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Ole Miss Double Graduation: The Blessing and Curse of Overbooked Photographers

By Rabria Moore and Jordan Majersky/Journalism Students

Photographer Austin Ivy taking portraits of a client. Photo by Rabria Moore.

Two back-to-back graduation ceremonies are a picture perfect business opportunity for local photographers, but a nightmare for graduating seniors. 

Caps and gowns, cameras and Ole Miss apparel are in high demand this time of year as graduating students prepare to have senior portraits taken. Austin Ivy, photographer and owner of Digital Mentality, said he is overbooked with clients.  

“I went from taking about 10 to 15 clients a month to 30 to 40, or more if I allowed it,” Ivy said. “I am currently booked up from March to June with graduation shoots.”

According to Ivy, he has had to turn down five to 10 clients per week, but he is not complaining. He calls this year his “break-out year.”

“I wasn’t booked like this last year, so I look at it as a blessing.”

Video by Rabria Moore and Jordan Majersky.

For graduating seniors, overbooked photographers are less of a blessing. Joshua Mannery said he knew who he wanted to take his senior portraits, but he was not given many options on timing. 

“We have some shoots for next Monday,” Mannery said. “That’s when I’m taking mine. She (student photographer, Brandy Truong) told me if I couldn’t do it next Monday, the next open date would be the 19th.”

Mannery says that graduation is a big moment for students and their families. Since the class of 2020 did not have a ceremony, he understands why photographers are overwhelmed this year. 

“You have people capturing the moment that was taken from them, so definitely student photographers are probably going to be more busy than normal,” Mannery said.  

Graduation has always been a busy time for photographers. Two ceremonies have only made this season more hectic. 

Commencement for the Class of 2021 will be held from April 29 to May 2. Commencement for the class of 2020 will be held May 6 to May 8.

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