How does stand one out when thousands of other students are taking the same exact pictures in the same exact Pantone 290 gowns?

We’re nearing the end of the second semester, and you know what that means–commencement photos! This is the time for graduating individuals to commemorate their life at Columbia University with photographs showing the world who they are and what they stand for as a student. But, with so many soon-to-be alums taking pictures around campus, how does one stand out? How do you show your most authentic self? How does one capture their essence in a single shot? Hopefully these suggestions will serve as inspiration for your commencement photos. 

Get some shots with your favorite on-campus pups!

With Spring comes my favorite time of the year: dogs-outside-season! Getting some graduation photos with your favorite campus-canines (with their owner’s permission, of course) could be a really good excuse to pet some puppies, and is certain to result in some super memorable photos. 

Take a picture at your favorite halal cart!

Okay, I actually think this could be a really sweet idea, especially if the cart’s owner lets you pose with them, too. I personally often joke about getting food from the halal carts at the Lowest Points of My Life, but, genuinely, these meals have helped me through some pretty tough times. Consider taking this opportunity to show some love for the special halal cart guy in your life.

Have a Koronet’s photo-op!

Again, I feel like this could make for a pretty fire photoshoot. Late night slices at Koronet’s is yet another hallmark of student life at Columbia, and having some pictures (especially in the dark) with a giant piece of pizza in hand and a graduation cap on your head could be a great little memento of your time at the University. You could even try to get a photo or two with the stars of the restaurant’s most recent rodent controversy! 

Get photos riding the subway or hit your best poses on the 116th station platform!

The subway system is the soul of the city. As a student, it seems that most of your life outside the college unfolds thanks to this transit system, and some of your best memories are made inside these cars. Make your commencement and ode to your social life at Columbia by taking pictures inside the subway cars or standing on the platform (be careful!). Taking a photo at the station at 116th would be especially meaningful, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the tiled Columbia University sign is so picturesque. 

Get some snaps in the stacks!

Looking for a dark academica aesthetic? Show off your studious side by taking some candid shots in Columbia’s stacks.  

Perhaps a little Barnard greenhouse moment?

For those with a green-thumb, commencement photos at the greenhouse on the roof of Milbank, in front of Barnard’s snow-bee hives, or on Diana Center’s green-roof could result in a really meaningful keepsake. (Plus, just think of the aesthetic.)

Pose in Roaree’s fursuit!

Roaree is one of the most quintessential members of the University, and snapping a shot in his iconic fursuit will show others that you stand both for and with the fearlessly ferocious spirit he represents. 

Have a photoshoot in your favorite dining hall! 

Dining halls help us to nourish our bodies and our souls. What better way to show appreciation for these spots by taking your commencement photos inside? Examples include: waiting in line for the ferris action station; getting late night fries at JJ’s; or stealing bananas from Hewitt (how quirky!).

Memorialize your first LitHum classroom! 

What better way to commemorate your time at Columbia than by returning to your first LitHum classroom, where you learned everything you need to know, from Odyssey to Illiad. After all, this is where your university journey began!  

Have a photoshoot at Dodge!

Initially this one was intended to be a joke but, honestly, slay. Imagine walking on the treadmill in your nicest heels and your graduation cap, having a photoshoot. Or, picture yourself doing RDLs in your graduation gown at peak hours. Powerful. 

Take some pictures in the Barnard wind tunnels!

Tell the world who you are by doing your commencement photos inside Barnard’s premier enigma: the wind tunnels. Wind aggressively blowing in your hair? Creates an effortlessly glamorous effect. Perpetually cold? Gives you a cute, rosy look. Dark and desolate background? Allows you to show off your mysterious side. 

Salute to Glass House Rocks by getting your photo taken on the mechanical bull!

Glass House Rocks is one of Columbia students’ favorite annual events, and the mechanical bull ride this year was (forgive me for using this word again) iconic. If we can locate the bull again, I know exactly what I’ll be doing for commencement pictures when I graduate. (P.S. Where did it go?)

Honorable Mentions: 

In front of the ambulances on College Walk

On SIPA floor 15

In the Brooks lounge

While getting Covid tested at Barnard

Inside Burke library

While waiting in line(s)

  • The line for coffee at Liz’s Place
  • The line for the Hamilton elevator 
  • The line for leaving a large lecture hall with only one (1) door
  • The line for any dining hall 
  • The line for Hungarian Pastry

low beach! via bwarchives