funny hat and crazy robe like it’s some kind of reward? Feels like a cosmic joke – that being said, they photograph beautifully! I love playing with the combo of cap and gown, and then throwing the hat, and walking so everything flows nicely…. it really adds so much to the shoot.
This is such a small easy prop to bring and it really adds a fun pop to the shoot. I make sure to not do the glitter shots until the end (because obviously it’s glitter, and if we did it in the very beginning it would be in EVERY shot) but the pay off for such a small prop is huge. It really says celebration without over-stating it! It’s also a fun little nod to your alma mater’s colors without being garish and over stated.
There is NO better way to say celebration in a graduation shoot than a little bit of bubbly! I adore champagne as a prop – regardless of if it’s a grad shoot or an engagement (OK, maybe I just love champagne!) but it really does make for a fantastic prop. It says celebration, it says I’m done, it says it all. Bonus, it’s not a HUGE prop to carry around. It fits easily into a bag, and it doesn’t need a glass because there is something so “I’m DONE” about drinking right out of the bottle.
4. Something with the year on it
Something with the year on it is a good reminder down the road of that time of your life. It kind of marks the event in time. The argument would be that it “dates” the photos, but I think that is a good thing! You want to look back and remember how far you’ve come since your graduation date. Some great things for that can be small like your tassel, big mylar balloons, or even just a chalk board where you write the date on it.
5. Family & or Friends!
I absolutely don’t mind doing shoots with just the graduate. I’ve had some really great shoots with just one person. That being said, I LOVE how the family lights up during the shoot. The way the love to share the milestone together really makes for a great time! Also, sometimes friends are a great addition to the shoot as well. Or your classmates. It’s nice to look back on those relationships.
6. Your fun crafted Graduation Cap
I know I already said “Cap and Gown” but I Looooove when people decorate the top of their cap then bring that to the graduation shoot. It’s such a cute personal touch, and we can really get some fun shots with that. I am a lover of all things crafts, so OBVIOUSLY I love the hand-crafted bits, but this just goes so far with what we can do with it for shots!
Those are some of my go-to props for grad shoots. Understandably they’re not that extravagant or expensive, but I really think they go SO far when we are doing something special like a graduation photoshoot! Most of the shots above are from University of Central Florida . If you’re interested in booking a grad shoot with me, I do also photograph high school seniors (Without the champagne!) and it makes a great gift to give someone when they graduate! I always include a headshot in the session so the graduate can use that on their social media and linkedin as they progress into the world of adulting.
You can contact me for booking at Kate@KateMcLeanPhotography.com or fill out the contact form. I am always available for questions about shoots and I would love to help get you some memorable moments to mark this special achievement!