Every Rexburg graduation photographer knows that the Ricks Gardens is the place to be!
Whenever I shoot a senior photos or graduation photos at BYU-I, I always recommend going to the Ricks Gardens. It’s definitely a hot spot for any occasion, but is the place to go for graduations. So when I got an email from a wife looking for a Rexburg graduation photographer for her husband, I knew exactly where I should take the photos. It really worked out because the husband’s main building was right next to the gardens. Woot woot! I really hate forcing my clients to trudge across campus to take photos so this worked out really well!
When I headed out for this shoot, the sky was stormy and I could’ve sworn I heard thunder. I was getting a little nervous! I’m not afraid to shoot in the rain but it definitely makes things difficult. As I sat on the bench underneath some covering cleaning my camera, I began to see water dappling the sidewalk. I was just about to run to my car and get some protective camera gear when the rain stopped. Hallelujah! Just as the brief shower ended, my clients arrived. Talk about luck!
Shooting the group photos
We started out at the STC, the science and technology center. We took the traditional group photos inside and outside the building. These are, perhaps, the most important photos in any photoshoot. The group photos may not be a photographer’s dream shoot but they’re definitely the ones that are shared the most and cherished the most. That’s why it’s very important to take the time to shoot these and make them look nice. Thankfully, this wasn’t too large of a group shot, so it wasn’t that difficult. It was just the graduate, his wife, and his parents. For this photo, I had them standing by the STC sign. Because of the storm, it was still cloudy which made beautifully diffused light, perfect for portraits.
Every Rexburg graduation photographer’s worst nightmare
Remember when I said I was nervous about it raining? Well, you won’t believe it. No, it didn’t rain but something just as bad happened. As we walked towards the gardens, I heard the infamous hissing sound every photographer dreads. When we got closer, we could see that every leaf and flower was glimmering with water. The ground was slick and muddy. Yep, every single sprinkler in the premises was on. It wasn’t the most ideal situation but I wouldn’t be a graduation photographer if I couldn’t handle the weather or sprinkler systems in Rexburg. I put on a smile and directed them towards a large circular part of a brick path. There were sprinklers all around us but none could touch us. It was also surrounded by beautiful greenery and archways. I would have chosen it even if the sprinklers weren’t on!
The part that’s really fun for any graduation photographer in Rexburg
After taking those photos, guess what happened?! The sprinklers turned off! Luck was really on our side for this photoshoot. As soon as they turned off, we went exploring a few more locations and I had him stand on the grass for a few of them. However, the ground was still muddy so we didn’t do anything too crazy.
After doing a few fun poses and prompts, I knew it was time for the classic throw-the-cap shots. These photos are really fun but they can also be very difficult. The graduation cap can be out of shot, blurred, or covering my client’s face. So, I cranked up my shutter speed and used the continuous shooting mode on my camera.
While shooting this photo, I thought of an idea. I had the Senior’s wife hold the graduation cap right in front of my camera. I had the graduate hold out his hand and pretend like he’s throwing it.
I thought that this was such a fun idea! I don’t see a lot of other photographers doing this and I love to see more doing it!
You know me, I love love LOVE my detail shots. I couldn’t help but shoot a few! One of my “must-take-photos” is a picture of the tassel on the graduation cap. For this tassel photo, I used a really shallow focus (f 1.4) and used my 85 mm so the background would be even smoother.
This is another one of my favorite tassel detail shots. I like this one because you can still see his face, even though it’s part of the background. It makes the photo a lot more interesting. It adds more of a story. When you just see a tassel, you think of a tassel. When you see a person in the background, you think “this person is graduating”. It’s a stronger photo for storytelling.
Doing fun poses and prompts for graduations are awesome. However, it’s really nice to do some serious, professional photos as well. These are one’s that they might use for resume’s or, heck, even their LinkedIn account. As a photographer, it’s important to remember that these photo shoots should serve multiple purpose for our clients.
l had so much fun with this photo shoot! Everything seemed to work out perfectly. The rain stopped when our photo shoot started and the sprinklers stopped when we went to the gardens. Graduation photos are so much fun to take photos of. I love seeing how happy and triumphant they are! I can’t wait to do my next graduation photoshoot!