Grad Photos FAQ
You've found the source for answers about grad photos, including what to expect, how to get ready, and what happens after the session. Remember you can always Contact Us if you need help!
Graduation & Grad Photos
These are more general questions – the sort of things you might be wondering before photo day.
Of course you do!
Our opinion might be biased though ... you should go ask your mom. 😄
Seriously, your graduation is a big deal and should be remembered in a way that lasts. Portraits are a great way to do that, and years from now you'll be happy to have them. Put on the cap & gown and see how it feels - we think you'll like it.
Professional photos also make a great gift for the people who support you. Your friends and family might want your photos more than you do! A portrait is a perfect gift to say thanks to your parents, grandparents, and loved ones.
In most cases, it's as easy as showing up!
Most of the time, we are either making these products for your class or working closely with the people who are. Once your photo has been taken, we will automatically include it in the yearbook or class photo composite.
You can even tell us which photo to use! Your photo gallery will include the option to pick your favourite photo (using certain guidelines) and how we should write your name. (No pranks, please.)
Some schools don't make yearbooks, of course, so please check your school's page for more details. If you haven't planned one yet, but would like to – let us know! We can help.
First, don't worry too much! This is not very common - our photographers excel at helping you relax, smile naturally, and have a good time in our studio. We also give you the chance to see your photos while you're in the studio so we can make sure you like the results.
Still, if your photos don't make you (or your mom) happy we will gladly try again! There is no charge for retake sessions, and we'll just replace the first set of photos with some (hopefully) better ones. If you prefer, you can choose to take more and keep both sets; the 2nd session would then be half-price.
Please let us know if you have any questions about your photos, too - in some cases we can address your concerns with editing. You know, "Fix it in post!"
Before the session:
You can book an appointment for grad photos in two ways.
The first method is to use the link for your school. Click on "Find Your School" in the menu above and follow the link for your class. Your school's page includes the dates we will be at your school and a link for booking photos there.
You can also visit our studio for your grad photos - any time of year except when we are at your school. (We usually have your grad outfits at your school on those days.) Our studio in Edmonton is on campus at the University of Alberta, in the Student's Union Building (SUB). Book your appointment by visiting subphoto.ca/calendars.
For photos in the cap and gown, your shirt choice is important! The grad gown does not hide casual clothes like t-shirts, so plan ahead for the look you want.
Traditionally, men wear a dress shirt and tie under the gown, and ladies choose a neckline that won't show (like a tank top). If you are non-binary or want to try your own look that's no problem – what you wear is up to you!
To see photo samples of how different collars and necklines look, visit our What should I wear page and click the photo samples at the bottom.
There aren't any firm rules about this - you can wear anything you like! Here are some ideas and tips to help you decide.
Pick a favourite outfit. Choose clothing that makes you feel great! This can be casual, classy, or even a little crazy – just something that makes you smile when you look in the mirror.
Something meaningful. This could be something like a family heirloom, a cultural outfit, or the jersey from a favourite team.
Accessories. Bring items that add some personal flavour to your portraits. Think about jewelry that you like, a watch or bracelet, even a hat or scarf.
On photo day:
All grad photo sessions include:
- Wearing the cap & gown, plus a stole or hood in your school colours
- Use of some grad-themed props like a scroll, a degree holder, and fresh roses (usually for ladies)
- Preview of your photos on-site (time permitting)
- Viewing of your photos online as previews or proofs (watermarked, unedited)
- A photographer who will listen to your ideas.
You always get a variety of poses with different angles and expressions. A grad session always includes a good variety of photos in the cap and gown; if you want more choice, book a longer session to get more photos taken with more variety. Get more details by visiting our photo sessions page.
We will have a few of the most-used photo props on hand when you arrive. Specifically, our photographers will have real roses and a diploma scroll for you to use if you like.
You can also personalize your portrait with accessories that mean something to you. That may be small props like your favourite book or hat, or over-the-top ideas (we've had jumping clowns and live chickens)! If it's significant to you (and safe, and legal) then bring it along for your session.
There's no pressure of course - you will get a great set of photos even if you bring nothing extra. We just want you to know that your ideas are welcome.
Usually, yes! Once your photo session is complete our photographer will take a few moments to show you the results. We want to make sure you are happy with your photos, and we will try some poses again if they aren't to your liking.
You also won't wait long for your proof gallery. Photos are uploaded to your gallery within a few days, and you'll be able to share the link and password with anyone you wish!
The only exception to our on-site preview is when our studio is very busy, such as during convocation days. At these times the demand on our team is very high, and we may not offer previews in order to help as many of you as possible.
Can you fix it? What's possible - and what isn't.
Definitely! We retouch photos that you order in a way that looks natural, not fake or overly smooth, and we have real artists who do the work rather than a computer - so your freckles won't be automatically removed either.
We can also take special requests - although more complicated editing may cost extra. For details and some examples of our retouching work, please visit: PHOTO RETOUCHING.
It's up to you of course, but retouching makes a big difference!
Most photographers can spot an un-edited image easily. You know how sometimes you say, "That's a really nice photo!" but you can't quite say what makes it special? That's what we're talking about here.
When our artists take the time to go over the details, the results go from "good" to "great". Perhaps the best way to explain this is to show you: check out before-and-after versions of some photos on our PHOTO RETOUCHING page.
We certainly can! Our artists have years of experience and are very talented at making exactly the edits you want, while also keeping you natural-looking. Give them a challenge, if you like!
There is an extra cost, of course, but you'll be able to review and request adjustments until it is just what you were hoping for! Background changes, fixing a wandering eye, adjusting jawlines and clothing details - those are just a few examples of what is possible. Please CONTACT US with your requests.
Ordering Your Photos
Visit your photo gallery to place an order; contact us with your questions!
Great question! The cost to purchase your photos varies a lot depending what you want to get.
You can get prints of your photos for as little as $39.99, although many clients spend $150 or more. Get a better answer in our help article: HOW MUCH DO GRAD PHOTOS COST?
Some download products can be accessed immediately, but most of the time your photos will be sent to our retouching artists first and then to our lab for printing. This process takes time, so please allow up to six weeks for your order. If you need them by a certain date, CONTACT US and we will see what we can do.
You can follow the progress of your order if you LOG IN to your account. Your order status will be updated as each step is completed, and we will send you an email when your photos are ready and on their way to you.
You know how sometimes a photo just looks better, but it's hard to say why? That's the difference!
Of course all our download products are high quality. They are suitable for sharing, making your own prints and doing your own editing.
You can choose products like the our Download ALL which gives you the photos exactly as they appear in your gallery. The watermark will be removed, but there are no other adjustments to the look or quality of your portrait.
Premium Downloads get close attention to every detail. They will be hand-retouched by our Artists (no AI or blur filters here!) and reviewed carefully for any details that need attention. We transform your photo into a professional portrait.
How can I find my photo gallery?
Wondering how to see your photos online? Follow these steps and you'll be able to view your photo gallery, compare images, choose your favourites, apply filters to your photos and share them to your friends and family.
Here are the steps to view your graduation photos:
If you haven't already done so, click Log In and enter your email and password. Friends and family members can use the same link to create a new account.
When you are logged in, click Find Your Photos in the menu above. You'll see a list of all your photo galleries.
TIP: If you've visited us before, make sure to use the same email address you used for your appointment to make things easier.
You can access a photo gallery by entering the Gallery Access Code. Codes are sent to our clients by email, usually within a day or two of the photo appointment.If you have lost access to your gallery, get in touch with us and we'll give you a hand. For privacy reasons, we do not share Access Codes with anyone except our clients.
You can reset your account password at any time from the Log In screen.
You can find your Gallery Access Code in your email. The code is sent to the email address used when booking the appointment. Please allow 2 to 3 days for your proof email to arrive, possibly up to a week during convocation.
In rare cases, our emails may end up in your spam or commercial messages folder. Please check your junk folders or use the "All Mail" view. If you still can't find it, Contact Us for help.
To see photos from someone else, please ask them for the access code; for privacy reasons, we can not provide it to anyone else.
Of course! If it isn't your mom, there's probably a grandma, sibling or significant other who is interested - and probably would like to see them more than you expect!
There are two methods for sharing your photos. The first is to send your Gallery Access Code (found in your email) to your friends and family. They can view your entire gallery and make purchases if they wish.
The second method is to use theicon, visible above or below any of your photos. Click it to generate a link that will show your photo by email or on various social media sites.
Note that if you are sharing from a private photo gallery you may also need to provide the Gallery Access Code before your photo can be shared.