Graduation photography (and the lack of)


Come to Atlantic Photo Supply in late October/ early November and you will find stressed lab rats working their guts out trying to get the many graduation and school photographers prints ready. Making sure that all these thousands of students don’t look too magenta, or too cyan..

One trend that I’ve noticed since being in Canada is what a massive deal graduation photos are, there’s high school graduation, university graduation, both formal and informal, even now jr high graduation photos are becoming popular! In Australia the market for graduation photography is a lot different to what I understand it to be here. There is basically one big company which goes around to each of the different universities. On graduation day, you register your name with them at the beginning of the day and pay your $20, they take a photo of you when you are called up during the ceremony. You don’t get to see it until it is sent to you 6 weeks later. You can however see the limited few poses that they take in a mini studio at the end of the ceremony for who wants them, online within the next couple of days.

As for high school graduation portraits there really is no such thing. I remember helping the Year 12 formal (like prom) committee to campaign the school to get an event photographer to come in and they set up a mini studio and you could jump in as many photos that you liked with your friends, if you were willing to wait in the line with the other 300 people there.

School photos are a little more similar to here though, every child gets their photo taken, just in the class photo if the parents don’t want a package, and as individuals if they do want to order a package and again you don’t get to see any proofs, you just get them back a couple of months later.

There are so many talented photographers out there that enjoy many different kinds of photography but these shots are their bread and butter and what I wonder is, what would they do if this was taken away? What if Graduation photography and school photography suddenly lost all interest, what then?