The University of Texas at Austin has some of the most beautiful architecture and landscaping in the city. I started my photography business in 2016 taking graduation portraits here, and took my own senior photos on campus when I graduated in 2019. Over the years I've been able to discover some of the best spots on campus and wanted to share everything from the most popular locations to the hidden gems.
Inside the Tower
I love this spot because of the gorgeous ceiling, the big windows, and the dramatic staircases. This spot has gotten more popular over the years, so you can expect to see quite a few other grads and their photographers inside. My favorite way to shoot inside the tower is either a few hours before sunset to get the best indoor lighting, or by using direct flash to get edgy "that girl" images.
The Architecture Courtyard is a space with so much versatility. With greenery, beautiful arched windows, a colorful tile inlay fountain, and pretty pink blossoms in February, this is one of the most peaceful places on campus.
By now you've probably seen the famous Gearing gates all over your Instagram feed, but I love working with this space to get unique images as well in addition to the more traditional ones! This year, I also ventured inside Gearing Hall itself with a couple of my grads to take some classroom photos. A lot of classrooms are locked during the weekends so it takes a bit of luck to find one open, but if you can get in, the wooden classroom furniture provides the perfect retro academic backdrop.
Outside the Tower
The Tower is probably the one spot that is requested in every single graduation portrait session, and that's because it's the most iconic UT landmark. There are so many great spots here from the east side planter (which has bluebonnets starting mid-March through mid-April!) to the steps that provide the perfect angle of the Tower.
The Six Pack
Located along the lawn in front of the Tower, these six buildings each have their own unique courtyards that aren't photographed as much as other areas of campus. Venture inside to find tiled staircases and vintage classrooms, or stay outside to shoot on balconies and under old oak trees.
The landscaping team turns the area around the fountain into a fairytale garden every time spring rolls around. Since we usually end at the fountain, we get to utilize the full potential of the warm golden hour light on sunny days. Bring a bottle of champagne and a towel to make the most of the UT graduation tradition of getting in the fountain and splashing around!
You'd be surprised how pretty we can make McCombs, Welch, or even the PMA look. The law school obviously offers gorgeous classic architecture, while the EERC boasts a sleek modern, glassy look inside and out. Let's explore the building you took your classes in!
There are so many other incredible spots on campus you can take your photos at, but these are just a few of my favorites. I'll probably make a followup post with some more locations now that the blue door (which was repainted green) just finished construction and is open to the public to take photos in front of once again! But hopefully this post gave you a few ideas to consider as you plan your own graduation portrait session, and also showed you how versatile each of these spots can be!