Top 8 Locations for Stunning Graduation Portraits at Chapman University
A location guide for beautiful and iconic graduation portraits at Chapman University.
Hey Panthers! I know a lot of you are thinking about graduation portraits right now — and you might be asking yourself, "With Covid still affecting classes and graduation itself, do I even get grad photos taken at all?"
One advantage of booking a professional portrait photographer is that they always come prepared with a game plan, which includes extra masks and hand sanitizer. One exclusive advantage of booking with me is that I am also a Panther, having graduated from Chapman last year. That means that I am extremely familiar with the campus, having spent many years here as a student and photographer.
Having done tons of portrait sessions over the years at Chapman University, I’ve fully explored all the gorgeous locations that campus has to offer.
Here I've compiled an essential graduation photo list to make sure you don't miss out on any memories. Check out these 8 iconic locations listed below along with examples from past sessions and location-specific tips to help plan your shoot!
1. Schmid Gate
The Schmid Gate is an iconic symbol of Chapman University and a staple in most graduation portraits. Pay attention to the light here. The summer sun will be too harsh before golden hour while the winter sun will fade here within minutes. Be sure and get here earlier during the grad photo rush or the sun will fade behind the opposite buildings while you eagerly wait your turn!
2. Memorial Hall Lawn Chapman University Sign
Another iconic location: the second Chapman University sign in front of Memorial Hall. You may remember snapping a few shots here during orientation week or your first campus tour. Pro-tip: grab some golden hour shots behind the sign for a beautifully back-lit glow!
3. Memorial Hall
Take a few steps behind the last sign and you've arrived at Memorial Hall. If the fateful day arrives for your graduation portraits and the sun is playing peak-a-boo, no fear! Golden hour receives all the admiration, but overcast skies create a soft, diffused light source that flatters every subject.
4. Attallah Piazza
Attallah Piazza was always my favorite place to relax and recoup after a long day of classes. I empathize with students learning from home this last year without access to the peaceful nooks and crannies of campus to escape to.
The piazza remains accessible all year round. The only times the fountain is blocked off is during undie run, which considering the number of drunken students in attendance, might be a sound decision.
5. Fish Interfaith Center
Although Fish Interfaith Center is often forgotten with grander scenes elsewhere, it remains a serene and artful location to take portraits. The flower bed and ivy-lined walkway serve as beautiful, understated backgrounds — especially if you're looking to capture a headshot along with your graduation portraits.
6. Argyros Global Citizens Plaza Fountain
Another wonderful classic to add to any Chapman graduation portrait session. Pro tip: bring a towel if you plan on taking a dip! Walking in heels with slippery feet is no easy feat.
7. One of the Many Panther Statues
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who want a photo with one of the panther 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. Escalette Plaza Fountain (Between Oliphant Hall and Leatherby Libraries)
If the Argyros Global Citizens Fountain is blocked off, this fountain, located next to Oliphant Hall and Leatherby Libraries, is your next best bet. Golden hour will illuminate each and every water droplet for a majestic Ariel moment.
9. BONUS Major-Specific Locations
Apart from the general locations above, I highly recommend leaving time during your session to include your study-specific locations. Some of the majors/schools I’ve shot at and can suggest include:
Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
Oliphant or Moulton Hall for the College of Performing Arts
Beckman Hall for the Argyros School of Business and Economics
Keck Center for Science and Engineering
Doti, Wilkinson, or Crean Hall
School of Law
Book your graduation portrait session today!
Now that you have a better idea of all the awesome locations at Chapman, are you ready to book your portrait session? Consider booking with Marie Tobias Photography! I have shot numerous sessions at Chapman, leading to knowledge and expertise beyond simply knowing the best spots on campus.
Moreover, I am also a Chapman Alum!
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).