Among reasons to get professional photos taken of yourself, graduating from one the best universities in the world is a pretty good one. It’s a nice way to commemorate your time at a place that changed your life. Also, now that you’re ready to change the world, you might find it handy to have a nice professional headshot.
You probably already know the popular spots to hit — in front of the Littlefield Fountain, the Main Mall in front of the Tower, the portico at Calhoun Hall, to name a few.
But with so many graduating seniors striking a pose to commemorate their time on the Forty Acres, things can get a little crowded around the Six Pack this time of year. Luckily, there are numerous Instagram-worthy spots to take photos on the UT campus.
So, if you’re looking for something unique — or there’s a bottleneck at that blue door at Battle Hall — here are seven alternative spots to take senior photos.
Featured to help inspire you is one of Longhorn Nation’s most photogenic citizens, who graciously agreed to model for us.
The Alternative Tower View Spot – Gearing Hall Courtyard
For a dramatic photo that puts a twist on the obligatory Tower shot, head to the wrought iron gates at Mary E. Gearing Hall. Situated just north of the Tower, the courtyard at Gearing offers a different view of the iconic structure while retaining the style and feel of the South Mall. That’s because the building was one of the original buildings, along with the Main Building, Texas Union and South Mall buildings among others, built in 1933 as part of Paul Cret’s campus master plan. If there is a spot where it’s definitely OK to be extra, this is it.
The Vintage Charm Spot – BOT Greenhouse
Celebrate how you’ve bloomed and grown in college amid nature’s beauty at the BOT Greenhouse. Located at the western end of the Turtle Pond area and due south of the Biological Lab Building just north of the Tower, the BOT Greenhouse offers vintage charm and horticultural appeal. When the light is shining through the antique glasshouse, it offers the kind of cool, rustic setting that farm-to-table restaurants strive for. Maybe this is the shot to pull out your cowboy boots for.
The “Eyes of Texas” Spot – Texas Union
Take a seat in front of the main entrance to the Texas Union, where the limestone invokes the opening line of the school spirit song. Sung by members of the UT community at sports games, official university events and any other occasion for Longhorns to come together as a community, “The Eyes of Texas” is a symbol of school pride and unity. One common interpretation of the song’s opening line is that graduates of UT are expected to go out and do great things as the leaders of the future. You can start with great graduation photos by striking a pose here.
The New Campus Landmark Spot – Moody Bridge
Snag some shots to bridge the gap between undergrad and postgrad. The Moody College of Communication dedicated the Moody Bridge in March of 2016, making it one of the newest campus landmarks. Stretching across Dean Keeton Street, the pedestrian bridge connects the second floor of the CMA to the fourth floor of the Belo Center for New Media.
The Longhorn Family Trees Spot – Battle Oaks
Pay the Barbara Jordan statue a visit and stop by the Battle Oaks at the southwest corner of 24th Street and Whitis Avenue. Three intertwining live oaks that graced the grounds of the original Forty Acres when the university opened in September 1883, the Battle Oaks are among the oldest living trees on campus at upward of 250 to 300 years old. The roots of UT tradition extend deep — celebrate your place among the generations of Longhorns who have walked under these living legends.
The Popular Alternative Spot – Goldsmith Hall Courtyard
Ponder the great foundation you’ve built for your future in the architecturally picturesque courtyard at the School of Architecture’s Goldsmith Hall. Although this spot has started to catch on as a nice setting for graduation photos, it’s still less used than the South Mall. Located due west of Battle Hall, it’s also very close to the traditional graduation photo spots. There are numerous spots to take photos at Goldsmith — take advantage of the romantic turquoise ironwork or verdant scenery of the Hal and Eden Box Courtyard.
The Six Pack Unknown Spot – Benedict Hall
Get the ivy-covered look synonymous with academia at the ivy-covered trellis between Benedict Hall and Mezes Halls. Fit for a collegiate fairytale, the courtyard feature was added as part of renovations to Benedict, Mezes and Batts Halls completed in 2006. The courtyard is mere steps from the Littlefield Fountain on the southeast corner of the South Mall, but not widely used for photos. Bonus: The ivy is blooming this time of year.
The STEM Spot – Gates Dell Complex
It’d be cooler if you did get a picture at the Bill and Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall. Head to this high-tech hub that opened in 2013, if you really want something different from the usual Beaux-Arts architectural style of graduation photo backdrops on the Forty Acres. The sixth floor of the glass atrium provides a modern glass backdrop in Hook ’Em’s favorite hue.
Like Longhorns, the spots have much in common but are also unique. In choosing graduation photo spots and in life, it’s not always possible to do something that absolutely no one else has done before, but it is possible to celebrate tradition while making things your own.
If you are preparing to graduate from UT and go out into the world, you can remember that although you may leave the Forty Acres, you’ll always be a Longhorn… and you’ll always have something to do with your hands in pictures. Hook ’em!
More photos taken at the various locations are available here.