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High School Graduation Photos Arizona

How to Get Beautiful Cap & Gown Graduation Photos | Mesa Senior Portrait Photographer

December 15, 2020

Beautiful Outdoor Graduation Photos

Have you considered brining your cap & gown to your senior portrait session? If not, you definitely should and I promise not to make them the same basic pictures that you’ll get from the school-selected photographer. I encourage you to bring all things senior related…cap, gown, tassel, letter, bows, sashes, bring all the things!

And that’s exactly what Rylee did before she graduated from Florence High School last spring. Not only were we lucky enough to have her graduation ensemble, but she also brought her cheer bow and senior sash.

Graduation Senior Pictures Arizona

Arizona Graduation Photos Tassel

While I may sound like a broken record, make sure you have everything ready for your graduation photos! Everything from head to toe…cap, gown, tassel, dress (yes, you do wear clothing under the gown!), and appropriate shoes. Oh, and if you don’t get the “broken record” reference, go ask mom or dad. I sometimes forget how young my seniors are, or how old I really am, and we’re not going to discuss those things. Let’s just move along and show off some more great cap & gown photos.

Creativity Comes Alive in the Arizona Sun

I often use this gorgeous Eastmark location for high school graduation photos because of the variety. For Brianna’s senior portrait session she asked if she could bring her cousin Ashton along. They were both Class of 2020 graduates so I thought it was a fabulous idea! We typically start shooting a couple of hours before sunset, so when we arrived, that bright Arizona sun was perfect to create these fun poses with the girls together.

Mesa Az Graduation Photos

Just a few feet away we created a completely different, softer look with nice highlights to their hair. While I do have this image in color, the black and white really showed off their smiles and pure joy at the thought of being almost done with high school. This image was selected and published by Senior Year Magazine in the Class of 2020 edition too! Yep, you read that right! My seniors nearly always get submitted for publication and while not everyone gets their picture in a magazine, it’s very exciting when they do!

High School Graduation Photos Mesa Az

The Toss

You may or may not get to toss your cap at your graduation ceremony so I love recreating an iconic hat toss for my seniors, like this one of Caroline. We were extra lucky that day and captured colorful sun rays that added a fun element to the picture.

Mesa Graduation Photos Cap Gown

Trust me, that giggle is everything. It makes for the perfect, relaxed, candid photo that parents and seniors love. In fact, Caroline loved this so much it is on the cover of her keepsake book!

Mesa Graduation Photos

Graduation Photos Keepsake Book

Get the “Mom Shot”

Every parent wants that perfect graduation picture of their child that showcases their cap, gown, and that beautiful smile. In fact, no graduation session is complete without the “mom shot.” Though it may seem basic, I always try to capture a beautiful headshot of my seniors in their cap & gown, and that includes making sure the year faces the camera. Moms and dads love posting these photos on their social media and I love it when I scroll through my feed seeing all my seniors’ favorite photos!

Profesional Mesa Graduation PhotosClear cache

Get a Close-Up of the Tassel

Your tassel is a is a symbol of achievement. While your cap & gown may gather dust over the years, your tassel will likely be a keepsake for many years to come. I love how this shot focuses on her graduation year while it also shows off those gorgeous lashes!

Mesa Arizona Graduation Photos

Personality, Please!

I love it all and so will you! Sure, you can just sit there, I promise we’ll get the mom shot and everyone will love them. But when I told Kaitlyn to show me how excited she was to graduate, these ended up being some of their absolute favorites!

Senior Graduation Photos Mesa

Savannah was perfectly happy dancing her way through the desert in her cap and gown too. Just a simple prompt of “dance, twirl, and show me how happy you are” caused this adorable reaction from this Desert Ridge High School graduate!

Best Locations Senior Pictures Graduation

No Cap & Gown?

Yes, I know that Jostens often doesn’t deliver caps & gowns until just a couple of weeks before graduation. Of course I can’t fit every senior into that time frame but never fear, I’ve got the perfect solutions! First of all, I have several black caps & gowns in my Style Closet for clients to borrow, but unfortunately I don’t have every school’s tassel. It’s OK, I’ve got this!

  • Order a “souvenir tassel” from Josten’s. In prior years they have been delivered by January.
  • Borrow a tassel from your friend or sibling, something that has the right school colors but the wrong year. The charm pops off easily and you can simply order your own from Amazon. That is what I did with my daughter this year. I used her brother’s 2019 tassel and bought this bling year charm. It’s perfect! There are several styles to choose from too!
  • Want a decorated cap but your school doesn’t allow that for graduation? Amazon to the rescue again! Credit goes to my daughter who had this idea so when Josten’s wouldn’t allow us to order an extra cap, we found this.
  • Sometimes these options just aren’t possible, so wait until you get your cap & gown in the spring. All of my graduating seniors will be invited back in the spring for a few quick cap & gown shots! Yes, it’s free. It’s my way of thanking you and congratulating you…and getting to see you one last time before you head off to conquer the world!



Now scheduling senior pictures for the Class of 2021!
Freshman, sophomores, and juniors, sign up to get on the waiting list!
(480) 779-7797

Senior Photos Michelle Robetson


  1. I love how you think of all the things. The markings of a great photographer, mom, old person (haha!), and person. Not just bring your cap and gown to your photo shoot, but also throw it! get some shots for mom and of course the amazing seniors. 💕

    • This cap & gown thing has been an issue with our schools for years! I honestly don’t know why they can’t get them just a little earlier. I’ve had kids literally not get them until graduation day! Now that my kids are graduating I definitely have extra gowns and it makes it so much easier for all of us.


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