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Graduation Poses With Family

Graduation Poses With Family

Graduation is one of the most amazing periods in a person’s life.  For many, it is their first life challenge as an adult.  Education is a journey that can take many years to achieve and is an enormous accomplishment on any level.  Graduating symbolizes the future of what a person is set out to become in their life, while recognizing the achievement of study and performance required to graduate.  The bottom line is graduating is a big deal.  We cheer on our graduates as family members, as friends, and as partners.  We encourage them by attending their ceremony, providing words of glee, and showering them with inspiring gifts. 

It is a time to remember.  Memories look back, but graduation memories, make you look forward as well.  Graduation pictures capture these memories and create something tangible that lasts forever.  The framed photograph of accepting a degree from a prestigious institution, given by a very important person while shaking their hand in accomplishment, are displayed on many professionals’ desks and parents’ walls for this very reason.  These are very important photos. 

Special occasions call for special measures.  We are going to talk about a few graduation photoshoot ideas, with memorable graduation picture poses, that will help you and your family capture the story and relive the celebration anytime.

With the Folks

A good old fashion photograph with mom and dad.  This timeless photo shows off accomplishment, pride, honor, and family.  This is as much of a proud time for parents as it is for their graduate. 


Find a well-lit area with minimal shading and an easy background, group in together with love, hold up the earned degree and start shooting.  Feel free to use the same graduation photo poses with each individual parent.  Take additional more playful photos with each pose, settle things such as looking at each other, laughing, and everyone looking at the degree.  This is a fun time, have fun.

The Whole Family

These photos should include siblings, parents, aunts’, uncles, cousins, and everyone who came to celebrate the ceremony.  Classics are a must, so use the same poses as I mentioned earlier but this time you can take a few photographs with the immediate family, just siblings, and extended family.  Use these shots with friends, professors, and colleagues as well.

Experiment with fun graduation poses with your extended family and sibling photos.

  • Family forms a semi-circle around the graduate with arms held over in arch shape, everyone is smiling and looking at the graduate while the graduate looks at the camera.
  • Sibling sandwiches are always fun poses and creates iconic photos, the frame should be from the torso up.
  • “Bringing home, the bacon” is a theme where you have family on one side of the photo awaiting the arrival of the graduate and on the other side of the photo, the graduate is showing off the diploma while bringing it home, getting ready to begin the next chapter in life.
    • School architecture and buildings make great backgrounds. Use your environment, for example, if the graduate is standing with his back to a school building entrance, this can dramatically add to the effect of such shots as “bringing home the bacon”.

Friends are Family

When we establish lifelong friendships, they usually happen when we are young and in college.  We consider these friends as family and often spend more time with them than with family.  It is college after all.

  • “The strut”. For these grad photo poses, group all graduating friends together with their backs to a building or landmark of the school and have them show off some swagger to symbolize victory over the school behind them.  Try poses with their arms folded, pointing at the university with their degrees, and arms in the air like they just won the lottery.  Usually, one pose can lead to other genuine authentic poses, something special happens when friends are together.
  • Show off some talent. Some graduates may play sports, which makes great graduation poses for guys and girls.  Gather the best friends on the team and throw around the football, softball, or whatever the sport may be while wearing their gowns and caps.  This can also translate into other talents, such ass academics like physics or even chess.  Using physics graduates as an example, you can utilize a chalkboard full of formulas as the background for these overachievers.
  • “The nod” is also one of my favorite grad poses because of the artistic nature. This is where you cascade the graduating friends in a semi profile angle, and all use the same hand to tip their academic cap.  It portrays confidence, solidarity, and respect towards the knowledge achieved.  You can do similar poses with them holding the degree or hats in the air as well.
  • Picture in Picture. This is a fun shoot where you photograph the friends’ taking selfies.  It requires little direction, let them do their thing and snap some photos of the friends having fun.  (See bottom for tools and which cameras works best for this shoot)

Cap and Gown Poses

Photographers love shooting graduations because academic caps and gowns are amazing props while carrying deep meaning.  Let’s look at some tips using these for individual and group photos.

  • You must get a few cool shots of throwing the cap in the air. Include some shots with the graduate and the cap midair in the frame together, and some of just the cap midair.  Use easy backgrounds like the sky or you won’t notice the cap in the photo.  This can take several attempts to get the perfect one, so stay cool and relaxed.
  • Holding up and highlighting the caps tassel is a fun way to demonstrate the completion of this achievement and can be added to any photo pose.
  • “Holding the gown over the shoulder while still wearing the cap poses” - Setting could be anywhere from in school to the street.  Make this a photoshoot, experiment with different angles and capture front and back photos of the subject.  Walking away with the subject’s head turned towards the camera.  For the lady graduates, look for more feminine environments such as flowers, beach, or any artistic landmarks to choose the right location.  You can get many amazing shots utilizing different female graduation poses with the gown over the shoulder.  Also, golden hour is your friend.  Envision her walking into the horizon with her gown over her (away) shoulder as the rays of the setting sun add a beautiful sparkle accent around her.  She will look stunning and gorgeous!

What you will need to capture graduation day

  • A professional Camera and lens
  • Selfie Camera for picture-in picture shots (this selfie camera produces instant photos and makes great for gifting to graduating friends)
  • Mobile stabilizer for smartphone selfies

    Sony a7c
    Graduating is lifetime achievement.  For the best most engaging photos that will last forever, you will need a great camera.  This is a happy but also long day, stay relaxed by being prepared and you will be getting professional shots all day long.  Record video with your camera as well for more fun memorable moments. 

Be proud, capture the moment, celebrate the glory, create the legacy.

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