Over the course of the last several weeks, thousands of universities and colleges across the country have had the unprecedented challenge of responding to the ever changing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the unsettled atmosphere in the community, students are also having to adjust to the disruption of their academic endeavors while administrators work tirelessly to provide as much continuity as possible. Invariably, one of the topics that has been difficult to handle is what to do about commencement.
At GradImages, we have always prided ourselves on being a resource on all things commencement and have seen some amazing ideas on to how to recognize and celebrate the most important achievement of a student’s college career. We have seen over 400,000 signatures on various petitions for the preservation of in-person commencement events.
Everyone knows commencement is important to graduates and their families and the support around maintaining these events is remarkable. The biggest question is obviously how to delicately balance the safety of the community while preserving the significant importance of fulfilling a defining moment for the graduates. We have sited some of the more popular responses from institutions to share with you in the hopes it may spark an idea that works for your school.
Commencement is a distinctive occasion. Graduates will normally be dressed in caps & gowns, as will faculty as many institutions. However, for individuals not wearing graduation regalia but with a visible role on the ceremony floor, conventional wisdom dictates that they be wearing conservative, professional business attire. It's a sign of respect to the graduates, their families, the school, and the dignity of the event.
While almost anyone can now take good photographs with a digital camera at a graduation, the question of most concern to event organizers becomes which photo company can most easily and effectively make those images available to my graduates and their families? GradImages has the resources of a national company to provide, by far, the best post-graduation experience for graduates and their families, as well as, promoting an on-going relationship with the school, starting with the delivery of graduation images.
In three previous articles, we have discussed the best position for a photographer while taking handshake pictures of graduates being individually recognized on stage.
What is the best angle for a photographer to stand in order to capture great handshake photographs at commencement? Although the answer is somewhat subjective, years of purchasing data suggest one angle in particular is overwhelmingly favored by graduates and their families. That is what we will discuss today.
Public relations (PR) photographs are candid, fun, memorable pictures taken before, during, and after a commencement ceremony. Photographers have more flexibility and artistic discretion when taking PR images than they do taking ceremony images, such as handshake photographs. They enjoy exploring the creative side of their job to help capture the true spirit and emotion of graduation.
Each year GradImages hosts photographer training in over 50 cities. This purpose of this training is to provide our photographers with hands-on recurrent instruction, discuss new policies & procedures, reinforce best-practices, and of course to share ideas.
When graduates are individually recognized on stage, we are able to determine precisely who each person is by virtue of the fact that names are announced. However, it is not easy to individually identify public relations (PR) images of graduates taken before or after the ceremony. This is because photographers capture PR images "in the moment," and cannot always document each person's name before moving on to the next opportunity. The result is that these images are put into a large "gallery" with hundreds of other PR images, and graduates often need to browse through them all in order to find their own.