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The replica Battle Bird in Hovey Hall is one option for commencement photos.

The replica Battle Bird in Hovey Hall is one option for commencement photos.

December graduates: How (not) to be cool when taking photos

Winter weather is a challenge for December graduates. No one really wants to stand in front of bare trees in a thin graduation gown and smile when it’s 30 degree outside.

So stay indoors. Ahead of commencement on Saturday, December 14, at Redbird Arena, we asked University photographer Lyndsie Schlink for some recommendations on prime campus locations with good lighting and backdrops.

Keep a couple of things in mind. You will not want to return to the floor of Redbird Arena after commencement. With multiple ceremonies set to take place that day, organizers will be getting the next group of graduates ready once one ceremony has ended. And the majority of other campus buildings are closed for the winter break. So try these ideas:

Bone Student Center

You may also want to take a photo in front of the Bone's fireplace.

You may want to take a photo in front of the Bone’s fireplace.

Head over to the Bone Student Center and pose in front of the fireplace on the first floor. Pull up a high-backed chair, stand, or sit on the stone hearth. Or try the second floor with the University seal as a backdrop.

The Bone will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Hovey Hall

Hovey Hall offers a couple spots for good pics.

Hovey Hall offers a couple spots for good pics.

Hovey Hall is another good spot. Campus murals provide a backdrop on the second floor, outside of the Office of Admissions. There’s also a replica of the Battle Bird. Try posing with your arm resting on the stand.

Hovey will be open from 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Center for the Performing Arts

Center for the Performing Arts

Illinois State’s Center for the Performing Arts

For a more dramatic setting, head to the Center for the Performing Arts (CPA). This building on the Quad has a bright yellow staircase and walls of windows with two stories of natural light.

The CPA will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight.

State Farm Hall of Business

You may also want to take a photo in front of the Bone's fireplace.

The State Farm Hall of Business’ sculptures and windows can provide a good photo setting.

The State Farm Hall of Business’ first floor offers a good location with its railing and hanging sculptures. The building’s second through fourth floors have curving glass walls.

The State Farm Hall of Business will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Photo tips

In the 12 years Schlink has been shooting December commencement, it’s snowed only twice. A classic wintry scene may make for a good photo too. She suggests throwing snow in the air, or standing near a tree with snow-covered branches.

Here are some other tips for graduation photos:

  • Zip your gown all the way and place your tassel on the left side of your cap to show you’ve graduated.
  • Take some photos with your cap on and others holding it.
  • Take a couple of full-body shots. You’ll want to show your heels or sneakers off.
  • Smile. You’ve just spent four years of your life in college and taken your last finals.
  • Rather than saying “cheese,” think of a favorite memory, something that makes you happy or relaxed. “Smiling is not only your mouth, it’s your eyes too,” Schlink said.
  • Be patient. Get shots with your family, classmates, maybe a favorite teacher. You’ve reached the finish line. A few more minutes won’t hurt.