With high school and college graduation coming up in May, now is the time to book your graduation photos. Of course you want the best possible photos- both traditional shots and shots that let your personality shine through. I ask my friend Topher of NeverEnding Memories Photography for his tips on getting the perfect graduation photo experience:

• Do not be afraid to ask to see the photographer’s camera. If the photographer is shooting on automatic mode (the Green “A”), this means the photographer is not trained and is shooting off the cameras own auto settings. Basically what that person is doing is something anyone can do with a point and shoot camera. Why pay someone for something you can do with your cell phone?

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• If the photographer says “I have a really good camera”…….. the same applies to the above. Regardless if a camera cost $500 or $1000, with the proper training and skills the properly trained photographer can capture amazing images with any camera.

• A reputable photographer will either offer you prints through their own pricing options, or would suggest a reputable company to print through. A photographer should never suggest ordering through a local pharmacy or superstore locations. These companies print large quantities of pictures in quick turnaround times. They do not calibrate their machines to capture the true brilliance, color quality, or sharpness of the photographer work. In fact, the images you get back may appear washed out or grainy.

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• Have an idea of what it is you want captured. Every student is different in what they want to see out of their images. Some will want an urban feel of downtown Lubbock and graffiti walls, some will want the bright brilliant hues of spring flowers, some will want the architectural imagery of Texas Tech. Let your photographer know what you want and work together to come up with a plan that satisfies both of your request.
• They maybe graduating High School….. but this does not mean they still do not need guidance. Make sure your child’s nails are clean and clipped, facial hair is well maintained, groomed, and trimmed/shaven. Moisturize all over, legs, face, knuckles, etc. Make sure all nose hair is trimmed (this goes for both guys and girls). Make sure your clothes are ironed well and that your cap and gown is free of wrinkles and that your shoes are cleaned.

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• Last, but certainly not least. You may have paid for the images, but keep in mind your photographer is an artist and as a client you should respect the artist work. Adding filters and cropping images to share on social media is an alteration to your artist work and is very disrespectful to the artist. Look at all the artist work ahead of time, This I a good representation of what the artist work will look like, so you should not alter the work the artist provides you.

• Feel free to always tip your photographer, the work does not stop at the end of the shoot. In fact, the shoot may take 1 hour, the editing may take 7 hours, so feel free to throw a little extra in to support your local small businesses.

There you have it. Topher also wanted me to mention that railroad photography is both unsafe and illegal (have you seen Fried Green Tomatoes?). To see more of Topher's graduation and other photography, or to inquire about bookings, visit his Facebook page.