Editorial Photography for CDI College

Written by Jen Dell

Published February 6, 2019

This graduation photography photo captures rows of students and guests seated on long benches for the commencement ceremony. A smiling student sitting a few rows back is sharply in focus, while the rest of the scenery behind her is softly blurred.

Graduation Photography

There is so much anticipation and excitement leading up to graduation day. It is the culmination of students’ hard work and represents the beginning of the next chapter of their lives. It is a day filled with pomp and circumstance. When photographing a commencement ceremony it is important to strike a balance, by capturing images that are both reflective of the celebratory nature of the day and also convey its significance.

The editorial photographs below capture some of the special moments for CDI students on graduation day, from greeting guests to accepting their diplomas. Even a simple gesture, like the toss of a graduation cap tassel, can hold significance on that day, and thus be worthy of attention.

Here are some things to keep in mind when creating editorial graduation photography:

Consider your client.

Understanding your client – who they are, what they do, what drives them— is the first step to achieving effective storytelling through editorial photography. What is their story? What are their intentions for the images? In some cases editorial images support text, and in others the photographs tell a story on their own, providing a complete visual narrative. Images can convey feelings or emotions that words cannot. Think about what your client wants to say, and how best to express those ideas through photography.

Preparation is key.

Preparing for the shoot will help to ensure that the photographs match the tone of the event. Explore the venue in advance in order to anticipate and plan for any possible challenges, such as inadequate lighting or distracting scenery, and devise creative solutions for these issues. We really want the graduation photography to be memorable.

Get creative with composition.

Framing the subject in unconventional ways, for instance, placing them off-center or to one side of the image will result in more dynamic images. Shoot horizontally and vertically to provide clients with options. Often, graduation photography images need to be clean and crisp, so as not to distract from the text they accompany. It is preferable to produce straight lines and clean compositions at the time of the shoot, rather than relying on post-production for making corrections.

Create a point of interest.

A busy background might divert attention from the subject or theme of an image, thus diluting its storytelling capabilities. Declutter images by using a shallow depth of field. This effect will ensure that the subject stands out by placing them sharply in focus while the rest of the image is blurred.

ABOUT CDI

CDI College has 23 locations in Canada, with various program offerings in business, healthcare and technology. They focus on career training, providing internships and hands-on experience to students. CDI offers students the opportunity to learn in smaller class settings and complete their education in a short period of time.

The graduation photography photos captured convey the students’ feelings of hope and optimism for the future. The close-up, candid shots of CDI graduates help to convey the emotion of this day, by highlighting the expressions of joy and pride on their faces. Since the school prides itself on offering small class sizes and a personalized learning experience, it was important to take photos of individual students, to document their unique experiences on graduation day. These images show prospective students that they, too, can advance their careers and achieve their educational goals at CDI, just as the graduates in these photos have done.


Graduation photography of a student outside

A medium close-up shot of a CDI student with a guest on graduation day. In this candid photograph, the smiling graduate greets guests prior to the ceremony. A shallow depth of field is used so that the student and guest are sharply in focus but the rest of the scene is blurred.


Students donning caps and gowns, sit waiting for their names to be called during the graduation ceremony. The photograph is captured at eye-level through rows of seated students, offering an interesting perspective and creating a sense of being imme…

Students donning caps and gowns, sit waiting for their names to be called during the graduation ceremony. The graduation photography example is captured at eye-level through rows of seated students, offering an interesting perspective and creating a sense of being immersed in the crowd.


A smiling student is congratulated by her instructor. Both are dressed in academic regalia. A shallow depth of field is used to draw the eye to the student’s smiling face in this celebratory moment.

A smiling student is congratulated by her instructor. Both are dressed in academic regalia. A shallow depth of field is used to draw the eye to the student’s smiling face in this celebratory moment.


In this candid shot, a graduate moves the tassel on their graduation cap from one side to the other, signifying that they have received their diploma.

In this candid shot, a graduate moves the tassel on their graduation cap from one side to the other, signifying that they have received their diploma.


An instructor hands a diploma to a graduate. This close-up shot focuses on their outstretched hands, highlighting the significance of this moment.

An instructor hands a diploma to a graduate. This close-up graduation photography image focuses on their outstretched hands, highlighting the significance of this moment.


A student stands, preparing to approach the stage. The warm smile on the graduand’s face evokes a sense of pride and anticipationt. A shallow depth of field is used to bring the student into focus and softly blur the seated guests in the background.

A student stands, preparing to approach the stage. The warm smile on the graduate’s face evokes a sense of pride and anticipation. A shallow depth of field is used to bring the student into focus and softly blur the seated guests in the background.


In this medium close-up, a student and instructor pose, smiling for the camera.

In this medium close-up, a student and instructor pose, smiling for the camera.


In this action shot, a new graduate raises their diploma, victoriously, with an instructor at their side.

In this action shot, a new graduate raises their diploma, victoriously, with an instructor at their side.


An instructor poses with a student holding an award certificate.

An instructor poses with a student holding an award certificate.


Rows of graduands seated on long benches listen to the commencement speeches. In this wide shot, the background is kept in focus in order to capture the grandeur of the ceremony hall.

Rows of graduates seated on long benches listen to the commencement speeches. In this wide shot, the background is kept in focus in order to capture the grandeur of the ceremony hall.


This photograph captures the rows of seated students and the area above them reaching up to the high vaulted ceiling. This perspective emphasizes the architectural features of the space, and provides a sense of its size and the number of people in t…

This graduation photography photograph captures the rows of seated students and the area above them reaching up to the high vaulted ceiling. This perspective emphasizes the architectural features of the space, and provides a sense of its size and the number of people in the room.


This overhead shot captures rows of seated graduands in blue caps and gowns. The downward angle emphasizes the number of students in the room and offers a visually interesting perspective.

This overhead shot captures rows of seated graduates in blue caps and gowns. The downward angle emphasizes the number of students in the room and offers a visually interesting perspective.


The students are front and centre in this medium close-up shot captured during the graduation ceremony.

The students are front and center in this medium close-up shot captured during the graduation ceremony.


This photograph captures rows of students from a side angle as they look towards the front of the auditorium.

This photograph captures rows of students from a side angle as they look towards the front of the auditorium.


This medium close-up shot focuses on a graduate’s facial expression. Photographs of individual students help to illustrate the personalized experience offered to cdi students.

This medium close-up shot focuses on a graduate’s facial expression. Photographs of individual students help to illustrate the personalized experience offered to CDI students.


There is a lot of activity in this photograph, which features a group of students and instructors taking a group shot using a phone. The photograph conveys the celebratory atmosphere of the event.

There is a lot of activity in this photograph, which features a group of students and instructors taking a group shot using a phone. The graduation photography photograph conveys the celebratory atmosphere of the event.


This candid image captures a group of graduates sharing in a laugh following the ceremony. The smiling faces help to convey the exuberance of the day.

This candid image captures a group of graduates sharing in a laugh following the ceremony. The smiling faces help to convey the exuberance of the day.


This close-up shot captures a graduate looking over their shoulder with a pensive expression on their face. A shallow depth of field is used to eliminate noise in the background and make the subject the focus of the image.

This close-up shot captures a graduate looking over their shoulder with a pensive expression on their face. A shallow depth of field is used to eliminate noise in the background and make the subject the focus of the image.

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