Student and Photo Enthusiast Takes His Own Grad Photo, Blows Away the Standard Grad Shot


For going on four years now, casual photographer and shop teacher Aaron Cyr‘s mom has been bugging him for a graduation photo. By this year, he was already two degrees in and about to get his third, but he just couldn’t make himself pony up for the standard, banal grad photos he saw his peers getting.

Still, you can only tell your supportive mom ‘no’ so many times, and so this year he delivered… on his own terms.

Having just received a degree in Industrial Arts Education, Cyr put the knowledge he’s acquired over the years from blogs and YouTube tutorials to use by shooting his own, unique, awesome graduation photograph.

When we spoke to Cyr about the photo, we asked him to tell us what gear he used and how he set it up. Here’s his description:

[I used a] Nikon D90 with 35mm f1.8 sitting on a tripod [and] two bare Vivitar 285HV flashes on 1/8 power. One flash was in the camera hotshoe bouncing off the ceiling, the other was low behind me triggered with an optical slave sensor.

The photo was shot at 1/200, f/3.2 and ISO 200. The dust in the background was thrown in the air quickly before turning around, and I had a friend release the trigger.

Starting in starting in Fall 2014, Cyr will be teaching woodworking and graphic arts to inner-city students at a school in Winnipeg, MB, where he tells us he hopes to bring a photography program back to the school. You can find more from him here.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, his mom loved the photo… she’ll be getting an 8×10 print for her birthday.

Image credits: Photograph by Aaron Cyr and used with permission

  • jaakewilson

    His hand is awkward. Guess he hasn’t learned that yet. Good for him trying to get photography in schools again,

  • David Vaughn

    That’s an unusually even spread of light for a bare flash bouncing off the ceiling. Not much raccoon eyes going on. Kudos to him though.

    On a side note, as a student who has sunk close to $2000 into books, seeing him “cut” that book gives me physical pain.

  • DLCade

    Haha a Redditor noticed the same thing. Here was his response: “I guess it’s just a habit. I keep my pinky on the other side of the fence to pull the wood (or textbook) tightly against it.”

  • battlepriest

    No protective eyewear? I ain’t taking his shop class.

  • Mason Pelt

    Well that’s freaking cool!

  • Chang

    Very cool

  • Zack Griswold

    The only thing that annoys me is that he’s not in focus…great photo though

  • Aaron M Grubb

    I think he probably used that hand to throw the “dust” or whatever that is hanging in the air, so it probably just came down awkwardly

  • mikeaubrey

    I’d say his nature as a carpenter, in this case, might be fighting against his nature as a photographer.

  • chupacabra

    or maybe it was intentional and he is having a laugh

  • OtterMatt

    I wish I’d have thought to do that to my old textbooks instead of throwing them out after no one wanted to buy them. I bet that guy’s high school classes will be very popular.

  • Lando

    As a former student who’s purchased thousands of dollars worth of books, only to turn around and sell them for next to nothing, I can say ‘good riddance.’ I’d rather see a textbook worth effectively nothing on a table saw than pack it up for yet another move.

  • EPOC

    If he is a hobbyist photographer, why is he framed in the centre of the photograph?

  • Dan Tauro

    Because he is the artist and that is what he wanted. Easy!

  • Ry Pepper

    Pinky crotch!

  • David Vaughn

    Haha I usually give them to other students who are taking the class. I can’t bear to throw them away after I sold my legs for them. :P

  • Foq

    It is a great shot, but this is a news.. how? Tons of photographers take our own pictures.

  • JoeNonymous

    Close to 2K? I had one semester where my books were $1200.

  • JoeNonymous

    Is it a thing now that college grads are doing grad pictures? I thought it was just for high school?

  • doristu

    until I saw the
    receipt which said $7122 , I have faith that my friend was actualy taking
    home money in there spare time at there labtop. . there brothers friend has
    been doing this for under 13 months and just repaid the loans on there
    cottage and bourt a new Volkswagen Golf GTI . Read Full Article

  • Scott

    < Cabinet Making grad.

    Totally a woodworking safety thing.

  • greenarcher02

    Guess you haven’t learned it yet since it’s a woodworking thing.

  • greenarcher02

    Is it the LAW of thirds now? LOL

  • Rick

    well mr Dr, you photo is crap

  • Moayad H

    So is your grammar. But thank you for your interest.

  • EPOC

    15/16, LOL

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  • michaeljashley

    My Uncle
    Joshua just got an almost new white Kia Rio Hatchback only from working
    part-time off a home computer. try this C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • ajfudge

    If there’s an “official” photographer, isn’t this a bit disrespectful? He’s doing the Uncle Tom of grad pics. Otherwise, good for him for presenting himself the way he wanted to.