A Swarthmore College senior graduate photo session with her family

February 27, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Does your college graduation checklist include a professional photo shoot? 

Here are my 6 reasons why it should and what I learned from Swarthmore College graduate, Maria and her family.

Graduating college is more than just receiving a Bachelor's degree or Master's degree or PhD—it's a culmination of years of hard work, growth, and unforgettable memories. It's often time away from your family and the people who love you but support the heck out of you, so you can grow and spread your wings.  As you look towards the next leg of your journey, investing in college senior photos is a meaningful way to celebrate this significant milestone and thank the people who are there for you each step of the way. Here are six reasons why capturing this moment is a must do!

1. You worked your butt off; celebrate all that you've achieved!!

Graduating college is a monumental accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated in a big way. Senior photos provide an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the sweat and tears that when into your academic journey and the dedication it took to reach the home stretch between being a college student and a college graduate. From late-night study sessions to awesome successes, these photos serve as a visual tribute to your resilience and determination. When I was contacted by Maria to capture her college experience with a photo session, I was immediately thrilled to learn that Maria wanted to include her biggest supporters- her family. 

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2. Share the experience with your family and the people who love you and supported you along the way!

Your college photo shoot is about you but it can also be about the people who supported you.  Scheduling a college senior photo session is an opportunity to invite your loved ones to partake in the excitement you're feeling as your graduation draws near.  Your family (and friends) are the people who stood by you, believed in you, cheered you on and provided unwavering support during the challenges of the college experience. 

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For Maria, she left her home state of Texas, and her family, to pursue her degree at Swarthmore College.  Despite the distance, her mom, dad and sisters celebrated her successes with genuine enthusiasm- I saw it in the smiles they shared, the laughter and the connection they had throughout our time together. It was important to Maria to share a small piece of her college experience with them and in doing so created lasting memories together.  We walked all around the campus to not only provide various backdrops in such a picturesque campus but also to capture iconic spots so Maria would have images of what became her second home.  She'd have images to look back on to remember the chair on the main quad, the library where she spent hours studying, the garden she enjoyed every spring and start of the school year.  But even more, through sharing this experience, she expressed so much gratitude for the invaluable role her family played in her Swarthmore journey.  By making our time together a family photo shoot, Maria's family took a walk down memory lane with Maria, enjoying her second home as much as she did!

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3. Professional Presence for Job Search, because when you graduate you go from student to professional!

The job market is crazy competitive these days and first impressions done well make a lasting impression. Your LinkedIn profile serves as your digital resume, and a professional headshot can elevate your online presence, making you stand out to recruiters and employers. Additionally, as you attend networking events and job interviews, having polished images portrays confidence and attention to detail, essential qualities that employers seek in potential candidates. Investing in college senior photos not only captures your academic achievement but also sets the tone for your professional trajectory, signaling to the world that you are ready to take on the challenges of the workforce with poise and professionalism.  The time Maria and I spent together was a mix of fun and intention- capturing photos that showed her personality and the accomplished young adult she is.  While the photos with family were important to Maria, capturing individual portraits also mattered.  While I'm not sure that Maria's headshots made it to her LinkedIn profile, her images most definitely show a confident, empowered and professional college graduate.

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4. Express gratitude to the people who supported you on campus with photos before you graduate

Sending thank-you notes to professors, mentors, and supporters who have guided you through your college years is a gracious gesture of appreciation. Including current photos from your senior session adds a personal touch to your gratitude, allowing recipients to see the confident, accomplished individual you've become as you express your thanks for their impact on your journey.  The photo session we enjoyed with Maria's family was a bit of a thank you to them.  And the photos after would be a tangible memory of that thanks for Maria's parents and siblings.  She truly gave them a gift of thanks by sharing the experience with them. 

5. Document Your College Experience, it's your home while you're there and will be a part of your history for your lifetime.

College isn't just a place of learning—it's your home away from home, where friendships are forged, lessons are learned, and memories are made. Documenting your college experience through senior photos is a tangible way to capture this transformative period in your life. From iconic campus landmarks to favorite hangout spots, these images serve as a visual diary of the moments and milestones that shaped your collegiate journey. And the years spent on a college campus shape the person you'll become- those years are a part of your history, entwined with your values, your motivation, your determination and are the support that you're success will be built upon.  The education Maria experienced at Swarthmore was invaluable- she didn't tell me that but I could tell the College had a profound and positive impact on her.  As we walked the campus and she shared little pieces of information about the buildings and the dorms and the open areas and those iconic spots I alluded to earlier, I knew that she had enjoyed her time there.  

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6. Embrace Memories and Reflections:

As you prepare to leave behind the familiar halls and bustling campus life, senior photos provide a moment of reflection and nostalgia. They serve as a reminder of the friendships, challenges, and growth you experienced during your college years, evoking a sense of pride and gratitude for the journey you've undertaken. For Maria, our time together was an opportunity to share her second home with her family.  Maria just which parts of the campus she wanted to show her family and we stopped at each of them to provide a backdrop to the Swarthmore story she wanted to share with her parents and sisters.  The images captured during a senior photo session will not only support you as you begin your professional journey as headshots but they will serve as a reminder of the hard work you put in.  You'll treasure them when you look back at where your professional life began. 

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I can honestly tell you that I had the best time exploring Maria's second home with her and her family.  We had such a great time enjoying the beauty and history of the campus!  I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure her sisters would agree that it was a fun and memorable experience too (based on their smiles ;)!!

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