Look Great in Family Graduation Photos
15 Tips to Looking Great in Family Photos

Caught in the frenzy of preparing your graduate to walk across the stage?  Take some time from planning their party and ordering cap and gown to focus on you.  With a few simple tips from these expert photographers, you’ll be able to relax on graduation day, knowing you’ll look your best in photos.  After all, you’ll be reflecting on these images for years to come!

The family pictures that will mean the most to you (and others) will be the most candid. Try to capture family members interacting with each other and the world around them.

Popular Photography, How to Take Great Family Photos

Learn from my mistakes

My daughter’s high school graduation took place in the evening at a local sports stadium.  I had chosen my dress and heels weeks before and thought I had every detail covered.  In the craziness of having family at the house and making sure she had everything she needed, I forgot one very important element of my wardrobe. 

Not until we had almost arrived at the stadium did I realize I was wearing my comfy flip-flops.  Since there was no way to return home and get her to the line up on time, I opted to own my casual look.  Fortunately, I can look at pictures of the day and laugh.  But this snafu could easily have been avoided had I taken some of the steps I’ll share below.

Rock Your Photos

Take the pressure off yourself and your graduate by taking some shots prior to graduation day.  Cap and gowns are usually given out several weeks before graduation, so make the most of that advantage.  Coax your student into a half hour photo shoot in the backyard or front porch by promising you’ll be taking fewer photos on graduation day.

Ask a friend or neighbor to shoot some poses and candid shots of your family together.  If possible, take photos in natural light, avoiding direct sun.  You’ll have more control over all these factors prior to the pressure-filled day.

15 Tips

I interviewed a professional photographer for tips to make family graduation photos their best and here they are:


  •  Wear solids or small, simple prints
  • Choose seasonal colors or colors that don’t clash with graduate’s robe
  • If you’re wearing a dress or skirt, choose knee-length or longer
  • Nothing too low cut

Makeup and Hair

  • Sweep hair out of eyes to ear line, or tuck behind ears to avoid shadows cast over face
  • Avoid long bangs that cover eyes
  • Choose a simple, classic makeup look with mascara and eyeliner at the least
  • Avoid dramatic lip color that will look dated in years to come


  • Form a T with your feet, then relax your knees and shift weight to back foot
  • When posing next to another person, aim your belly button to their hip
  • To avoid a double chin, thrust chin forward, tip down, then to the side
  • Men should never put their full hand in pocket(s), instead place thumbs in pockets
  • In group photos avoid a “line-up”, instead form a semicircle or V, with bodies facing toward center and angled.


  • Stand up straight with shoulders relaxed
  • If sitting, sit up straight and roll shoulders back

Credit:  Amber Walters

Shutter Up COMO, LLC


Graduation Photos You’ll Cherish

Graduation day is a culmination of your student’s hard work and a celebration of your supportive parenting.  It can also be a day filled with unexpected emotion.  If you’re feeling a bit frazzled by the events to come, arm yourself with a plan for great family memories.  Trust me, the day will be a blur.  You’ll be so happy you took the time to get this part right.

15 Tips for Great Family Photos
Rock Your Family Grad Photos/15 Tips