While most grads still head off to have portraits taken professionally, as parents and relatives we would still like to get great photos of them on our own cameras if we can. Here are some useful tips for taking graduation photos. 1. Use a low point of view People wearing flowing black robes and tasseled caps tend to look noble and important, so take your picture to enhance this effect. One of the best ways to do this is to use a low point of view. Crouch down to your knees and take the photo looking up at your subject. 2. Find a simple background Graduation ceremonies are normally very busy with a sea of gowned and nervous graduates. This can create a busy background, which takes away from your subject. Find a simple background to go along with the simplicity of the black robe. By crouching down far enough you may be able to use the sky as your background. You could also put your graduate next to some trees or bushes. 3. Place your graduate next to a wall Placing your graduate next to a wall may work as well, especially if it is on an attractive or architecturally interesting building. Taking the photo on an oblique angle to the wall will add some perspective and can give the feeling of looking into the future in a way appropriate to graduation. In addition, using a small aperture such as f/2 will put the background a little more out of focus, further simplifying it and putting more attention on your subject. 4. Consider telephoto lenses The most flattering portraits are often taken with telephoto lenses and the camera set back a long way from the scene. Telephoto lenses have a different perspective and tend to compress space. This will "flatten" your subject's face a little, which, although it may sound funny, actually looks good on film. 5. Try to bring out a range of emotions You will probably want your graduation portraits to be posed, but this doesn't necessarily mean that you want them to be smiley. Try some with your graduate smiling, grinning, thinking, stern or any other range of emotions. Talking to them while taking the pictures will often bring out unexpected expressions and put them at ease. Remember that this moment will only come once, so although everyone may be a bit anxious and thinking about the busy schedule, try to give your photo taking the time it deserves.