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Being the last year as undergraduates, my class and I want to do a graduation class photo (something like this).

Even if I know the something of photography, I'm not professional (and I don't have pro equipment or good flashes of any kind). We are also considering hiring a professional photographer but I haven't had good experiences with studios in my area.

What I am asking is: what should I consider when looking for a photographer for this? (maybe equipment, what kind of events they use to cover...?) and, if I do it myself, what should I take in mind? (perhaps illumination, use some filter, try to get some good flash, post-process...?)

The design of the composition is not a problem, just photos themselves.

(I know it's two questions, but I think they are too related to separate them in two different questions)

Thank you for your comments.

  • I think these really are two separate questions. – mattdm Nov 19 '15 at 21:06
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If you decide to hire a photographer, I think that will be your best bet for quality. The photographer will have their own setup which will blow whatever you have away (Assuming you don't have a camera such as a DSLR)

What they have exactly isn't too important but you will want them to have a DSLR camera and a good background to shoot against. Those are the most important. Yes, external flashes and such might enhance the picture but aren't necessary.

If you do it, I would reccomend you get yourself an actual camera and a background. Also, if you are going to use it, you are probably going to need to know how to edit the pictures and put the project together.

If you are unfamiliar with Lightroom, then I would reccomend that. Also, since what you are doing seems like a complex design, you will need something such as photoshop or InDesign to put everything together.

Good luck

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    I strongly disagree. Good lighting is going to be much more important than an artificial backdrop! – mattdm Nov 20 '15 at 2:55
  • @mattdm I don't disagree that good lighting is important. I wasn't trying to say it was not important, I just felt that especially if the faces are going to be cropped, it is important there is a background because it keeps the head shots neat and easier to comile into a final product like shown above. – yasgur99 Nov 20 '15 at 3:07
  • Wellcome Yasgur99 :o), but I also disagree. A good photographer can do a good portrait with a non DSLR camera. A white background can be a 20c sheet of paper. What you need is a good light setup and a photographer that can pull a good looking smile out of your subject. – Rafael Nov 20 '15 at 4:29
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What I am asking is: what should I consider when looking for a photographer for this?

That the portafolio he shows you screams to you "Yeah, this is it!" See the portafolio, see the style, compare to other photographers portafolio and compare prices.

The photographer should ensure you that will keep a specific style during this sesion (or across multiple sessions) most likely on location.

If I do it myself, what should I take in mind?

You should keep in mind that you are not a portrait photographer.

1) use some filter, 2) try to get some good flash, 3) post-process...? 4) perhaps illumination,

1) No 2) No 3) No 4) Yes: Which one? Go to previous answer.

But you can search the site for simmilar questions on what basic lighting setup for portraits.

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