Planning some photos before graduating from Ohio State? Here are my best tips to make it a fun and stress-free experience!

1. Find a photographer you connect with, and who can make you feel comfortable.

During a college graduation photo session, you will be spending more one-on-one time with your photographer than you would during any other type of photo session. If you feel uncomfortable or anxious, that is going to show in photographs. It’s so important to hire someone who you connect with on a personal level so your session feels natural and not forced. When reaching out to photographers, be clear about your specific vision & ideal outcome for your photos, AND any concerns/anxieties you have about being photographed. That will make it much easier to decide right away whether you can meet those goals together. If you don’t feel a natural connection or if your concerns are not addressed in the initial meeting, it’s best to move on and find someone else.

2. Book several months in advance

If you wait until April to start reaching out to photographers about Ohio State senior pictures, you might miss your chance! Getting a head start means you’ll secure your spot on your photographer’s calendar, but it also gives both of you plenty of time to get familiar with one another and plan out your experience. This will help you feel more comfortable and relaxed on session day, ultimately leading to great graduation photos!  

3. Schedule your session for march or april

The days before graduation can be extremely hectic with your bar crawls (heck yes), last-minute parties, and family coming into town… so trying to wedge a photo session into those last days before graduation can add stress. Not to mention all the crowds of other grads taking photos at the same time! If you don’t mind being chilly, March works fine, but the best balance for great weather/beautiful nature/minimal crowds is the middle of April.


Waiting in line at popular locations, or trying to dodge crowds, isn’t the most enjoyable photo experience. Scheduling your session early in the morning is your best chance at getting popular locations — like the rotunda at Ohio Stadium — all to yourself. I always recommend grads meet me as close to sunrise as possible so we catch that beautiful morning light… you’ll be done in time to meet your friends for brunch. If you can’t meet in the A.M., weeknights are another good and less busy option.


For my grad sessions on campus (which last roughly 2 hours), I recommend making a list of your top 3 locations for us to use during your session and keeping a 4th location “on deck” in case there is time or if one of the other locations doesn’t work on session day. Focus on locations that recall great memories from your college experience and would add meaning to your photographs, not necessarily places that you think will look good in photos. Beautiful photos can be made virtually anywhere there’s good light. Whether you’re working with me or someone else, sharing your location wishes early in the planning process will help your photographer organize logistics and provide guidance when necessary to make sure you get the best result!


More outfits don’t translate to more photos (in fact, it’s usually the opposite). To help things move along smoothly and ensure you get plenty of great images during your session, I recommend keeping it simple: pick two comfortable outfits that you love, plus your cap and gown. The cap and gown can easily be put on over your other clothes, giving you some outfit variety at each location. It’s also a good idea to bring one backup outfit, just in case of spills or malfunctions. As far as WHAT to wear, prioritize comfort above all else. If you feel comfortable, your photos will automatically look better. Stick with outfits that require little adjusting, so you won’t be tugging at your clothes or worried about undergarments popping out during the session.

If you prefer to wear just one outfit during your session, that’s great too! Less time spent swapping outfits = more time having fun.  


Your photos do NOT have to be serious, stiff, or traditional in order to look good. If you have a unique idea, share that with your photographer! Wanna do a crazy champagne pop? Waltz around in your shiny rollerskates? Wear your mom’s vintage outfit? Leave campus and take photos somewhere else entirely? Let’s do it! Above all else, you should be able to look at your photos and say “this is me.” 


I promise to be all the hype you need, but if you’re especially anxious, sometimes it helps to bring or family member along. Bringing the right support person can create a more relaxed energy during the session, which in turn boosts your confidence. That said, everyone is different! If an extra person would add to your stress (I get it, I have a crazy mom too) then tell them to sit this one out! This is your day, not theirs. 


College was serious enough, dontcha think? So I’ll leave you with one final thought: there’s always a time and place for traditional posed portraits, but graduation is a time to celebrate and reflect on all the things that brought you to this moment in time. Creative graduation portraits are a fun way to express your personality and remember what your life is like, right now. You’ll be so glad you took the leap.

Hi there!

I’m Daisy, and you’re very welcome here.

I’m a documentary Columbus Ohio family photographer offering stress-free and fun portrait experiences. I hope you enjoyed 9Tips for stress-free OSU Grad Pictures, and if you’d like to chat about your own grad photos, smash that button below. Can’t wait to hear what wild and wonderful things you’re dreaming up!

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