14 Great Places to Take Graduation Pictures on Columbia's Campuses

Construction for graduation ceremonies starts on April 12 on Morningside campus. Here are some spots on every campus to snap your photos and avoid the hubbub.

Kelly Moffitt-Hawasly and Jennifer Pellerito
April 05, 2024

Graduation season is here and it is time for the Class of 2024 to strike a pose. Every year, we love to see the creativity and verve that goes into your grad poses — from selfies, to family pics, to group snaps, and everything in between!

We know everyone wants to grab an iconic photo in their regalia with Alma Mater, but construction for graduation starts earlier than you think. This year, the date for construction load-in is April 12. What's a grad to do? Columbia News has you covered with ideas for other iconic spots on and around Columbia's campuses to grab your photos.

On April 8, 9, and 10, the Commencement team has also set up special grad photoshoots with professional photographers that you can sign up for here. You can find price points for photo packages here.

1. Butler Library

Nistha Lohani (BC'23), Mahira Kumar (BC'23), Anya Raj (BC'23), Atiriya Xaxena (SEAS'23), Sana Narayan (BC'23), Vidhi Jain (BC'23)

Pay homage to the study rooms that got you through midterms and finals with a snapshot in front of the iconic Butler Library. 

2. 116th St. Gates

Kimbria Denny

Before you know it, banners will be hung at the entrances to College Walk congratulating our graduates, and we think that makes for a festive pose.

3. The Thinker

A group of graduates poses in front of the thinker statue.

Le Penseur, or The Thinker, reminds us all of the value of deep thought and contemplation, a practice we hope you've developed during your time here. That is worthy of commemorating in a photo!

4. Scholars' Lion

A grad stands with Scholars Lion.

Roar, Lion, Roar, as our fight song goes. 

5. Revson Plaza

A graduate poses on Revson Plaza overlooking Amsterdam.

Whether you pose with one of the many sculptures on Revson Plaza, or opt for the angle of the bustling city streets below, we can't recommend this spot enough.

6. College Walk

Khloud Shuqair (SIPA'23) on College Walk

Hats off to you, graduates! You've got to time it right—as we know, there's always a flurry of activity on College Walk—but this photo location hints at the Columbia graduate's future: all roads lead to success.

7. Earl Hall Entrance Steps

Two grads walk up Earl Hall steps

An undersung spot, but we love the angles and movement a graduate photo on the Earl Hall entrance steps promises. 

8. The Curl

Aayush Kumar Verma (SEAS'23) with the curl sculpture

The perfect location for a power pose, if we do say so ourselves. 

9. Van Am Quad

A Columbia graduate poses on Van Am Quad

Check out how the tiling on the ceiling of the rotunda beautifully complements the graduate's regalia. 

10. Barnard Greek Games 

Barnard grads in front of an olympic games statue

Photo locations abound on Barnard's campus, but we admire the spirit of the Barnard Greek Games statue and the torch it beckons us to carry forward.

11. Teachers College

Leyang Yu (TC23)

There's just something fantastical about the rust-colored stone and wooden entrance to the Arthur Zankel building. 

12. The Square on the Manhattanville Campus

Martavius Leonard

The edges and angles of the Manhattanville campus are the perfect reason to bring a little pizzazz to your graduation poses. 

13. Allan Rosenfield Building at Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Elena McCormick (MPH'20, DEN'23)

You can't go wrong with a pose at the beautiful arched entrance to Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

14. Hudson River Greenway in Fort Washington Park (CUIMC)

Grads throw their caps in front of the george washington bridge

Okay, so we're cheating a little bit with this one, but the George Washington Bridge is an ever-present fixture for our students at the CUIMC campus. At Fort Washington Park, you can get up close and personal with the bridge for a great grad photoshoot with a Hudson River backdrop.

Looking for more photo opportunities ahead of Commencement? Here are 12 more photo ideas. And here's where you can pose with the Empire State Building illuminated blue for our grads.

And don't forget to check out these other stories in preparation for graduation season!