A Location Guide for Beautiful Graduation Portraits at University of California, Irvine
The top 8 locations for stunning and iconic graduation portraits at UCI.
How’s it going Anteaters? Since schools are closing down again for a few weeks to escape the winter omicron surge, you may be looking to graduation for some glimmer of happiness and hope. And thinking about graduation also means thinking about your graduation portrait session.
One advantage of booking a professional portrait photographer is that they always come prepared with a game plan. Having done tons of portrait sessions at UCI, I’ve fully explored the gorgeous locations that campus has to offer.
So I’ve compiled this comprehensive list of locations to serve as inspiration. Check out these 8 iconic locations listed below along with examples from past sessions and location-specific tips to help plan your shoot!
1. MSTB Green Arches
This vine-draped archway is a gorgeous spot for graduation portraits. Due to its beauty, this spot can often be packed during the last few weeks before finals. Be sure and get here earlier to evade the grad photo rush.
Also, if this is a must-have for your grad pics, I’d recommend going later in the trimester since I once photographed here about 2-3 months before graduation and the vines were significantly trimmed back.
2. Infinity Fountain
Another iconic location: the infinity fountain, located near Rowland Hall. You may remember passing this fountain during your first campus tour. Pro tip: save this spot for the end of your grad session if you plan on taking a dip! And don’t forget to bring a towel — walking in heels with slippery feet is no easy feat.
3. Aldrich Park - Center of Park
There are plenty of gorgeous options for your graduation photos in Aldrich Park. So many, I've probably missed a few. Nevertheless, some great options include the gigantic tree roots, botanical garden in the center, or any grassy clearing with some gorgeous backlighting. You could also take a seat in one of the park benches or kneel besides a bunch of flowers.
4. Aldrich Park - Bougainvillea
These flowers always deliver stunning graduation portraits. The largest collection grows nearby the steps to the Langston Library.
5. Langston Library Arches
Although the Langston Library arches are often forgotten with grander scenes elsewhere, it remains a top-tier location in my book — especially if you're looking to capture a headshot along with your graduation portraits.
6. Bren Events Center (Water Tower)
Another classic to include in any UCI graduation portrait session. Since the water tower and one of the anteater statues are right next to each other, this a pretty popular spot.
7. One of the Many Anteater Statues
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who want a photo with one of the anteater statues and those who definitely don't. Regardless of which person you classify as, these photos make for a cute or hilarious addition to any graduation portrait session.
8. Miscellaneous Flowers
Depending on the time of year, you'll likely stumble across some blossoming flora during your grad photos. The purple flowering trees pictured below are visible from Bren Events Center — just head down the street and around the corner. The vine-covered wall below is by Langston Library on Ring Rd.
9. BONUS Major-Specific Locations
Apart from the general locations above, I highly recommend leaving time during your session to feature your major/school. Some of the areas I’ve shot at and can suggest are:
Business school courtyard (with string lights)
UCI Arts sign
Engineering school or sign
Dance school courtyard
10. BONUS Just for Fun Locations
What places bring back your fondest memories? The dorms where you first met your significant other? The bridge where you walked to and from your favorite class? The Starbucks that fueled your study sessions and drained your wallet? If you’re feeling sentimental or just plain silly — go for it!
Book your graduation portrait session today!
Now that you have a better idea of all the potential shooting locations at UCI, are you ready to book your portrait session? Consider booking with Marie Tobias Photography! I have shot numerous sessions at UCI, leading to knowledge and expertise beyond simply knowing the best spots on campus.
Click here to book your graduation portrait session today.
Click here for what to wear, what's included, and more (I even have props like confetti, sparklers, and color smoke bombs for some added excitement).