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Ohio State Graduation Pictures: How to Make Them Memorable

Congrats on graduating college! You have a huge accomplishment under your belt!

One way to commemorate this event is with college graduation pictures, similar to what you probably did for your senior year of high school.

But how do you make graduation photos memorable? Great question!

In this post, you’ll see how we incorporated meaningful places into Kiki’s Ohio State Graduation pictures and how you can do it too!

ohio state graduation pictures under the rotunda - woman wearing graduation gown throwing her cap into the ait

2022 Ohio State University Graduate

But first, let me introduce Kiki. She’s a 2022 Ohio State University graduate who majored in dance.

Kiki and I first met years ago when she was finishing her junior year and working with a local dance studio. She and I worked together to create new headshots for her profile picture. As she was making her way to graduation, she wanted to build a professional brand, and her professional portrait was the next step in her career. As her college time was ending, she reached out to schedule her Ohio State graduation pictures, and we had so much fun creating new photos!

Since graduating, she’s moved to Florida with aspirations to open her own dance studio!

ohio state graduation pictures of woman wearing an osu sweatshirt and red heels

How to Make College Graduation Portraits Memorable

When you think about it, your graduation photos will be a part of your family's history for years to come. Include places around campus that are significant to you to make the photos more meaningful and memorable.

Tips to Create Memorable College Graduation Portraits:

  • Choose campus locations that hold special memories for you.

  • Incorporate your major - especially if it’s visual (like dance or the arts).

  • Wear your graduation cap and gown.

  • Wear some college apparel and show your team spirit!

  • Include a college friend for a couple of photos.

  • Bring your pet (more on this later).

  • For a little extra celebration - pop a bottle of champagne! These can be fun! (Just make sure it’s legal to have open containers of alcohol where you are. If it’s not legal, use a non-alcoholic version. Nobody will be the wiser!)

three ohio state graduation pictures of 2022 graduate outside the wexner center for the arts in columbus ohio

Where to Create Your Ohio State Graduation Pictures

OSU’s campus is filled with gorgeous architecture. I might be biased, but it was the perfect place to do all of Kiki’s Ohio State graduation pictures!

As we walked around campus, she reflected upon the memories she made, the buildings she spent the most time in, and the dance studio where she had many hours of rehearsals.

We took photos in the OSU Oval, a quintessential part of campus and a beautiful green space amenity. We went to the Stadium Rotunda, a spot easily recognizable for taking selfies before football games. And we finished up at Sullivant Hall Studios, dance department, outside the Wexner Center for the Arts.

For her dance studio photos, we went after hours when the building was empty. This gave us plenty of opportunities to work around the building without interruptions. It was especially fun as the sun set to create these dramatic lighting portraits!

two portraits of woman in ohio state university sweatshirt in campus dance studio for her ohio state graduation pictures

Other great options for OSU grad pictures:

  • Mirror Lake

  • The Top of Thompson Library

  • OSU Football Stadium (with special permission)

  • Ohio State University Seal

  • Brutus Statue in the Union

  • Wexner Center for the Arts scaffolding

portrait of 2022 osu grad in dance rehearsal studio for ohio state graduation pictures
This is one of the most memorable photos for Kiki, because of the countless hours she spent in dance rehearsals in this building!

Now that you know how to make your photos memorable, when should you schedule Ohio State graduation pictures?

Two words: Between semesters!

That’s right. Schedule your graduation photos when the school is mostly empty!

If you’ve ever walked around OSU, you know how crazy busy it is when school is in full swing. By shooting between semesters, you’ll find fewer people, easier parking, and it’s often easier to get access to buildings that might otherwise be occupied.

We used this tip to our advantage with Kiki’s session, which was so nice!

While we’re talking about timing and schedule, if you’re hoping for golden light photos around OSU’s campus, get there a little earlier than you’d expect to. The campus is surrounded by trees and tall buildings in downtown Columbus, Ohio. So when the sun goes down, it goes down fast!

two portraits of ohio state university college graduate posing for her 2022 ohio state graduation pictures

What to Wear for College Graduation Pictures

Clients usually bring three or four different wardrobe looks for college graduation photos.

  • Casual/Logo Apparel Look

  • Business Casual Look

  • Formal Look

  • Graduation Cap & Gown

The key here is variety!

Many college grads need their first proper headshot around this time to help them jumpstart their careers. This is the perfect opportunity to get that headshot, so don’t skip the fancy suit or business casual wardrobe pieces.

three portraits of a 2022 female dance graduatate from ohio state university
Perfect wardrobe examples!

I always recommend bringing someone along to your photo session to make the most of your time. Kiki’s mom joined us for her session, which was a huge help! She carried her wardrobe as we moved locations and was able to hand outfit changes to her as needed. This helped the session move along more quickly and kept her clothes from wrinkling.

Bonus - we also created a couple of great photos for this Ohio State Mom and her graduate!

photos of osu graduate with her mom on ohio state university campus

Tips for Including Your Pet in Photos

I love when clients want to include their pets in photos. But there are a few go-to tips to keep in mind.

  • Choose the right outfit (more on this below).

  • Bring another person to control your pet when they’re not in photos.

  • Know the personality of your animal, and choose your spot accordingly.

  • If your pet needs a controlled space, plan to shoot indoors away from distractions.

  • If your pet is great in busy areas, you’ll probably be okay to shoot outdoors, but keep them on a leash for safety. The leash can be removed in editing if necessary.

You’ll likely need to bend down to be the same height as your animal. So being mindful of shirts draping down or choosing to wear pants instead of a skirt can be helpful.

ohio state graduation pictures of woman with her pet
Aren't these two the cutest?!

Whether you're attending OSU or another school in Ohio, I’d love to help you make memorable college graduation portraits!

If you want some more inspo, you can follow me on Pinterest or Instagram here!


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