How to be photo-ready for graduation

Tips, tricks, and take-aways for this long-awaited and important day!
A group of graduates throw their cap in the air, celebrating the completion of an important milestone.
A group of graduates throw their cap in the air, celebrating the completion of an important milestone.
Vasily Koloda via Unsplash

LOS ALAMITOS, CA – Graduation for the Los Alamitos High School class of 2024 is fast-approaching. The special event is Tuesday, June 4 at Dignity Health Sports Park Tennis Complex and will start at 7 p.m., but graduating seniors need to arrive at 5:30 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and families can expect a small, intimate celebration of their seniors. 

With this milestone around the corner, seniors need to start thinking about their outfits for graduation if they haven’t already. It may not seem that important to pick out an outfit for graduation, but what about the pictures you will take afterward? These pictures with your friends, family, and loved ones might be one of the last moments that you can spend with them for a while, so it is important to look photo-ready on this special day. 

“I would say ask your friends what they’re going to wear, so you don’t feel like you’re the odd one out,” Sofia Londono, a Los Al senior, said. “Also, make sure to find out the color of your gown before you pick your outfit.” 

Planning your outfit 

The most important part of your grad look is your outfit. It needs to be a perfect combination of something you feel good in but is timeless for pictures. 

“Honestly, I feel like something that I go by every single time is ‘What color have I not worn yet?’ I also think about what color suits me best and how comfortable I want to be,” Lea Guijarro, another senior, said. 

The first tip I would give is to think about your entire look – from your shoes to your hair. Depending on the color of your cap and gown, you might want to pick out an outfit that compliments it. Los Al allows students to pick from blue and red caps and gowns, so hopefully you have already picked out a color that you like and suits you. 

“I definitely don’t know [what I’m wearing], but I want to go with a flowy dress because I’m not sure if it will be hot,” Guijarro said. “Our cap and gown options are red and blue, so I want to do something neutral to go with it. I’m thinking I’ll do either white or black.” 

If you picked a blue cap and gown, I would recommend you think about cool or neutral colors because blue is naturally an overpowering color if it is paired with something bright. For girls, I would pick either white, black, beige, or a lighter pastel version of blue for dresses. These colors would not clash with your cap and gown and also bring out the blue that you chose. For guys, I would do casual, neutral-colored dress pants, such as black or beige, and pick from the same colors for your dress shirt as the dress color options for girls. Following the same idea, these colors would look classy in photos as a classic grad look. 

“I think I’m [going to] wear a white button-up undershirt and black dress pants,” Los Al senior Diego Herrera said.

If you picked a red cap and gown, I would recommend you either choose neutral or bright colors to compliment the red. Similar to blue, red is a powerful color, but it also has subtle qualities that make it easier to pair with bright colors. For girls, I would first decide on whether or not you want to be bold with your color pairings. Bold options include yellow, orange, or a deep burgundy because these colors would compliment the potency of the red. However, if you want to follow the more traditional route, white, beige, or black are all great options. For guys, I would say going the classic black-pants-and-white-shirt route is the best option, but going bold is still a great alternative. 

Overall, it truly just depends on how you want to go about your graduation look. These are a few of the options that could work, but please know that you are not limited to these ideas.

Pro tip: Don’t trip!

The second tip that I can give is to think about the shoes that you wear to graduation. While it might be fun to strut the stage in six-inch heels or your favorite boots, you also need to be able to successfully walk across the stage without tripping over your feet. I would say that wearing any sort of bulky shoes would look strange for such a formal event and dress down your outfit. 

“You need to wear something comfortable and elegant so it looks good for pictures,” Londono said. 

The best advice that I can think of is to think about what you’re going to be comfortable in for multiple hours [and] maybe bring a change of clothes to change into informal clothes afterward.”

— Diego Herrera, Los Al senior

The right shoes, while not as flashy as you want them to be, can make or break your outfit overall. Make sure to pick out shoes that you can both walk and feel good in but are also the perfect statement at graduation. 

The white grad dress trend 

More often than not, it’s common for girls to choose white dresses for their grad look. White is not only a sophisticated, elegant color, but it is also the perfect way to welcome a new chapter in post-high school life. This trend, despite the fact that it’s common, mainly comes from a cultural standpoint dating back many centuries. 

According to the blog Digibudda, white graduation dresses were adopted in the 19th century as part of an educational milestone. They became a symbol of purity and new beginnings for young women completing their studies and transitioning to adulthood. 

At the same time, eastern regions of Asia such as China associate white with mourning, death, and inauspicious chi energy. There is not a specific divide in terms of appreciation for the color, so it is still common for these cultures to wear white at graduation. 

Seniors, please remember to keep these important tips in mind as you attend graduation! Your grad look can definitely play a role in making graduation very special, so make sure to plan ahead to make sure everything goes smoothly. Congratulations to the class of 2024, and best of luck with your post-high school plans!

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  • J

    Jaya EapenMay 21, 2024 at 6:46 pm

    This was so fun and interesting to read! I’ve always wondered about the white dress trend! Great job Nandi!

  • S

    Sydney ForsyteMay 21, 2024 at 12:16 pm

    This is such a great article, Nandi! I love your vocabulary!

  • K

    Katie ArnoultMay 20, 2024 at 4:30 pm

    I love these tips! I’m definitely going to re-read this article when I graduate!