Cap & Gown FAQs

What do I need to bring for cap & gown photos?
  • Cap & gown - wrinkle-free

  • Ropes, cords and tassels

  • Any fun props for your graduation year - like signs, glasses, banners, etc.

  • College shirts, banners, sweatshirt, blanket

  • Updated letterman jacket

  • Special friends or family for an end-of-year photo
I have multiple tassels. Which do I bring for cap & gown photos?

Short answer: All of them.

Long answer: Your school may have different significance in different color combinations. Check with your school for the official "rules" for graduation. But for cap & gown photos, we would still encourage you to bring them all. We can have fun with ALL the tassels. lol.

For Faith Lutheran graduates, the all-gold tassel signifies a "Faith Faithful" and shows you've attended Faith Lutheran since you were a 6th grader.

The maroon-and-gold tassel is the general tassel, and one that everyone gets when graduating from FLHS, even if you have a gold tassel.

For the graduation ceremony, wear the gold tassel if you have it. Otherwise, wear the maroon-and-gold.

For cap & gown photos, bring both tassels. We can take photos using both for different purposes.

My gown is wrinkled. Any suggestions?

Yes, your gown - and the cap - are horribly wrinkled from the packaging.

Press them yourself with a steamer or a low iron. Or take them to the dry cleaner to have them pressed.

Your cap can also be pressed. The part that sits on your forehead gets a really deep wrinkle, so spend some time pressing it.

A hot iron can scorch or burn the material, so be careful.

What should I wear to my cap & gown session?

Wear what you are wearing to the graduation ceremony. Dresses, heels, slacks, tie, button-up shirts, or any other garments that you might wear for an a special event.

What about my face and hair?

Hair and skin should be photo-ready.

For boys, this means a haircut and shave before you come in.

For girls, do a simple beauty makeup - nothing too dark or crazy that will take away from the rest of the photo.

Can I get my makeup and hair professionally done for phtos?

Absolutely! You can hire a hair and makeup artist to do one or both services.

Just make sure the artist knows when your photo session starts so they have plenty of time to make you photo-ready.

Artists usually like about 45 minutes to an hour for each service.

Most artists book up at least a week out, so book them early!

Can Jasmin do my hair and makeup?

Of course! Jasmin books quickly so you should secure your time with her as soon as possible.

Text or call her at 562-457-7177 to schedule a time and pay the retainer for her services.

Can I take my cap & gown photos the same day as graduation?

It is possible to take your cap & gown photos the same day as graduation, but it is not recommended. Generally, the graduate and their family are very busy the day of graduation, and traffic can cause unknown delays. It is better to schedule cap & gown photos during the week prior to graduation when you are more calm and less anxious about being on time for the ceremonies.

How long does the cap & gown session take?

The entire session takes about 30-60 minutes.

The photo-taking part is about 15 to 20 minutes.

We view and order the photos immediately following the picture-taking, which takes between an additional 20 and 40 minutes.

How do I order the photos?

We will pick out the photos right after the mini-session, generally about a 20-40 minute process. We will decide on which photos to use on your thank you card, book or album, wall portrait, and any gifts for family and friends.

What do we use the cap & gown photos for?

Cap & gown photos are used in many places.

Many products from Jody Rael Photography include a cap & gown photo.

The thank you card that is part of your senior announcement set includes a cap & gown photo on the front, and maybe a "future plans" photo on the back.

Your designer book or album includes a couple pages of cap & gown photos.

Your senior package may also include a cap & gown wall portrait and print package for friends.

This is also a great time to gift parents, grandparents, and other family with a portrait in all your graduation regalia.

What does the cap & gown session cost?

The cap & gown mini-session is 100% complimentary for all Jody Rael seinors.

How do I book an appointment time?

Click the button above that says "Reserve your Session with Jody" and select a time that works for your schedule.

Do my parents need to come to my cap & gown session?

Yes, your parent(s) should come to the cap & gown session.

Besides a great time to get a photo with you, this may be the last time for a family photo before you leave for college, the military, or the family home.

This is also the opportunity for your parent(s) to see and order photos that they want.

This event is called a Milestone for a reason. Allow your parents to celebrate with you!

Can I bring any friends to my cap & gown session?

Yes! We love it when you bring friends to your cap & gown session.

This is a great memory for to share with them, and a great way to 'cap' the end of your high school career.

We will get some photos of all of you individually as well as some of you all together and in small groups.

When you reserve your session appointment time, just let me know if you plan to bring extra people so I can reserve a little extra time for your session.

My grandparents have come to town for graduation. Can I get some cap & gown photos with them?

Yes, please bring your family to the cap & gown session. Getting photos with grandparents, aunts & uncles, and godparents is special to this milestone and we encourage it completely.

When you reserve your session appointment time, just let me know if you plan to bring extra people so I can reserve a little extra time for your session.

Can I take my cap & gown photos outside?

I offer cap & gown photos in my air conditioned studio and at the nearby park.

Both have their pros and cons, and it is completely up to you and your parent(s) about what type of photos you would like.

To select the park, just choose the Mountain Crest Park radio button when selecting your appointment time. If you select the park, we will meet at my studio then go together to the park location, as the park is very large.

Where should I meet at the park for photos?

Mountain Crest Park is quite large. So that we do not miss each other, come to my studio at your appointed time and then we will both drive to the park location.

What is the difference between cap & gown photos and graduation photos?

Cap & gown photos are taken before graduation. They are more fun, creative, and can be less formal than graduation photos.

Graduation photos are taken by the official photographer that the school has contracted for that purpose.

Relying on a good graduation photo can be very difficult as graduates are often nervous and excited, and the ceremony does not slow down for much.

I've heard from past clients who found that the graduation ceremony photos were not always sharp focus or quality due to the nature of the event.

The graduates are rushed through the process with little to no posing direction.

For cap & gown photos, we take time to make sure the cords are straight, the graduates are posed pleasantly, and have multiple takes to get the perfect image to match the milestone.

What is a baccalaureate service?

A baccalaureate service is a worship service, generally held the day or evening before graduation.

If your school holds a baccalaureate service, graduates generally are required to attend.

Some venues may have limited seating, so check with the school for ticketing options before inviting all the family and friends.

What should I wear to the baccalaureate service?

Wear clothes that you would wear to a semi-formal wedding. For the graduate, follow the school dress code for facial hair and hair styling, and clothing choices. For family, be neat and clean.

What specifically should I wear for baccalaureate and/or graduation?

First & foremost - Don't forget your graduation gown, cap and tassel, and your cords and medals!

Attire should be neat, clean, modest and appropriate for ceremonies/worship services of this nature.

For the guys, wear dress shirts, ties, slacks and dress shoes. A suit coat is optional and always looks good.

Ladies should wear dresses or dress slacks and dress shoes. Garments cannot have spaghetti straps or be strapless.

Follow the school dress code for hair length and hair color. Men should not have facial hair. One hair style to avoid, perhaps, is a high ponytail or bun, as these may disrupt the proper fit of the graduation cap.

Graduation gowns and caps are worn at the graduation ceremony, not the baccalaureate service.

I have multiple tassels. Which one do I wear?

If you are a Faith Lutheran grad, and have been there since 6th grade, you are a "Faith Faithful" and should have a maroon and gold tassel and an all-gold tassel. The all-gold tassel signifies you as a Faith Faithful and that tassel "ranks" higher than the maroon/gold one. so wear the gold tassel when you walk.

Often times, you may have ordered a commemorative tassel also. These are usually black with rhinestones or a special element. These are for your car rearview mirror or used as a keepsake, not for the actual graduation.

What kind of shoes can I wear for these ceremonies?

Wear dress shoes or heels.

Do not wear tennis shoes or other casual shoes, including canvas shoes (like Vans or Chucks).

Ladies, wear shoes that you can easily stand and walk in, and consider the surface at graduation. If you are crossing any type of grass, turf, or rough rocks, avoid stilettos.

Do I wear my graduation cap & gown at baccalaureate?

Generally graduates only wear the graduation cap & gown to the graduation ceremony. Check with your school's graduation director for specifics.

What is graduation practice?

Graduation practice is the run-through before the ceremony so you know what to expect and where you should be and when.

Do not skip graduation practice. Besides the fact that it is really good to know what to expect, it is actually one of the last times you may get to hang out with friends.

Graduation practice may take place just before the actual graduation ceremony, or it could take place the day or even two days before. Check with your school for specifics.

Can I bring props for photos?

Many grads like to bring a special plaque or class of xxxx decoration to add a fun element into their photo session.

We have used special signs, either purchased or painted, with special sayings, like "I'm done!" or "Future Rebel!"

Some have brought in funny grad glasses, or be-dazzled an extra graduate hat. (FLHS does not allow you to deck out your hat, so you'll need an extra one (Amazon!) if you want to do that.)

Do you have any tips for the graduation ceremony?

Yes, I do! After helping seniors for 15 years prepare for graduation as a photographer, and 10 years before that as a teacher, I have seen many graduation ceremonies.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Take your time. This is your moment.
  2. When on stage, smile or look proud to be there. It doesn't have to be a goofy or toothy smile, but have some expression on your face. Otherwise, you may just look terrified.
  3. Practice walking and climbing stairs in your shoes.
  4. Remember to have good posture. Roll your shoulders back and keep a straight spine.
  5. Control your hands. Either let your hands hang loosely at your sides, or pretend you are holding a nut between the fingers of both hands. This will give you hands something to do and keep you from feeling awkward.
  6. Tie your cords into a single knot at the back of your neck so they do not become uneven.
  7. When you approach the person with your diploma, reach out to shake their hand first. Then accept the diploma with the other hand.
  8. Look this person in the eye and smile. Grasp the person's hand firmly and pause while shaking their hand. Find the photographer for your photo. When the photographer lowers the camera, calmly move off stage.
  9. Remember to breathe!
I'm not a senior, but I'm in the Jody Collective. Can I take end-of-year photos?

Absolutely! The end of your school year is also a milestone! Bring something that represents your current school year for you to remember this past year.