It wasn’t until the last few years that I started to see a ton of grad sessions. Especially for college seniors. Now that they are a thing though, I LOVE them and have had 4 in the last few weeks alone! When I graduated from WSU last year I actually planned to hire someone to take my grad session and then Covid hit and I never even got a cap and gown. I know I’m a little late since graduation season is almost over, but I figured this would be a good way to share some of the images from my latest grad sessions and share all the college senior session tips I never got to use for my own grad session with you!

What to Wear Under The Gown

I always recommend bringing your cap and gown and wearing a dress or outfit underneath that matches (usually white or black goes with any color gown). Even if you have a black or white gown, I still recommend lighter more neutral colors underneath for a few reasons:

  1. We’re going to be taking lots of pictures with just your cap. You’re going to want whatever you’re wearing underneath to match your cap and look good with or without the gown.
  2. Wearing super bright colors or bold patterns distracts from what is supposed to be the center of attention- You and your big smile since you’re officially done with school!

Whatever you do decide to wear underneath your gown, you can always send pictures to your photographer and he/she will point you in the right direction for your vision and how you want your photos to look.

What to Bring

Your grad session can be so fun just from the prop shots alone! Here’s a quick list of what I recommend bringing:

  • Your cap and gown (bonus points if you decorated your cap because those shots are always so cute!)
  • A bottle of (cheap) champagne. We will waste 90% of it to get that cute spraying shot so you don’t need to get anything fancy.
  • A confetti popper. I recommend buying the shiny confetti that comes out in longer strands. It’s easier to clean up and it shows up better in the pictures! We’ll definitely be cleaning up whatever kind you do bring, so make it easy on both of us!
  • Any cords or medals you’ve earned, your diploma, any props related to your major

Where to Go

College campuses are my go-to for college grad sessions. Most campuses are super historic, have beautiful landscape, super cool buildings, or all of the above! Plus, you spent so much time there we might as well capture it!

Even for high school cap and gown sessions I recommend your school. If you can get access to your football field or even just some shots in front of the building I say go for it! What better way to remember all those years than super cue pictures at the place it all happened?!

If for whatever reason your campus isn’t an option or just not your style, ask your photographer for location recommendations! I have a ton of spots I use and will gladly refer my clients to. I also have an experience guide that gives some out of the box location ideas that maybe you have access to that you never even thought to use. The possibilities are endless!

If you’re a college senior, check out my blog for What To Wear For Your Senior Session! I hope these college senior session tips were helpful!

Tips for Your College Senior Session | From a Michigan Senior Photographer

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Photography by Sydney Madison Photography, LLC. All rights reserved.