Graduations seem to be a bit more complex than they used to be. My older nephew graduated on Memorial Day two years ago. I can see why that might not have been so popular–especially in a suburb right outside of Indianapolis. Improving upon that plan this year, graduation was on the Thursday before Memorial Day.
However, it was also the last day of the school year. Graduates were supposed to go from school to graduation and be there at 4PM for rehearsal. Then, they would be fed dinner while their families arrived and filled the stands.
Following graduation, the graduates return their caps and gowns before being released to join their families. It wasn’t clear that there would be any opportunity to get a picture of my nephew (let’s call him Sam) in his cap and gown.
So, the night before graduation, we took a few shots in the back yard just in case. While we were at it, I took a few of my brother and sister-in-law, too. My sister-in-law is wonderfully easy to shoot–I caught an all-out crack-up with one eye closed in one shot (not shown) and she still looks great. My brother and nephew are a bit more challenging. I don’t know why.
As I worked with the strobe on a stand with an umbrella out in the yard, I was reminded of a recent class I attended back in Chattanooga. The instructor expressed disgust at the cliche shot of a graduate in front of the school sign. While we were lacking a school sign, I realized I was shooting extremely run-of-the-mill portraits. But, honestly, I had no idea what else to shoot.
Later, I did some searching for cool shots of graduates. What I discovered is that the interesting images were either interesting because they were shot in really cool locations or they were so abstract, you couldn’t see the person who graduated.
Given no control over time of day or the location of the shoot and assuming that we all wanted pictures where we could actually tell it was Sam in them, I need more experience to come up with a really creative approach.
As it is, we got some cute shots of Sam in his cap and gown along with some nice shots of my brother and sister-in-law. And, Tisen had a great time playing ball with whoever wasn’t involved in a shot.
Although, Tisen did have a bit of a run-in with the screen door. He didn’t realize I had to open two doors to let him out and did a complete face plant into the screen in his hurry to join the party. Later, when only the screen was closed, I slid it open and he stopped dead in front of the open door, poking with his nose to make sure it was really open. The dog is not only a fast learner, he can count!
- Portraits in Suburbia (nomadicmainstream.com)