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Best Props to Bring

Best Props for the Ultimate Grad Photos

Graduating from college marks a significant milestone, and celebrating this achievement through graduation portraits is an ideal way to commemorate the moment. When seeking a graduation photographer, finding the right individual becomes crucial. You'll want a professional with extensive experience who can effortlessly capture your personality and your achievements.

Preparing adequately for your photoshoot is equally important. Consider how you wish to present yourself: envision your hairstyle, makeup, attire, and any props you intend to include. Creating distinctive and stunning graduation photos often stems from original ideas for photo setups.

In this article, I aim to provide you with some exceptional prop ideas for graduation photos. These suggestions not only promise Instagram-worthy visuals but also serve as timeless mementos of your amazing achievements.

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Here Are Some Unique Prop Ideas For Your Graduation Portrait Session!

1. Your Graduation Apparel

When selecting props and setups for your graduation portraits, feel free to start with the essentials. Ensure you have your school-specific graduation sash or stole, your cap (which can be decorated for added festivity), and your gown. These timeless props will evoke memories of your school days and add a polished touch to your look.

Not only can you wear your graduation outfit (in part or in full), but you'll also be able to capture stunning detail images of them to provide a beautiful contrast when designing your album after your shoot.

CSULA Graduation Portrait With Master's Academic Hood

2. Party Time & Celebration Props

A champagne bottle is an excellent prop for graduation photos due to its visual impact. Capturing the popping moment and the spray of champagne adds action, excitement, and depth to the images. Alternatively, if you prefer beer, opting for a six-pack and celebrating them with your friends can evoke nostalgic college memories, providing another celebratory option for memorable shots. These photographs can serve as lively decor, perfect to put up in your first post-college apartment or home.

3. Make a splash with bubbles

Enhance your graduation photos with the enchanting touch of bubbles. Whether you're playfully blowing them or simply basking in their midst, bubbles infuse a magical and dreamlike quality into your portraits. The way they catch and reflect the light adds a one-of-a-kind, ethereal charm. Also, as a celebration symbol, bubbles can capture the essence of your achievement in a playful yet elegant way. Imagine the dynamic shots with bubbles floating around you, adding movement and a touch of whimsy to your portraits. Plus, they’re easy to use and great for outdoor settings, ensuring your photos are as stress-free as they are beautiful. Let’s make your graduation photos uniquely you with the simple, delightful addition of bubbles!

Fairytale-Like Graduation Portrait with Bubbles at UCLACelebratory Bubbles Graduation Portrait at Pepperdine

4. Let the Confetti Fall

Looking to make your graduation photos pop with excitement and color? Let's sprinkle some magic with confetti! It's not just about the vibrant colors and the shimmer in the sunlight; confetti brings your photos to life, capturing your genuine, joy-filled moments in a shower of celebration. It's your big day, so let's make it visually spectacular and eco-friendly with biodegradable confetti. Get ready to laugh, celebrate, and let those confetti moments make your graduation memories unforgettable!

Confetti Poppers Group Photo Graduation Portrait at USCGrad Photo Idea: Confetti Pop at Doheny Library

5. Apparel that Represents YOU

Ready to showcase your unique style in your graduation photos? Bring along anything that screams 'you' – from your cozy school sweatshirt to your proud Greek life letters. These items aren't just props; they're a reflection of your journey, your community, and the friendships you've cherished. And for a dash of extra glam, why not flaunt those limited-edition red bottoms you've been eager to wear? Your graduation shoot is the perfect occasion to highlight your personal style and celebrate your achievements.

Heroic USC Trojans Swim Athlete PortraitGraduation Portrait at UCLA with Gay Pride Signboard Bright Airy UCLA Graduation Portrait with Mexican Flag USC Physician Assistant Graduate With Armenian Flag

6. The Future is Bright

Make your graduation photos truly about you with props that tell your story! Heading to med school or nursing school? A stethoscope could be the perfect symbol of your journey. Dreaming of the limelight? How about a Hollywood star or a clapboard to channel your inner actor? Whatever your passions, aspirations, or the hard-earned achievements from your school days and beyond, let's showcase them in your photos. You've worked incredibly hard to get here, and it's time to celebrate and show off your accomplishments with pride.

7. The People You Owe It All To

Capture the love and support that got you here by including your parents, family, and friends in your graduation photos! There's something truly special about having professional photographs with your loved ones. As graduation day will likely be action-packed, having these photos captured beforehand will help create timeless, cherished memories of togetherness.

Just like your family at home, you also have your family away from home – your friends, who have been an inseparable part of your journey. Of course, your furry friends are also included in this category!

Still looking for ideas? Here are more!

Still searching for the perfect prop to make your graduation photos stand out? No worries, I've got you covered! As a photographer dedicated to capturing your unique story, I understand the importance of personalization in your graduation photoshoot. To help you with this, I've brainstormed a variety of creative and meaningful prop ideas tailored to reflect your personality, achievements, and aspirations. Whether you're an artist, athlete, tech enthusiast, or an adventurer at heart, there's something here for everyone. Let's dive into some specific ideas to inspire your session and make your graduation memories truly unforgettable!

  • Favorite Books or Literary Works: If you're an avid reader or have a book that inspired your journey, include it in your photoshoot. It adds a personal touch and reflects your academic interests or aspirations.
  • Musical Instruments: If you play an instrument or are passionate about music, featuring a guitar, violin, or any other instrument in your photos can symbolize your artistic side.
  • World Map or Globe: Ideal if you love to travel or are planning to explore the world. This prop can represent your upcoming adventures or your studies in fields like geography or international relations.
  • Sports Equipment or Jersey: If you're an athlete or a sports enthusiast, consider including items like a basketball, soccer ball, or your team jersey. This is a great way to honor your involvement in college sports.
  • Art Supplies or Portfolio: For art or design students, showcasing paintbrushes, a canvas, or a portfolio can visually represent your creative talents and skills.
  • Laptop or Tablet: A nod to the digital age and your field of study. This can symbolize the countless hours you spent studying and working on projects.
  • Cultural or Family Heirlooms: Include items representing your cultural heritage or family history to add depth to your photos, celebrating your personal and educational journey.
  • Graduation Thesis or Research Project: If you've completed a significant thesis or research project, featuring it in your photoshoot can be a proud reminder of your academic achievements.
  • Hobby-related Items: Whether it’s a camera for photography, knitting needles for crafting, or hiking gear for adventure, including a prop representing your hobby can showcase a more personal side.
  • Custom Signboards or Chalkboards: Write personalized messages, future aspirations, or a simple 'Class of [Year]' on signboards or chalkboards for a customizable touch.
  • Professional Gear or Uniform: If you're entering a specific profession, displaying gear like a firefighter's helmet, doctor's white coat, or a business suit can symbolize your future career.
  • College Memorabilia: Items like class ring, college flags, mugs, or pennants can showcase your school spirit and pride in your alma mater.
  • Travel Suitcase or Backpack: If you have wanderlust or are planning a gap year, a suitcase or backpack can represent your next journey.
  • Science Equipment: For science majors, props like a microscope, lab coat, or a model of DNA can highlight your field of study.
  • Quote Boards: Hold up boards with inspirational quotes or favorite sayings that have guided you through your academic journey.
  • Vintage Camera or Film Reel: For photography or film students, vintage cameras or film reels can add an artistic and nostalgic touch.
  • Plants or Flowers: A potted plant, bouquet, or floral wreath can symbolize growth and new beginnings.
  • Customized Graduation Cap: Decorate your graduation cap with unique designs, motivational quotes, or future career aspirations for a personal touch.
  • Favorite Coffee Mug or Teacup: Include your favorite mug as a subtle nod to the long study nights and early mornings.
  • Board Games or Puzzle Pieces: If you love games or puzzles, these can represent the fun and challenges of your college years.
  • Sketchbook or Journal: If you're an artist or writer, include your sketchbooks or journals to represent your creative journey.
  • Cooking Utensils or Apron: For culinary arts students or cooking enthusiasts, chef hats, aprons, or cooking utensils can add a playful touch.
  • Yoga Mat or Fitness Gear: If you're into wellness, fitness, or yoga, incorporating these elements can showcase your lifestyle or hobbies.
  • Your Special Car: If you have a car that's been a significant part of your college journey or holds special memories, consider featuring it in your graduation photos. Whether it's a classic, a project you've worked on, or simply your faithful companion on many road trips, it can add a unique and personal backdrop to your portraits.

As you step into this exciting new chapter of your life, remember that your graduation photos should be as unique and remarkable as your journey. From the whimsy of bubbles to the festive burst of confetti, each prop we discussed offers a chance to infuse your personality into every shot. Most importantly, let's not forget that the main idea of bringing props is to simply have fun with it! These moments present great opportunities to get amazing photos, but they're also there to help you celebrate your achievements and aspirations in the most colorful way!

Ready to create some unforgettable graduation portraits? Visit the link below to get started!

Apart from what props to bring, I've also written a few guides on posing, how to prepare and what to wear to your graduation portrait session. Feel free to check those out to help you in planning!

Ready to make some amazing memories? Contact me to get started!

Trojan Spirit Leader Graduation Photo Waving USC Flag
Hyojin Grad Portraits
Occidental College Graduation Portrait With Sashes
Film Grad Portrait at UCLA Powell Library, Leica M3
Pomona College Graduation Portrait Holding Cigar Prop
Bright Airy UCLA Graduation Portrait with Mexican Flag
College Graduation Portrait Featuring Dodge Challenger
Detail Shot of USC Graduation Tassel & Crimson Heels

Ready to create some unforgettable graduation portraits that are as vibrant and unique as you? Visit the link below and contact me for availability to get started!

Stanley Wu Photography
(424) 652-6330 –
@stanleywuphotography @stanleywuweddings
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