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I LOVE grad season!
Sure, I forget to submit assignments, leave the occasional homework unfinished, and rarely sleep – but it’s all worth it in the end.
Joking aside, I honestly do love the time of the year when PSU soon-to-be graduates flood Old Main lawn, and spill down the sidewalk in front of Kern waiting for the Lion Shrine. I always feel honored to be the one trusted to document such a big moment in your personal history.
This year was my third full “grad season,” as I’ve fondly come to know it, and boy was it one to remember…let’s just say there were some interesting moments this year.
I remember freshmen year taking grad photos for a ton of my brother’s friends and genuinely having zero idea of what I was doing and how to even use my camera. Oh how the times have changed.
I’m so grateful for the longstanding tradition of Penn State grad photos, because I truly do credit that first grad season as the reason I so love photography today, and the platform that launched Chloe Paige Photography in the first place!
To celebrate the season wrapping up, and all the mems made this time around, I present to you… *drum roll* The Ten Lessons I Learned During PSU Grad Photo Szn feat. The Class of 2019!
Lesson 1: This one is for the ladiezz (and any gents in heels – we love a heeled moment), you will save yourself a LOT of pain if you bring commute shoes to wear while walking to each location. Ahhh yes, go ahead and sport your Birks, your Uggs, your Crocs, or those Old Navy flip flops you wore as shower shoes freshman year! Trust me, you WILL thank me later. For the photogs – I highly recommend my footwear of choice for grad sessions: Tevas (I now own 4 pairs. Yikes.).
Lesson 2: It turns out that 7AM start time for morning sessions is WAY better than 7:30AM. You won’t miss that extra half hour of sleep anyhow (lol), but this extra early start time is so much better for lighting AND dodging the crowds.
Lesson 3: Old Main stairs pics – I don’t like ‘em. I will happily take these for you if it’s always been your dream to have pictures here, because I love you and you are my number one priority during your session. However, this is probably on my top 5 list of horrible locations – the lighting, the angle, the crowds – all of it, I mostly despise.
Lesson 4: My favorite part of every grad session is becoming your own personal hype woman. It’s your moment to werk and you know I’ll be cheering you on from behind my camera for two hours straight!
Lesson 5: This one is for photogs: there will be many people that try to bully you out of taking pictures in a specific location or getting the shot you want (free of people in the background), but it’s your job to act as your client’s advocate and speak up! It’s okay to politely ask someone to step out of your shot, or if they mind waiting their turn for a location (looking at you, Old Main pillars). Your clients will appreciate you protecting their time and doing the most to get the best photos for them!
Lesson 6: The best way to be mindful of other photogs and grads waiting in line at the Lion Shrine or any other popular locations is to choreograph what you’re going to do before it’s your turn! Seriously, this helps so much! Talk with each other and come up with a game plan of the photos you’re looking to get, and how you are going to flow through those poses to be as efficient as possible when it’s your turn! This one is mostly on you, photogs, so be prepared and don’t leave your clients hangin’.
Lesson 7: Be confident! This one sounds dumb, but it can be intimidating to pose for photos in front of a line of 50 people waiting behind you at the Lion Shrine, or if you’re a photog it can be nervy to pose your clients and set your camera with an audience of other photographers behind you. Just have fun! Be efficient, and be confident up there.
Lesson 8: Please, please, please – for me and your mom, both – steam your dang gown. Those wrinkles are not something that can be photoshopped. It’s simple to do and will look WAY better in your photos. If you don’t have an iron or a steamer, call me up the night before your session and we’ll go to town on those wrinkles, you don’t even have to worry, hunny!
Lesson 9: Tassel on the RIGHT side of your face!!! (This one is for 2020 Chloe to reference, because I ALWAYS forget year to year).
Lesson 10: Enjoy Penn State while it lasts. The number one thing my time with every graduating senior teaches me is to enjoy my time in Happy Valley while I can. It’s a special place, and life will never be the same once we leave.
Bonus Lesson – this one is for the seniors who may be feeling sad about leaving at this point – the best is surely yet to come.