on June 9, 2021

It feels like yesterday you were playing with your baby — and now your baby is marching across the graduation stage. Time is passing so fast, which is why it’s important to snap all those photos (even if you have to bribe your not-so-little to smile for the camera)! Whether your family is sending out graduation announcements (here are the best Bible verses to include) or designing a photo book to hold all your grad’s memories, these are the best poses and creative photo ideas for memorable pictures of your seniors in 2021.

Individual Photos

  • Take a close up of your grad holding their tassel
  • Capture the moments as your grad puts their regalia on (and later on, when they take it off to officially become an alum)
  • Have your grad write something on the soles of their shoes, like Class of 2021, and take a photo of them kicking back
  • Hold onto your senior’s gown while they pose in their graduation outfit, cap and stoles
  • Pile up all your grad’s textbooks in front of the library and have them sit next to the pile (or lean if the stack is tall enough!)
  • Prompt your grad to look off into the distance with a serious face, diploma under their arm
  • Choose a building for your senior to pose in front of with their arms crossed
  • Have your grad climb into the driver’s seat of the car and capture them sticking their head out the window (or the sunroof!) while tipping their cap
  • Shoot a close up of your grad holding out their fist with a class ring
  • Put glitter on top of your grad’s hat for some falling sparkles as they put it on
  • Encourage your grad to make some funny faces while in full regalia
  • Have your grad shake a bottle of bubbly or apple cider for a splashy picture
  • Give your graduate paper and pen, or a sign, to hold during their photo (they can write words of thanks or a cute phrase like “I did it!”)
  • Take a behind-the-back photo of your grad in their cap and gown, hands lifted in the air
  • Bring balloons for your senior to hold along with their diploma
  • Get ready to snap your grad when they cross the stage and are handed their diploma for the first time
  • Find a sturdy tree for your senior to climb and take their shot from below to signify your grad climbing to new heights
  • If your grad had an extracurricular or passion, like frisbee or guitar, snap a photo of them doing that activity in full cap and gown
  • Place your camera low to the ground and capture your grad’s upturned face as they throw their cap in the air
  • If you’re outside during the golden hour, take a photo of your graduate with the sun directly behind their head, giving them a golden halo
  • When your senior leans forward, snap a close up their face as the tassel falls in front of their eyes
  • Have your graduate write their school initials and class year on their fingers or palm and hold it up to the camera, smiling in the background
  • Capture candids throughout the day: your grad putting on their cap, zipping up their gown, hugging friends, throwing their cap, moving their tassel, and genuine reactions throughout the day
  • Snap a photo of your grad waving goodbye to campus, leaving as a senior for the last time
  • Encourage your senior to toss their cap toward the camera, which makes for candid smiles and fun photos as the tassel flies through the air
  • Before you leave, take a photo of your senior holding up a piece of apparel with the school’s name and the word “alumni” written on it, too
  • If you can find a lamppost, capture a photo of your grad spinning around and smiling, cap in hand
  • Ask your grad to pick a pathway or hallway with natural light and snap a photo of their graduation outfit — no cap, gown or stoles (this could double as an opportunity to take a great professional photo)
  • Before graduation, make a plan with your grad so they know where you’ll be sitting in the stands so you can snap a photo of them smiling at the camera while their peers face forward 
  • Before graduation, get a confetti cannon (bonus points if it’s school colors) for your senior to open
  • If your high school senior participated in any varsity sports, snap a pic of them wearing their cap with their letterman jacket hanging in the background (or over their shoulder)
  • Snap a photo of your grad showing off the outfit underneath their gown — in school colors!

Family Photos

  • Snap a photo of your graduate in their cap and gown posing with their siblings
  • Hold glitter in your hands and blow toward the camera
  • Find or bring a set of balloons with your grad’s class year for a cute pic
  • Ask someone to take your family’s photo while you lift your grad and hold them horizontally (see if your grad can tip their cap, too!)
  • Find a set a stairs for your family and grad to pose (parents can sit above the grad and place their hands on the grad’s shoulders)
  • If you’re throwing a graduation party, take a photo of your grad, arms outstretched, in front of all the people that came out to celebrate with them
  • Make sure to take a photo of your family members giving the newest graduate bunny ears
  • At the same graduation party, find a set of stairs (or a sturdy chair) for your grad to stand on top of, then arrange all your guests and snap a photo so it looks like a class photo
  • For a funny shot, have your grad take off their cap and throw it backwards into the crowd (your graduation party guests) and see who catches the cap — just like a wedding!
  • Take a photo of your senior placing their cap on a younger sibling’s head
  • Right after the ceremony, capture photos of your grad hugging their parents, grandparents and siblings while the emotions are fresh
  • Don’t forget a photo with your graduate’s furry friend — your senior couldn’t have graduated without those cuddles and kisses! (Even if the dog tried to eat their homework) 
  • You can’t leave campus without a shot of your senior and the people that helped them get there — pose with your senior, then take a photo of your grad as their grandparents congratulate them
  • Have your senior smile while parents, grandparents, or a significant other kiss them on one or both cheeks
  • If your senior has an older (or taller) sibling, have them put your graduate in a headlock

Photos with Friends

  • Take a picture of your graduate and their friends throwing their caps in the air
  • Have your grad give a piggyback ride to one of their friends while still wearing their gowns
  • Have your grad pose with their friends in front of their school’s sign
  • Find a spot for your senior and their friends to ditch their gowns and show off their graduation outfits (while still wearing their caps)
  • Capture a photo of your grad and their friends in their colorful stoles
  • If your grad and their friends decorated the tops of their caps, have them take off their caps and face the artwork toward the camera
  • Pick a brick or stone wall for your grad and their friends to lean against and take a beat from the festivities (this candid moment also looks great in black and white)
  • If there are other on-campus or off-campus spots that mean a lot to your grad and their friends, like an ice cream shop, make sure to snap a photo of your grad and friends grabbing a scoop in full cap and gown
  • Pick a local bridge and snap a photo of your grad, in their cap and stoles, crossing along with friends to signify the transition to their future
  • Give your grad and their friends a countdown, then capture a picture of them all jumping in the air
  • Find a patch of grass or a field for your grad and their friends to lay down. Arrange them in a circle and snap a photo as they laugh with one another
  • Bring paper or small chalkboard signs for your grad and their friends to pose with, writing words of thanks, memories from the year, and celebratory words for some cute pics
  • If your senior and their friends had a favorite lunch spot, hand out a few snacks and capture the candids moments shared between friends — while in full regalia
  • Snap a candid of your senior moving their tassel from right to left along with their friends
  • If your senior had a favorite teacher or professor, take a photo of the two while your grad holds their diploma, or snap a photo of them exchanging a handshake
  • Have your grad pose with their best friend, holding their hands high in the air

Photos of Campus

  • Ask your senior to pose with their school’s mascot
  • Find a piece of outdoor art located on campus for grad to pose around (or in!)
  • Have your grad climb on top of their school’s sign (if it’s safe!)
  • Arrange three or more piles of your senior’s books in varying heights (that look like stairs) in front of the library, then have your grad step on the first two to signify how their education has helped them grow
  • Pick a spot on campus, like the student center, and capture your graduate as they run
  • Find a sign with the school’s name, or a building your grad frequented, and take a photo of them tipping their cap to the sign
  • If your school has a garden, woods, lake or any beautiful nature spot, go off the beaten path and snap a photo there
  • Snap a pic of your high school senior closing their locker for the last time
  • Find a tall building on campus for your grad to stand in front of, put your phone on “panoramic mode” and shoot your grad from bottom to top, with your phone tilted horizontally, for a cool framing effect
  • If your senior’s class donated a class gift, like a bench or a statue, snag a photo of your grad posing with their class’ contribution
  • Pick a spot with a beautiful background (or a place on campus that means a lot to your senior), and snap a photo of your grad proudly showing off their decorated cap
  • If you’re on campus after dark, take a photo of your grad in front of a sign or clock that lights up
  • Hit the bleachers with in full regalia for a photo of your grad looking out at the field and campus they’re leaving 
  • Find a clear pathway or set of stairs in front of one of the major campus buildings and take a behind-the-back photo of your grad staring up at it, holding their cap in hand (the top facing the camera to catch any artwork) and gown thrown over the opposite shoulder
  • Get your grad to hop in a seat at the student center, then snag a photo of them lounging in full cap and gown
  • If your senior’s campus has a fountain, grab photos of them in front of the water feature, dipping their toes in, or even balancing on the edge
  • Let your graduate show off their diploma in front of their freshman dorm (to go side-by-side with that photo from four years ago!)
  • If you have a school flag on hand, have your grad don their cap and hold the flag behind them like wings
  • Before your senior dumps all those binders filled with looseleaf, grab a few sheets they can toss in the air for an “I’m done!” photo shoot (be sure they’re easy to pick up afterward!)