College Graduation Picture Ideas For Guys: What Works

That moment when you finally graduate from college is a landmark moment in any young man’s life, which is exactly why it’s so important to mark the achievement with some incredible photos, which will help you to reminisce on the day fondly.

College Graduation Picture Ideas For Guys: What Works

Whether you’re looking to take some classic graduation photos, or you’re looking to put a more contemporary spin on the portrayal of your day, in this guide, we’ll take you through a range of different ideas that will help you to capture your day perfectly.

You can pick and choose as many of these ideas as you would like to help create the best collection of graduation images possible, which will look excellent framed on your wall, or even in a memory book.

From everything to the outfits, the poses, and what to include in your photos, this guide has everything you could ever need, so if you’ve been panicking about what you should be doing for your graduation pictures, then this guide will help you to understand exactly what works!

So, let’s get started!

1. Include Campus Landmarks

A simple way to help commemorate your time in college on your graduation day is to have some of your photos taken in front of the important landmarks found on your campus.

This can include both places of importance on the campus, as well as places on the campus where you used to hang out most, think of places like the library where you spent your time studying, that statue where you always used to meet your friends, or even the main quad.

By including such important landmarks in your pictures, you’ll be able to instantly transport yourself back to your days in college each time you look at them, and since many of the popular landmarks found on your campus will be representations of academic vigor, you’ll also be reminded of all of the hard work and effort you put into your degree.

If you’re going to try and include landmarks in your pictures, then it’s important to be creative, and try to think outside of the box as much as possible. Try plenty of different poses and angles for the best effect.

Remember, the key is to ensure that you’re still the center of attention, while including the landmark as naturally as possible.

2. Showing Off Your Major

Another great way to honor your time in college is to include something that links to your major in your graduation photos, or at least a couple of them.

No matter whether you studied biology, art, or something else, there’s always something that you can bring into your photos to help display your knowledge in the field.

Whether you decide to bring something as simple as a textbook, a test tube for the science degrees, a calculator for those who have studied maths, or a paintbrush for those who majored in art, you probably get what we’re saying.

Alternatively, you could hold your photo shoot in somewhere that represents your major instead.

For example, if you studied botanical biology, you could have your pictures taken amongst an array of plants, or if you majored in journalism, why not try to find a vintage typewriter to take a photo with on a desk?

Just this small amount of creativity will help to ensure that your graduation pictures stand out from the crowd, and help to display your passion for your major too. Which will look even better when it comes back to reminiscing on your days in college.

3. Use A Frame

If you’re someone who likes getting involved with arts and crafts, then why not try creating a graduation-themed frame to use throughout your graduation photos?

There are a number of different ways you can use a frame like this too, which means that you’ll be able to incorporate it in many different ways.

The first option for using a frame like this is to simply hold it in front of you during your photos, which will help to center the photo, and place you as the focus of attention.

Plus, since you can make the frame with your own designs and college colors, you’ll be able to create a unique and playful set of photos to commemorate your graduation.

You could also simply use the frame as a backdrop for your photos, and invite friends and family to share the frame with you for the photos.

While you might not want to use a frame like this for every photo you take, it’s definitely a great way to get some more casual and relaxed photographs of your big day!

4. Include Friends And Family

College can be a particularly difficult time, with huge amounts of pressure on your shoulders as you complete your major.

So what better way to commemorate your achievements than sharing it with the friends and family that supported you all the way through?

Once you finish college, you might find that your friends begin to move away to chase their own dreams, so it’s always nice to have some photographs that will allow you to preserve the memories of your time spent together in college.

You could choose to get all of your closest friends into one big photo in order to celebrate your achievements, or if you have different friends in different groups, take photos with your friends individually instead.

When it comes to your family, it’s always a great idea to try and get a nice group photo of all of your family together, which will look perfect when put in a frame and placed on a wall, especially if you place it next to your degree.

No matter which way you decide to incorporate your friends and family into your graduation pictures, it’s always something that you’ll be able to look back on and cherish forever.

5. Dress To Impress

Your graduation day is one of the biggest days of your life, perhaps falling just short of your wedding day, which is exactly why you should always ensure that you’re looking your best for your graduation photos.

In this case, you’ll want to be wearing some form of suit and tie, paired with smart dress shoes, which will help to give you a formal look worthy of celebrating this momentous occasion.

This doesn’t mean that you have to choose a plain black or navy suit though, you could opt for a patterned suit, or add a splash of personality with a crazy tie.

Although a common choice is to try and complement your suit color with the college colors, which will help to show your pride in attending that specific college.

While it’s important to look the part on the big day, you’ll also want to ensure that your graduation day outfit is going to be comfortable, and provide you with plenty of confidence.

If you don’t feel good in your outfit, then it’s going to show when it comes to the pictures, and no one wants to look back on their day with regret!

6. Try Natural Settings

If you’re trying to create timeless photos of your graduation day, then why not opt to take some photos that involve a more natural setting?

Being photographed while being surrounded by natural beauty is an excellent way to bring a sense of warmth and serenity to your photos, and will also help to make them more unique too.

It is worth putting a good amount of consideration into the settings you choose for your pictures, and while a large portion of it comes down to personal preference, you’ll also need to consider the conditions of the area.

For example, if you’re wearing formal clothing, you might not want to be pictured somewhere that will lead to your clothes getting wet or dirty!

Mountains in the background, trees in the park, or even the sea and beach will all make for stunning backdrop scenery for your graduation pictures, and since they will all offer a variety of different textures and colors, it’s worth visiting a few prospective locations ahead of time for you to get the shot right.

Of course, the only issue with being pictured in a natural setting is that you can’t always control the weather, which means that you might need to accept defeat if you’re unlucky enough for it to rain on your graduation day!

7. Strike A Pose

One of the best ways to ensure that your graduation pictures look the part is to ensure that you diversify the poses you do throughout your photos, especially if you plan on placing them on the wall.

A good idea is always to do plenty of research on the poses you plan on using for your graduation pictures, and to practice them ahead of time, which will help to make your pictures on the actual day look even more natural.

Some of the poses you should consider include standing tall and proud, keeping your chin up, and with your chest out, which will help to convey a sense of pride and confidence in your achievements.

For a more relaxed look, you might decide to sit on a chair or a bench, ensuring that you have a nice big smile on your face too.

Try to find poses that are going to help convey yourself as a person, and don’t feel forced into posing a particular way, especially if it is one that doesn’t suit you.

Remember, these are the photos that are going to help remind you of one of the biggest achievements in your life, so it’s worth practicing how you’re going to pose before you do it to help ensure that they look good!

8. Showing Personality

In your photos you’ll want to make sure that you convey plenty of personality. Remember these pictures are all about documenting your day and commemorating your achievements as a student, which is also a fundamental time for growth as a person.

As such, you’ll want to make sure that your graduation pictures reflect who you are.

There are a number of different ways that you can show off your personality throughout your photos, but the key factor is to remember to just be yourself.

If you’ve got a smile that everyone loves, then don’t be afraid to show it off for the pictures, or if you’ve got a distinct go-to pose, then why not pull it out for at least one of the photos?

While it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need to spend the entire day looking all serious and stoic for the photos, the best pictures are always the ones where it looks like you’re enjoying yourself, so just try to enjoy your day as much as possible, and be sure to grab as many pictures as you can along the way.

Overall, there are many different ways of expressing yourself and demonstrating your personality throughout your graduation pictures, just make sure that you don’t compromise on it for anyone else’s sake!

9. Include Your Passion

If you’re looking for ways of personalizing your graduation pictures, then including a nod or ode to your passions and hobbies in your pictures is an excellent way to do so (see also “Photographing Your Child’s Hobbies And Interests“), and will help to create unique photos that have an extra layer of meaning and significance to you.

For example, if you’re a musician, you might want to include your instruments as a prop throughout your photos.

Another way of incorporating your passions into your photos is with the setting, so if you surf, why not have your photos taken at the beach? Or if you’re an artist in your spare time, why not have an art studio as your backdrop?

Poses and expressions are also a great way of demonstrating your passions and hobbies in your photos, particularly if you’re someone who is a performing arts student, or someone who does dance.

No matter how you decide to incorporate your hobbies and passions into your graduation pictures, it’s an excellent way to showcase both your incredible achievements, and your interests all at the same time, giving those photos that extra personal touch, and making them ones that you will remember forever!

10. Honor Your Heritage

Another way to add a personal and meaningful touch to your graduation photos is by honoring your cultural heritage and identity, and there are plenty of great ways to do this throughout your graduation pictures.

One of the best ways to do this is to wear something traditional from your culture. This might be in the form of clothing, an accessory, or something else that is considered culturally significant in your culture.

It’s a great way to not only demonstrate your achievements, but to also celebrate where you come from.

Alternatively, there might be cultural landmarks close by that are significant to you and your family, if so, you could have your graduation pictures taken there, which will help to inlay your photos and celebrations with even more personal meaning.

By honoring your culture and heritage in your graduation pictures, you’re not only showcasing your history, but also your future too, and you’ll also be making sure that your pictures provide a true reflection of who you are.

Of course, you’ll need to ensure that your college is allowing you to wear your traditional clothes, because while many do, others often have a strict dress code.

If it doesn’t mention it anywhere in the dress code, then it’s worth getting in contact with your college to see if an exception can be made.

11. Candid Shots

If you’re wanting to have your graduation pictures look natural and relaxed, then you’re going to want to try and get some candid shots whilst taking pictures.

These unscripted photos are a great way to capture the raw and honest emotion you feel throughout the day.

Candid shots are slightly harder to achieve than you might think, and it’s better to ask someone who has at least some experience with taking candid shots if they can do it for you throughout the day, or by giving someone enough time to practice first.

This is because candid shots can often be caught at the wrong moments, when you’re not looking particularly photogenic, and if all you have of your special day is a load of bad pictures (Also check out What Makes A Bad Photograph), then you’re going to be upset.

As a tip, if you’re going to be taking candid shots, try to relax as much as possible, it’s easy to get worked up knowing you’re on camera, but it’s important to just focus on being as present in the moment as you can, which will help to convey plenty of emotion.

You might even want to wait until you’re amongst friends and school peers before you start taking pictures, as they’ll allow you to be captured at your happiest.

12. Include Your Degree Certificate

Considering that your graduation day is a celebration of your academic accomplishments, it makes sense that you include your degree scroll in your photos on the big day, and it’s an excellent way to show off your achievement.

Holding your degree or diploma certificate in the photos is usually the most common way of incorporating it into the photographs, and these photos often make for great formal shots of your day, and work perfectly in conjunction with some of the more relaxed shot ideas we’ve provided so far.

Typically, these types of photos will be organized by your college, where they’ll hire a professional photographer to come and take them, while providing you with a fake prop certificate scroll just for the photo.

This means all you’ll need to do is pay the fee stated by your college, and you should be given a timeslot by the college for when your photo will be taken.

While having photos taken on your phone or on your own camera are certainly cheaper options, and make for quicker uploading to social media, it’s always a good idea to get some professional shots done if you can, as they will likely have a professional lighting setup, allowing them to capture you at your best!

13. Favorite Sports

If you’ve participated in sports throughout your time in college, then you’ll definitely want to think about including your passion for sports into your college graduation pictures.

Being able to represent your college in sporting activities is always a huge honor, so why not demonstrate your love for the team one last time?

There are a couple of different ways that you can involve your sporting exploits into your graduation photos.

For example, why not wear or hold your jersey during some of your graduation pictures? It’s a great way to show off your involvement in the team, and will also help to personalize your photos even more.

Alternatively, you could include various items of equipment from your chosen sport in your photos.

If you’re a basketball player, then why not hold a basketball, or hold a football for those who have been a part of the college’s football team?

Another great idea is to have some of your graduation pictures taken on the court or pitch that you frequently played on, which will serve as an excellent ode to your days as a player for the college.

So, if you want your college graduation pictures to demonstrate a true reflection of your time spent in college, then you should definitely consider including some nods to your sporty side throughout your pictures.

14. Play With Lighting

One of the best ways to help you ensure that your graduation pictures stand out from the crowd is to play around with the lighting used in your pictures.

No matter whether you decide to have your graduation pictures done in a professional setting, or in natural light, the lighting you incorporate is a great way to alter the mood and dimensions of your pictures.

Outdoor settings that feature plenty of natural lighting are great at providing a flattering, soft glow to your pictures, and you could even make use of some backlighting to make your photos more dramatic too.

Alternatively, artificial lighting can be used to help achieve the desired look for your graduation pictures, so play around with things such as a spotlight, or colored lighting, to see what is going to work best for you on your big day.

Shadows are also a great way to change the depth and dimension of your graduation pictures, posing in front of a bright window or doorway is always a great way to help cast shadow effects throughout your photos.

Incorporating shadows can be difficult, so it’s always best to try and experiment with it as much as possible before you try it out for your graduation pictures.

15. Include Your Pet

As important as our friends and family are in our lives, we all know that pets are the ones that truly help us the most during our tough times, which is exactly why you should consider including them in your pictures come graduation day.

Not only does including your pet in your graduation photos make for pictures that are bursting with wholesomeness and personality, but it also means that you get to spend your special day with your favorite friend too.

Whether you decide to have a picture with your pet in the foreground or the background as you receive your degree, both are a great way to make sure that your special day is shared with the whole family.

If they are comfortable with it, you could even try making your pet a copy of your cap and gown to wear for the big day, which will certainly make for some funny pictures on the day.

Of course, if you’re going to be involving your pet in your photos, you’ll need to make sure that they are safe and comfortable, and it might not be a good idea to include them if they’re notoriously badly behaved too, as you might end up with a ruined gown.

So, whether you have a dog, cat, or another type of pet that you want to get involved with your photo shoot, as long as they are well-behaved, don’t be afraid to include them in your celebrations!

Final Thoughts

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this guide to some of the best ideas for guys that are looking for ideas for their college graduation pictures.

It can be quite stressful trying to figure out exactly what sort of pictures you’d like to commemorate your special day, but hopefully, with the help of this guide, you’ll be able to document your special day perfectly.

So, plan your outfit for the day, practice your poses, and make sure that you greet every camera with your smile, and you’ll be sure to have some incredible pictures of your college graduation to look back on!

Frequently Asked Questions

Guys often have a load of questions that they want answering about their graduation day, so if you’ve got a question in mind, then we might be able to help, so check out our convenient FAQ guide below to see if we can help you!

Should I Smile In My College Graduation Pictures?

Of course! The day is all about celebrating your success and achievements as a student, so it would come across as strange if you didn’t look happy in your photographs.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons why you might be slightly stressed on your graduation day, but even so, you should always be sure to keep on smiling for the cameras!

How Do I Look Good In My College Graduation Pictures?

Looking good in your college graduation pictures is important, but can also become a subject of stress ahead of the special day.

The best way to ensure that you look good in your pictures is to wear smart but comfortable attire that allows you to feel confident.

It’s also worth practicing some poses at home in the mirror ahead of the day.

If you begin doing poses that feel unnatural to you on the day, the pictures are always going to come across as slightly awkward, whereas practicing them will help you to become comfortable and more confident with your positioning.

What Time Of Day Is Best For Graduation Pictures?

While you can have your pictures taken at any time of day, especially if they’re going to be taken indoors, photographers will often favor what is known as “golden hour” when it comes to taking pictures outdoors.

Golden hour is an hour after sunrise, and the hour before sunset, so the golden hour before sunset is going to be your best bet at getting some beautiful pictures.

What Should I Do Before My Graduation Pictures Photoshoot?

Before you begin your photoshoot, there are many things you should do to help ensure that the shoot goes as smoothly as possible.

The first thing is to get a good night’s sleep before the shoot, you must look fresh and well-rested for the shoot, and it’ll also mean that you’re less irritable as you get placed into different poses.

Another thing you’ll want to do before the shoot is to eat. No one will enjoy a picture-taking session on an empty stomach, and we’re all usually much happier once we’ve had a bite to eat!

Laura McNeill
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