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Where to Take Graduation Photos at Ohio State University - Tips for 5 Locations

If you’ve stumbled upon this blog post, you’re likely ready to create graduation photos at Ohio State University. And if that’s the case, you’re in the right place!

I’m sharing five awesome spots on OSU’s campus, tips on how to get the best shots in those locations, and wrapping up with a few wardrobe tips.

So let's dive into the first stop at the iconic OSU Rotunda!

series of graduation photos at Ohio State University campus of 2023 male graduate

Where to Take Graduation Photos on OSU Campus

Spot One: OSU Rotunda

The Rotunda is one of the most iconic places around OSU’s campus, and it’s one you don’t want to miss out on.

I photographed Rowdy, a recent graduate from OSU’s business school, the weekend before graduation. Needless to say, the campus was crowded with students, families, and photographers, all after the perfect shot at the Rotunda.

We had to wait for our turn to position Rowdy in the middle of the Rotunda, but it was worth the wait. I saw some people taking shots from the side, but that doesn’t do this iconic architecture justice. It deserves to be front and center, with you stealing the show!

Tips for shooting at the Rotunda:

  • Patience is key. If there’s a crowd, be patient and wait it out. Trust me; the photos are worth it.

  • Shoot low and wide. Shoot low and wide to get the architecture centered in the frame.

  • Take your time. You waited your turn, so make the most of it. Take a minute to review your shots to make sure you have a photo you love before moving on.

graduation photo of male graduate at Ohio State University  in front of OSU Rotunda

Spot Two: Ohio State Oval

The Oval is a beloved spot for every student at OSU, but it can be a tough place to get the perfect graduation photo when it’s crowded.

Tips for taking graduation photos at the OSU Oval:

  • Go East. Most people congregate in the middle area of the oval, so get as far East as you can.

  • Shoot Close-Ups. An easy way to blur or block people out in the background is to shoot close-up photos. If you can’t block everyone out, photoshop can help you clean it up afterward.

  • Shoot during the week. Campus is packed on the weekends. So opt for a weeknight photoshoot when there are fewer people to work around.

three photos of a man wearing graduation cap in front of ohio state university oval area

Spot Three: Fisher’s School of Business and Mason Hall

Rowdy spent many days at Mason Hall, so we incorporated it into his college grad photos. If you’re not a business major, no worries. Just shoot at the buildings that hold special meaning to you, and you’ll be golden. I wrote about an OSU dance major’s graduation photos here.

Mason Hall has some seriously cool features for photos. One of the end caps of the quadrant has the name Fisher in the rounded windows, the place is lined with long brick hallways, and the Fisher School of Business concrete bench is pretty sweet too.

Tips for taking graduation photos at Mason Hall:

  • Explore. At OSU’s campus, you really can’t go wrong. Walk around and choose spots with special meaning or that look cool.

  • Shoot Different Angles. Get up close and personal for great headshots, but then go wide to capture the beauty of the architectural pieces. Don’t be afraid to experiment with angles and your locations.

two photos of OSU graduate posing in his graduation robe in front of Mason Hall

four graduation photos at ohio state university of male grad in cap and gown at Mason Hall

Spot Four: Mirror Lake

Whether you’ve dipped into mirror lake during “Beat Michigan” week or not, this spot is worth stopping by for your OSU grad photos. Mirror Lake sits at the southwest corner of The Oval, and as the seasons change in Ohio, this area does too.

Tips for taking grad photos at Mirror Lake:

  • Watch the wind. You don’t want to be downwind from the fountain, or you’ll risk getting wet. If it is windy, be ready to snap your photos quickly and avoid placing the wind at your back. The wind blowing toward your back can cause your graduation robe, stoles, and cords to fly toward the camera.

  • Put the sun behind you. If you can, put the sun behind you to create a nice rim light. This goes for any spot, not just Mirror Lake.

two graduation photos at ohio state university campus at Mirror Lake

Spot Five: Browning Amphitheater

Just a few steps away from Mirror Lake, you’ll find Browning Amphitheater. The combination of stone and grass creates really cool backdrops for your OSU grad photos. The area isn’t just pretty; it’s also peaceful.

Tips for taking photos at Browning Amphitheater:

  • Use leading lines. Use all of the natural curvatures in the stone to guide your photo. Whether you’re sitting in the middle or on an edge, there’s so much you can do to add visual interest here!

  • Create headshots here. The north side of the winding stone wall is great for close-up photos and even headshots. So make the most of this space while you’re there.

photo of male in graduation robe posing at browning ampitheatre for his graduation photos at ohio state university

Champagne Celebration for Your OSU Graduation Photos

Want to celebrate by spraying a little champagne? I can’t blame you! These photos are so much fun. But save these photos for last because chances are you’ll get wet.

Tips for champagne graduation photos:

  • Shoot these photos last! These photos are definitely fun, but they’re also messy. So save these photos for the very end of your photoshoot. They’re more of a last photo of the day photo.

  • Buy cheap champagne. Don’t waste money on a fancy bottle of champagne. Grab a $10 bottle of Andrea or Cooks, and you’re good to go.

  • Be ready for the shot. Frame up the shot and put your camera on continuous focus or burst mode. For these once-in-a-lifetime photos, you don’t want to risk missing the shot. So, be prepared, and go for it!

  • Don’t wear your favorite clothes. Your clothes will likely be soaked with champagne spray, so don’t wear your favorite clothes or what you plan to wear to your graduation ceremony. It’ll need dry cleaning, and you may not have it back in time.

  • Protect your cap. If you decorate your mortarboard, it may be ruined during champagne photos. So don’t wear your graduation cap or borrow one for your photos.

series of three photos of OSU graduate doing champagne celebration photos for his graduation photos at ohio state university at Rotunda

Takeaways for Awesome Graduation Photos at Ohio State University

Locations: Pick 3-5 of your favorite spots and block time out for your photos. For Rowdy’s session, we spent two hours walking around and waiting for some locations to open up.

Time: Block off about two hours for your photoshoot. OSU’s campus is pretty big, and it takes a while to walk to each location.

When to Shoot: If you can, shoot between semesters or on weekdays when the campus isn’t quite as busy.

What to Wear: I suggest arriving at your photoshoot in one of your favorite outfits. It can be formal or relaxed; that’s totally up to you. Bring your cap and gown and some OSU gear.


For more tips, check out my other blog post about OSU graduation photos here. It has info on what to wear, how to make your graduation photos memorable, and tips for including your pets!

Want to learn more about working together to create your college graduation photos?

collage of photos of a male OSU graduate posing on campus for his graduation photos at ohio state university


Aaron Taylor is a Columbus, Ohio, photographer specializing in high school senior photos and college graduation photos.


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