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7 Stunning Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Graduation Confetti

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

Graduation season is upon us, and with graduation comes graduation photos. It’s time to put on your cap and gown and celebrate one of your greatest achievements with friends, family and photoshoots. Planning your grad photoshoot can be extensive as you look for the perfect photographer, location and props. And there’s one popular prop that I see more than any other: confetti.

Confetti (including glitter confetti) is fun to throw in the air, shoot from a cannon or blow at the camera for an extra aesthetic shot. But if you’re taking photos outside, confetti can do more harm than good. Many confettis and glitters contain plastics which can enter waterways and pollute ecosystems. And given the small size of the particles, it’s nearly impossible to clean up once thrown. 

Luckily, there are several alternatives just as great (and sometimes better) than confetti. Here’s some inspiration for your graduation photoshoot:

Biodegradable Confetti

This is the most obvious alternative, but is still often overlooked. Companies like The Confetti Bar have confetti mixes derived from a variety of natural, plant based sources. After being thrown, they naturally decompose and reintegrate into the environment. You can even get a custom mix with your own colors!

Flower Petals

For the romantics out there, scattering rose petals creates a gorgeous effect for your photos. You can find roses in pretty much any color, and just a couple flowers will give you a lot of petals for a decent price. Pink and purple bougainvillea leaves also look great scattered in photos.


While they might not be an item you can toss, bubbles can be a great way to fill the frame and add interest to your photos. You can blow them yourself, have some friends blow them from off screen, or use this tutorial to make giant bubbles for one-of-a-kind photos.


Speaking of bubbles, popping a bottle of champagne is a popular shot for grads — it looks cool and adds luxury to celebration. If you take your shots at the golden hour, bubbles from the champagne can catch sunlight and look just like gold glitter.

Ribbon Wand

What started as a children’s toy is now a popular prop for wedding send-offs and even makes an appearance in the summer Olympics now. Ribbon wands are not only fun to play with, but look magical when twirled around. Follow this tutorial for how to make your own ribbon wand or use this ribbon handling tutorial to make stunning shapes for photos.


You’ll have to make sure your location allows sparklers for this one, but when used it can make for some of the most stunning photos. Have friends stand around you with sparklers and shoot with a wide aperture for a magical floating light look, or shoot with long exposure and spell out your graduation year.

Smoke Bombs

Smoke bombs are a trendy tool in photography that fill a shot with color as if you’re casting a spell. This is another one where you’ll have to ask permission from the location, but it can make for some amazing photos. For a personal touch, find smoke bombs in your school colors to shoot off.

These are only some of the tools you can use for a unique — and sustainable — graduation shoot. Have you used any of these in your photos? What other props do you use in photos? Let us know on social media!

Emma Charlotte Young is pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Public Relations. Texas-born and New York-raised, she is currently exploring everything the Sunshine State has to offer. When not in school, she enjoys sewing, baking, writing, photography, and playing with her Boston Terriers, Millie Mae and Quinnie Pearl.