Everything You Need to Celebrate Graduation (and Thank Your Teachers!)

As the school year comes to a close, we celebrate the accomplishments of those students who are reaching that special graduation milestone, as well as the hard work and dedication of the teachers who have been on the frontlines, supporting their students’ learning throughout all the challenges this past year has presented. While the celebrations may be smaller (and in many cases virtual), there are still lots of ways to celebrate the end of the school year and make it a fun and memorable one for both grads and teachers alike.

Everything You Need for Graduation Celebrations

Graduation announcement cards: With many graduation celebrations being held virtually this year, having a physical keepsake to hold onto is even more important. Grad announcement cards from our Photolab can be customized with your graduation details and photos so you can share the exciting news with family and friends. If you’re putting the cards in envelopes to send off by mail, adding a few prints of your graduation photos is a great idea too! Grandparents and other family members will love that they’ll have something to add to their photo albums, frames and scrapbooks. Note that our single-sided photo cards, folded cards, and double-sided cards all come with envelopes included with your order.

Invitations for grad celebrations: Whether you’re hosting a virtual or drive-by graduation celebration, we can help you create the perfect invitation for your guests. Just personalize one of our graduation invitation templates with some photos and your celebration details, and we’ll do the rest. For drive-by graduation celebrations, don’t forget to include the address, and for a virtual party, why not add a QR code as the photo to make it extra easy for guests to join your video chat link? There are lots of free QR code generators available online!

Grad shout-out banners: A great way to dress up your yard for a drive-by grad celebration, or to give a fun shout-out to a graduate while driving by, is with a custom banner! Our banners can be made with brass or nickel grommets so you can easily hang them in place, whether on your garage door or on the side of your car. Just customize our “Class of” banner with the year and photos of the graduate.

Grad-themed face masks: This year, grad garb not only includes a cap and gown but a face mask too. You can show your “Class of 2021” pride with your own unique face mask – just choose a size and upload your design (a photo of your class mascot, for instance) to our Photolab and add any text you like as well. Why not order a few for your fellow classmates too?

Proud parent t-shirts: If you fully embrace embarrassing your kids, then an ‘I’m the proud parent of a 2021 grad’ t-shirt is right up your alley! Our Photolab can help you customize a t-shirt with your graduate’s face on it, as well as any message of your choosing. It’ll make for a great surprise and a good laugh!

Gifts to Congratulate 2021 Graduates

Congratulations cards: A personalized graduation card is a thoughtful way to send your congratulations to graduates of all ages (putting a little cash inside couldn’t hurt either!). With grads unable to celebrate with all of their friends and family together this year, a custom card can go a long way to making them feel their graduation day is still special. Here are a few things worth including in your card:

  • Give them a big ‘congratulations!’ on achieving this life milestone
  • Tell them how proud you are of their accomplishments (could be school-related or extracurriculars)
  • Share some words of wisdom (could be a piece of advice on school, career, or just life in general)
  • Wish them all the best in their future endeavours (you can get specific if you know what their plans are for school/career)

Commemorative grad mug: Gift them a keepsake they’ll be able to use at home or take with them to college! Our Photolab has graduation-themed templates so you can personalized a mug for them with photos and even a special congratulations message.

Tech must-haves: If your graduate will be pursuing further education, gifting them a tech gadget as a graduation gift is a great way to help them start off on the right foot. We have a large selection of laptops and tablets for their computing needs, and the latest mobile phones so they can keep in touch from college! A camera, whether it’s a point-and-shoot, DSLR, or instant camera, also makes a thoughtful gift – it’s a way for them to capture all the memories to come in their next phase of life. Fitness watches, including the Apple Watch, and gaming equipment like headphones and consoles would also be well-received rewards for all of their hard work hitting the books over the last year.

Milestone photo book: A photo book is a great gift for graduates to give to their friends and fellow grads. Fill it with your favourite photos from school together, showcasing all of the memories and milestones you’ve shared. Or choose one of our graduation-themed templates and fill a photo book with graduation snapshots, like photos from a drive-by grad celebration, that you can then gift to the graduate!

Gifts to Thank Your Teachers

There is no doubt that teachers have played an even more significant role in students’ lives this past year, so a thoughtful gesture of thanks will undoubtedly be appreciated even more as this school year comes to an end. Here are a few ideas for items to include in a Thank You gift for your teacher:

Personalized thank you teacher card: Put a smile on your teacher’s face on the last day of class with a card you’ve made just for them. Simply add a photo to one of our school-themed card templates (we suggest the Class Time Stars and School Icons themes), and include a message to thank them for all the hard work they’ve done this past year.

Custom flower pot: Here’s a gift you can be sure they’ve never received before! New from our Photolab, you can customize your own flower pot. This would make a perfect gift for a teacher, with a class photo on the front and a personal message like ‘Thanks for helping us grow’. If you didn’t get a class photo this year, you could also create a collage of individual classmate photos. Then just add your own choice of plant from a local shop or nursery, and you’re all set. This is an especially sweet gift for an elementary school teacher!

‘Treat Yourself’ gift card: A gift card is a nice way to add a little extra gratitude to your thank you card. We have a large selection of gift cards available, from London Drugs gift cards (if they’re a big London Drugs fan, they’ll love that!), to iTunes and Starbucks gift cards and more. We’re sure you’ll be able to find one that matches their interests.

Best teacher button: Nothing says #1 teacher…like a #1 teacher button! You can personalize a button with a photo and text of your choice to show your teacher appreciation. If you’re looking for a gift for a young child’s teacher, why not have them draw a special ‘World’s Best Teacher’ design for the button? Our Take and Create Books, which have colouring templates for our 3” buttons inside, are a great way to create a gift using your child’s artwork. Just simply pick up a book from your local London Drugs Photolab or download from our Photolab online and print! Then just scan and upload to our Photolab online or bring the book back to us in-store.

Relaxing diffuser: After a tough year, gifting your teacher a little bit of R&R will surely be appreciated. Choose from a selection of Collection by London Drugs aromatherapy diffusers, like this beautiful diffuser in copper, or this diffuser with a White Wisp design – both also feature calming light effects. Don’t forget to include a bottle of essential oil as well, so they can start using it right away!

Custom teacher mug: Mugs are a gift that is definitely synonymous with teachers. But how to make yours stand out? Make it one-of-a-kind! Add your own personalized ‘Thank You’ on one of our Photolab’s mugs, and even include a photo. It won’t be hard for them to find their mug in the staff room anymore!

 

A big congratulations to all of the graduates of the Class of 2021. We wish you and your teachers a great summer break!

Tips for Taking Grad Photos at Home

Photo: Crown Photography & Film

Graduation may look a little different for students this year, but it’s still a major life milestone worth celebrating, and certainly those memories are still worth preserving! With grad parties and grad photos with friends no longer an option, our LDExperts, along with some local photographers, are sharing some tips for celebrating and capturing this special occasion with great photos.

1. No Date? No Problem!

Have mom, dad or a sibling dust off their best suit or dress and step in as your grad date. Get a photo of you exchanging makeshift corsages out of garden flowers, and having a first dance.

2. Choose the Time of Day Wisely

Photo: Crown Photography & Film

Tracey Crown, of Crown Photography & Film in Alberta recommends choosing the time of day to shoot carefully, as it will determine how good the lighting is for photos.

“Avoid shooting outdoors in the middle of the day when the sun is overhead; the light is harsh and can cause large shadows and squinting,” says Crown. “Choose instead to take outdoor photos in the early morning or later evening when the sun is either behind the grad or fully in front of the grad for more even flattering lighting.”

3. When Indoors, Use Window Light

Candace Fast, who runs her photography business Candace Fast Photography out of Chilliwack BC, knows shooting indoors can be tricky and recommends using available natural light if possible.

“If you are wanting to take pictures inside then head to a window that gives you nice natural light. Unless you can handle off-camera flash, then natural window light looks so much better than a flash that’s on top of your camera,” explains Fast. “Now once your grad is in front of that window, don’t stand in front of it and point the camera in the direction of outside. You want to use that light to shine on the grad, so the person with the camera should stand to one side of the window, and the grad on the other side.”

4. Add Depth and Texture to Your Background

Photo: Crown Photography & Film

“Whether it’s a garage, the front of your house or the trees in the yard, choose a background that has texture. If you can, have the grad step out and away from it to create more depth between them and the background,” says Crown.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Photo: Candace Fast Photography

Fast has shot grad photos in some unlikely places – like in front of the graffiti wall in the photo above, which adds some unique pops of colour to the shot.

“Have fun with it. If you are shooting digital, then play with different lighting and different backgrounds. That is the beauty of digital cameras. You can shoot and then if you don’t like the results then just keep trying.”

6. Capture Some Grad Dance Moves

Why not get the whole family involved? Have everyone in the house dress up in their best formal grad outfits (dust off those suits, tuxes, or old grad/wedding dresses!) for some fun photos together. Have a dance or two, and snap some candids.

7. Do Some Dress Twirls

Photo: Candace Fast Photography

If you have a space like a driveway or patio with some room, do some grad dress twirls! “Have some movement in your photograph. It brings it to life,” says Fast.

To capture crisp photos, either switch to your camera’s sport mode, or use the shutter speed priority mode and select a fast shutter speed. Try about 1/500th of a second, but you may need to go up to 1/1000th or 1/2000th if you are still seeing some blur.

8. Change Your Angle

Photo: Crown Photography & Film

“Have the grad sit or lay down if you don’t have a large space to shoot in,” suggests Crown. “You can create more variety in the images by changing height and angles.”

9. Employ a Tripod

To ensure the family gets to be in a few photos too, use a tripod and a remote shutter or your camera’s self-timer setting. This way you can set up your camera and hop in the photo!

10. Try a Portrait Lens

Photo: Candace Fast Photography

Just have a kit lens? It might be time to upgrade! A 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm lens, for instance, are all great lenses specifically for portraits like formal grad portraits. Each of those lenses come in f/1.8, f/1.4 and f/1.2, which will give that nice ‘blurry’ background (with that depth of field growing in intensity from f/1.8 to f1.2). The photo above was taken on a Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 lens, and is one of Fast’s favourite lenses for grad portraits.

Grad Invitations & Announcement Cards

Share your celebration with family and friends! Use your graduation photos to personalize your own cards. Our Photolab has a selection of graduation-themed templates to choose from – just add your own photos and text.

  1. Send invitations to your virtual graduation party.

Grad goes virtual this year! Create your own custom invitations and host an online graduation party for your classmates, using an online meeting platform like Zoom.

  1. Send out graduation announcement cards, a great keepsake for loved ones.
  2. Send congratulations cards out to fellow graduates to commend them on their achievement.

Graduation Keepsakes

Special memories like graduation should be preserved for years to come! From prints and collages to photo books and mugs, there are lots of ways to create lasting keepsakes with your graduation photos.

You can order them online through our Photolab, or through our London Drugs Photolab App available for iOS and Android. Then simply order and have your keepsakes delivered right to your home. Or send them straight to your family and friends!

Grad 2018: Preserve Your Graduation Memories

As the school year comes to a close, many graduates begin to look forward to the end of classes, graduation festivities, and the future ahead. Graduating is an incredible milestone – one that often takes a great deal of blood, sweat and literal tears (and perhaps some sleepless nights studying) to get there. And all of that hard work culminates in that special moment when you – or your child – walks across that stage in their cap and gown. It’s a moment that is most certainly worth preserving.

 

Graduation Cards

This special milestone is only made better by being able to celebrate it with your closest family and friends. Invite them to attend your graduation, or your graduation party or dinner, with personalized graduation cards.

To start creating your own unique grad cards, choose from flat or folded, single or double-sided cards, and our selection of specialty papers. Then browse our large selection of graduation-themed templates. Lastly, add some personalization with a photo and the details of your graduation celebration.

To preserve this special date, keep one of your grad cards tucked away for yourself that can be added to a scrapbook or memory box. It’ll be a special moment you can look back on years from now!

As a parent of a graduate, you may want to customize your own graduation announcement cards. Is there really anything better than bragging about your kids’ accomplishments? These certainly help. Personalize them with photos of your proud graduate and a personal message that you can hand out or mail to family and friends.

 

Prints & Enlargements

The day of graduation, you’ll likely be snapping a lot of photos, whether it’s using your smartphone, a point-and-shoot, or DSLR. Luckily, with the help of our new London Drugs Photolab App for iOS and Android, you can order prints of your favourite graduation pics right from your smartphone – or upload your photos to our Photolab website or in-store kiosks. While digital photos are great, for special milestones like graduation, it’s always best to have some hard copies – even if they’re just as a backup.

You can also share this academic achievement with all of your family, near and far, by sending them a few copies of your graduation photos. You know grandma is going to love showing off her super smart grandchildren to anyone who will listen, after all. We ship across Canada, so you can even send them your graduation prints directly when you place your order with our Photolab.

If you had professional graduation portraits taken, we can also create beautiful prints of those images. Order prints or enlargements you can frame, or a fine art print like our aluminum metal panels. We even offer graduation-themed collage templates for our aluminum metal panels, so you can customize a unique and treasured graduation keepsake to hang on your walls.

 

Graduation Photobooks

When there’s just too many great photos to choose a favourite, a photobook is a great way to preserve all the best moments from graduation day. We even have special themed grad templates so you can just pop in your photos, add text, and voilà! You have a beautiful, professionally printed photobook you can keep front and center on your coffee table.

Need a little help getting started? Speak with one of our Photolab Experts at your local London Drugs! Or, you can make your graduation print order through our Photolab website, at any of our in-store Photolab kiosks, or using our London Drugs Photolab App for iOS and Android.

How to Make a Grad Survival Kit

You’ve been behind your kid every step of the way, and now it’s time to celebrate their graduation.

They’ve picked out that great outfit, styled their hair, and are ready for the big event, but are you? What if a dress strap breaks in the car on the way to the graduation ceremony? What if those new shoes do what new shoes always do and give them blisters?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s an easy-to-assemble Grad Survival Kit that you can pull together in one trip to your local London Drugs (and while you’re there, why not pick up a grad gift as well!).

Grad Survival Kit - Family Photo

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