Family Graduation Photography

If you’re looking for a deal on graduation pictures, click here. If you want a warm little family graduation story, then read on.

Graduation photo Dunedin

This was one shoot I’ve been looking forward to for about 30 years. I remember thinking when my friends and I graduated, what it would be like to see our kids attend university and graduate themselves. That day has come. Boy that was fast.

Evie Beentjes is just one beautiful daughter of my good friends Mike and Annie. Mike has gotten me in and out of more adventures than we’d like our kids to know.

I’ve been offering to do some free family photography for years, just to pay Mike back for the times he’s made sure I made it home alive after a student party or band gig.

Graduation photo DunedinThought I’d get to finally do it when Evie graduated with her BSc in Psychology from Otago.  Alas, instead of being home and being part of the grad ceremony, Evie was too busy having the kind of youthful adventures Mike and I used to have (boy I hope not all of them though). I just know Mike and wife Annie would have loved to attend.

So I was super stoked when Evie asked if I could shoot a surprise out-of-season grad session before she finally heads to Europe on her big OE. Damn right I could.

Beentjes Family Grad (1 of 1)Didn’t matter that the campus is presently a building site with scaffolding and safety fencing even on the iconic registry building.  Didn’t matter that the Psych dept signage is on an ugly wall in direct squint-inducing sunlight.  I brought my lighting assistant and flash test dummy Miss C(12) and found a spot between a couple of Psych dept cottages, in beautiful open shade, framed by tree ferns and flowering Kowhai. Just perfect.  Lighting: Single flash into a small softbox with a skerrick of fill.


I started with the graduate herself, added her sister Kauia and just kept going until we had the whole family covered in various combos.

Graduation photo Dunedin   Graduation photo Dunedin   Graduation photo Dunedin   Graduation photo Dunedin

Of course some fresh new face always steals the show. This time it was Kauia and Adam’s daughter young Edith, aka Squidgy.

Graduation photo DunedinWhat a cutie.

For her good work, I’m going to give her a free grad session of her own one day. I’m sure Mike’s already started telling her some of our favourite old stories to prepare her: The evolution of the vertebrates; How Muddy Waters electrified the blues, and the weekend our old R&B band played both an air force officers graduation and a gang chapter anniversary.

Beentjes Family Grad (9 of 9)

I’m betting for as long as we can play a little blues and shoot the breeze about science, there will be plenty more adventures Mike and I can get each other in and out of in the meantime.


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