To Grad Photo or not to Grad Photo?

There are milestones in every life we want to remember more others. 

Our wedding day, our baby's first days, celebrations of special birthdays, events of significance.

And we want to remember them in images we can look back on.

Graduation is one of those times, whether it be from preschool, middle school, high school, college or university, it is a moment of triumph in our life when we celebrate the completion of years of work and the accomplishments we have made. 

Students from Elmira in the play "Sleepy Hollow" - Memories for
those for whom drama was a big part of their high school career.
Sometimes the significance of the moment is lost on the one actually graduating, and is more profound to those who have watched the individual grow and develop through their educational experience. It is easy for the graduate to let it slip by as they look to the future and the next step, especially in these days when we find it harder to "stop and smell the roses". The time can just slip by and before you know it you hardly remember those days when they first graduated.

Photos of a Grad remind us of who they were and what they looked at. That is why many people purchase "Grad" photo packages, or even annual pictures of their children so that they can show the progress they have made, see how things have changed and remember. But those images may not capture the struggles and hard work it took to reach the milestone. 

Cap and Gown images are cool, and for some may be the only portrait package they ever have. And that may be the only way you think of Grad photos - studio lights, cap, gown, flowers, scroll and a smile full of braces. But there are other options.

Imagine your grad photo taken in a park, or on the school grounds. Imagine "contextualization" of the grad and who they are at that moment - an environmental photograph. Are they an anthlete? How about in uniform, or with their basketball, or even shooting hoops on the court or running a play on the football field. Are they an academic? Going into the field of medicine? How about in a lab, or in a lab coat? Musician? How about with their instrument? Were they into cars? How about in the garage, working on that beater they got running?

Are any of these things captured in a traditional grad package? Not really.

A Professional Photographer can work with you to stage a natural looking photo that can express who your Grad really is. You may still want some basic cap and gown type images, but why not take it up a notch and create an image that will truly reflect who your Grad is, not just what they look like.

And it's not all that expensive either! By the time you pay for prints of  your Grad from a traditional school photographer, you will pay as much, or sometimes even more than you would for a professional photo session. A basic package can cost you easily $100-$500 before you are done. For comparison, my sessions are $135/hr if you want a disk of images you can print yourself and less if you want to purchase prints individually.

In the end, the question is, what kind of image do you want to remember what your Grad was like?... Does it show how far they have come... Does it show where they are going.

Do you need the cap and gown? Maybe. but why not consider an environmental or location session and take it up a notch?

(c) 2014 by Gary Scott,


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