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A Penn Stater’s Guide To Grad Photo Etiquette

It’s that time of year, folks. Between cramming for finals and cherishing all of the “lasts,” seniors across campus are blocking out time to visit Penn State landmarks one final time for their graduation portraits.

While taking grad photos is a fun opportunity to let go and have fun before graduation, there are plenty of unspoken rules that go into the process. For soon-to-be graduates and photographers alike, we’ve compiled a quick refresher to make sure your photo session is picture-perfect.

Clean Up After Yourself

Sam Brungo | Onward State

It shouldn’t need to be said that you shouldn’t litter. Still, empty bottles of champagne, confetti, and other celebratory items are abandoned at locations around campus. It is simply not that hard to find a trash can to toss those cans and bottles in once you’ve finished with them. You can also skip the confetti in favor of something more environmentally friendly or stick to popping the bubbly only. Plus, everyone who won’t need to stand in your confetti during their portraits will thank you. Keeping campus beautiful is as easy as caring enough to clean up after yourself.

Wait In Line (Even If It’s Long)

Look, we get it. We all hate waiting in lines. Unfortunately, lines are a part of life. In the ~real world~, you will still need to wait in lines. Please behave as an adult would and don’t cut to the front. Trust us, everyone who has been waiting for an hour plus at the Lion Shrine will not bother to tell you or your photographer that your tie is crooked or that your dress straps are uneven. We’re all in this together.

If you’re bored, try chatting up the folks near you in line. It’s a great way to pass the time and perhaps make some new friends before hitting the road.

Watch Your Back(ground)

Photographers, this one’s for you. Please be mindful of where you’re walking with your grads! There is not a worse feeling in the world than trying to set up the perfect portrait or champagne pop at Old Main or Beaver Stadium and having someone else walk right through the back of it. Even worse is when other people hop in the background of your photos and start taking their own. Don’t be that person. There is no harm in waiting your turn.

Be Polite

Remember that good ol’ Happy Valley Hospitality that they go on and on about at football games? Being a good person isn’t just limited to not swearing at Penn State’s opponents. Make sure to thank your photographer and anyone else that’s helped you get to where you are today. They will surely appreciate it.

Enjoy One Last Ride

Whether you’re taking photos on your own or with your roomies-turned-best friends, take a moment to soak it all in. You’ve worked four years for this, so don’t take it for granted.

Remember to let loose and be yourself. While the photos themselves can’t capture all of your Penn State experience, they will forever be a reminder of the times you had here.

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About the Author

Alysa Rubin

Alysa is a junior majoring in journalism and is Onward State's assistant visual editor. She's one of many "just outside of Philly" folks at Penn State and yes, she's an obnoxious Philly sports fan. Alysa loves her camera, hiking, Cape Cod, and eating her way through Wawa. She's also a proud mom to a cat named Comet. Follow @arubin241 on Twitter to keep up with what she sees through her lens (and for a funny retweet or two), and direct all photo requests to [email protected]

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