After your degree certificate, your graduation portrait may be one of the most important things you take away from university – at least, your parents may think so! Unless you want to be embarrassed for the rest of your days by the picture that graces your parents’ mantelpiece, you’ll want to make sure that you look as good as possible in that all-important photograph.
You may have the choice as to whether you wear the traditional mortar board and gown; really, though, considering you don’t exactly graduate every day, it’s well worth it! Remember that the gowns can sometimes be pretty heavy, and although the hood (the part with the stripes) generally come with a loop to hook onto a button at the front, that only really holds properly if you’re hooking it onto a formal waistcoat. It’ll sit better if you take safety pins and pin it in place instead.
You will also need to consider what you wear with it. Choose something that expresses your personality, but that you won’t mind your granny seeing you in (because you know that your proud parents are going to send copies to everybody!). Avoid busy patterns, because they won’t look good on film, and if you can, choose colours that will complement – or at least not clash with – your graduation gown. Think about the material, too – silk and satin are pretty, but they’ll make the gown slip on your shoulders.
Practice the Pose
You know the drill already; you stand there, you hold the scroll up and you smile. Simple? Not quite. If you know the tricks to a good photogenic pose, you can look tons better.
Firstly, stand at an angle to the camera – put one foot slightly forward, angle your shoulders and turn your head to the camera. This makes you look slimmer than if you’re standing directly face on, and it’s a trick you’ll see almost every celeb using on the red carpet.
Secondly, the trick to avoiding the dreaded double chin grin is to push your head out a bit; stick your forehead out and your chin slightly down while extending your neck. It feels like you’re doing a giraffe impression, but it looks good on camera!
If you have trouble with blinking in pictures, tell the photographer straight away when you walk in, so that they can help you get it right instead of wasting exposures. A good trick is to close your eyes, ask the photographer to count you in, and open your eyes as they take the picture.
Get a friend to hold the camera (or use time delay) and practice before the day itself, and you’ll be able to swoop into the studio like a pro and get the perfect shot.
Attention to Detail
Remember to think about the little things. You’ll most likely be holding up a scroll, so make sure that your fingernails are clean, well manicured, and not displaying chipped nail varnish. If you’re wearing make-up, make sure that it’s well applied and looking fresh.
The photographers will want to get your face looking as open as possible, so they might ask you to brush your fringe back a bit if it’s really heavy, and wear your mortar board towards the back of your head rather than pulled down over your forehead. If you wear any kind of head covering, you may be advised to wear it as far back from the face as you’re comfortable with – if you can, choose a lighter colour which won’t dominate your face as much. The best bet is to take a mirror with you, so that you can check your appearance in the queue.
If you’re not graduating this year, or if you’re moving on to full time post-grad studies and still need student accommodation, our high-quality student flats are a great place to stay, with inclusive bills, a great community and a supportive atmosphere for study. For more information, get in touch with us online or call us on +44 (0)116 2517270.