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Old May 13, 2012, 7:17 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Decatur, GA
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Default High School Graduation Tips and Questions

With High School Graduation for most just around the corner I wanted to start a post where we could are share info on past high school graduations we have shot and where people can ask questions ......

I have been shooting our local high school graduation since 2006 for the local newspaper.

I'll start with a couple of quick tips

- If your going to shoot and want to go down close like on the football field, front row etc check with the high school ahead of time to see what security regulations they have and what you need to do or if you will be allowed to go where you want to shot.
In my case they have state police officers who patrol the event and you have to be on a media list in order to have access to the front of the field etc and you need to either have a Media-Press Badge or be on a list generated by the schools athletics department (which handles the event - the athletics director is in charge of the field sector of the event). Make sure you know where you can and can't stand and can and can't go and follow those rules. I watched 2 years ago a good newspaper photographer was removed from the event for free-lancing the area and going where he wanted to go to get the shots he wanted with no regards to the rules. The police viewed him as a treat and handled it. He has since been banned from the school property

- Look for emotional shot as well as the standard portrait shots
In addition to the kids marching in and getting their diplomas handed to them (which we may try to capture each and every kid or just a few select ones depending on what your goal or assignment is) look for kids smiling, crying, hugging etc. These make excellent impact shots

- Things will move by at a good pace so keep shooting and don't be afraid to overshot, however cheak the view finder-LCD screen and make sure they are exposed properly and in focus but as far as content goes check your shots later and delete later as deleting during the ceremony may cause you to loose some great shots.

- Also don't always look forward at the stage, scan the crowd and especially the student sections frequently for shots. You will be surprised how many times you will see emotion on the kids face(s).......

- As for camera settings...... the one setting I always have set on my camera is to have the burst mode activated so when the action gets going I can grab multi frames quickly.
Like when the caps are thrown in the air, also some kids get emotional or very animated when they get their diplomas

- I also suggest keeping a large card in the camera so you don't run out of memory at a busy time (or the wrong time as some call it) of the ceremony. For those that have multi cards I would start with the largest card you have and go from their if you need a second card

- Last but no least should be common sense but start with a freshly-fully charged battery and have a spare ready to go. I'll keep the spare battery in my left pants pocket for easy access along with a spare memory card so when I get separated from my bag I have what I need to keep going till I can get back to my bag.

Hope this helps and I would love to hear what others can add to the discussion and if you have any questions don;t be afraid to ask.

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