What Do I Wear for College Graduation Pictures?!

What you wear for your college graduation pictures has a lot to do with how you want to use, display and share your photos.

To answer the question what do I wear for college graduation pictures, I suggest a bit of attire mixing. Throughout your session I like to include 3 basic looks. For the first look I start by photographing you minus graduation gear. These photos are nice to have for your professional use on social media, resumes, and portfolios. In the second look we add the cap and stole. The cap photos are where we spend the bulk of the session simply because these are the most flattering graduation pictures. This is also a great time to break out any other special items you may have brought. The last look adds the gown over the shoulder. This ‘full attire‘ look keeps you looking amazing and conveys the excitement and joy of graduating.

What Gals Wear for College Graduation Pictures

Ladies, you cannot go wrong with a dress or skirt! Why? because dresses are easily the most flattering outfits out there. The attire you choose can take your photos in a formal direction or in a fun, free and celebratory direction! But, make sure you are comfortable in whatever you select because you will likely be doing a fair amount of walking.


Dresses that follow your figure or simply have a cinched waist such as a fit and flair are some of the most flattering for graduation pictures because of how good they appear in photos. Alternatively, boxy shapeless dresses can add extra bulk to your pictures. Instead, try your favorite sun dress or that killer formal! The important thing to do is make sure the dress length is same as or shorter than the length of your graduation gown. A fitted outfit also helps minimize the volume of the already bulky school issued gown which we will try to incorporate in a much more attractive way than actually wearing it…

Neck Line

The biggest issue I see with necklines is having your yoke inconveniently popping in and out of your dress during the session. If your school has a yoke as part of the regalia, try to find an outfit where the bottom of the yoke is below the neckline.


Since these are graduation photos you may want to match your outfit to your schools colors. However I get it if your schools colors are not particularly flattering to your skin. In this case a simple black, white or cream color outfit will be perfect! You could always bring in your school color with your shoe and/or jewelry selection.

Graduation Attire For Gals, try a white dress

What Guys Wear for College Graduation Pictures

Guys, your graduation outfit is quite simple. Simply choose your fancy clothes! I know you have some. Or wear what you would (or did wear) to impress that girl of your dreams. Are you in slacks and a button down? Iron them. If your clothes are a bit more casual, throw them in a dryer with a damp cloth for a while and then hang them up immediately after they dry. Doing this will keep your clothes from looking too stiff but nice enough to show your grandma – who really wants a printed photo of you to brag about.

Bring these essentials to your college graduation picture session:

-Cords, Cap and stole, Gown, Nice shoes, Pretty dress

Bring these items to add your personal flair of school spirit, celebration, humor, relationship, etc.

-Bottle of champagne or beer

-School flag or banner

-Confetti or glitter (edible, dissolving or biodegradable please)

-Party poppers

-Cheer or sports gear

-Something silly like HUGE glasses or a unicycle

-Text books (have a friend carry them around for you)

-Best friend or significant other

In Conclusion

I hope this helped you with the question what do I wear for my college graduation pictures. To wrap it up, have fun! dress like yourself! After all, you already know what you look nice in.

A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that “individuality” is the key to success.

Robert Orben
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If you are in the Eastern Washington or Northern Idaho area and would like graduation pictures, go check out my page for college grads!

What gals Wear for College Graduation Pictures
flowy dress are super flattering for college graduation portraits
What Guys Wear for College Graduation Pictures

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