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How to avoid taking boring graduation photography?

4 ways to help you take a good graduation photoshoot from the perspective of a freelance photographer.

Written by Dirgan Fasa | Edited by: Circular Connection

self-potrait graduation photoshoot by Dirgan Fasa

Photo Courtesy of Dirgan Fasa


Happy graduation everyone!

“In 2019, I have photographed 10 graduation photoshoots. 70% of my clients are foreign students from various universities in Singapore. These graduation photoshoots would serve as beautiful momentos before they go back to their own countries.”

The graduation photoshoots that I have done are different from the normal and rigid graduation photoshoots which are done in a photo studio with your family members. All my clients have asked for outdoor graduation photography. Since I am a freelance photographer who is based in Singapore, I always love to incorporate the beauty of Singapore into their graduation photoshoots.

So, whether you are a photographer like myself or a graduating student who is looking for ideas to make your graduation photography not boring, let me share a few basic tips regarding this:

family graduation photoshoot botanic garden  by Dirgan Fasa
friends graduation photoshoot  by Dirgan Fasa

Photo Courtesy of Dirgan Fasa

1. Check how many people will participate in the photoshoot.

The more the merrier! We can create various poses and staging among them. Besides that, you have to be familiar with the chosen theme for the photoshoot. Clarify with them whether they want a family graduation photoshoot or best friends graduation photoshoot. It makes a whole lot different in terms of the photography techniques and approaches that will be taken.

SMU graduation photoshoot by Dirgan Fasa

Photo Courtesy of Dirgan Fasa

2. Make sure the timing of the photoshoot favours you.

Graduation photography is once in a lifetime moment for students. As a photographer, you have to decide the time of the day that favours you. Don’t shoot between 10 am - 4 pm! The harsh sunlight will create unfavourable shadows on your subject. Personally, I will shoot either between 7 am - 9 am or 5 pm - 7 pm. When you think you can settle this issue in Photoshop, you are wrong! This will only degrade the quality of your images.

NAFA graduation photoshoot  by Dirgan Fasa
family graduation photgraphy by Dirgan Fasa

Photo Courtesy of Dirgan Fasa

3. Decide what lenses you need.

Lens selection is very important after you have completed point number one above. As the camera body is static and doesn’t affect much for this kind of photography, the selection of lenses is my top priority.

If the participants involved in the photoshoot are more than 4 people, I will always carry a 24-70 mm lens with me. I will also bring a 16-35 mm lens for my backup, in case they want to do a very wide shot. But if the participants are less than 4 people, I will focus on 50mm and 85mm lenses to isolate the subjects more.

couple graduation photography by Dirgan Fasa

Photo Courtesy of Dirgan Fasa

4. Make sure your lighting is sufficient.

Who can predict natural light? Even the perfect sunset moment will not show its golden tone if the clouds cover the sky entirely. As a result, you are left with dark exposure and forced to increase the ISO of your camera in which it will create a grainy and sometimes unusable image. The ability to conquer artificial light in your photography journey is your biggest asset.

So, if you are worried about how you should take your graduation photography, Don’t be! Some experienced photographers can help you solve this issue. They will capture the different moments of your graduation such as receiving your graduation certificate on the stage and even graduation photos with your family and friends.

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For more information on Dirgan Fasa, you can take a look at "A snapshot of Dirgan Fasa's Life as freelance photographer in Singapore."

For more information on Dirgan Fasa’s photography portfolio, you may visit his Instagram account at @dirganfasapixels and @dirganfasa

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