9 Best Locations for Amazing Graduation Portraits at USC

A location guide to create the most beautiful and iconic graduation portraits at USC.

Looking to do your graduation photos or senior portraits at USC?

One advantage of booking a professional portrait photographer is that they always come prepared with a game plan. Having done hundreds of graduation portrait sessions over the years at the University of Southern California, I’ve fully explored all the beautiful and iconic locations that campus has to offer. I’ve previously created an exclusive guide for my grad clients only, but I’ve decided to publish it for everyone to enjoy!

Here is a list of the few most iconic locations and my personal favorite places at USC. I’ve listed them below along with several examples of past sessions and location-specific tips to help plan your shoot!

1. Tommy Trojan

One of the most iconic locations at USC, Tommy Trojan, is situated at the center of campus, right next to Bovard Auditorium and the Student Center. The Tommy Trojan statue makes for a fantastic background to commemorate your time spent as a Trojan.

graduating senior standing in front of tommy trojan statue | usc graduation photographer los angeles
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2. Steps of Troy

Faithful. Scholarly. Skillful. Courageous. Ambitious.

These five virtues embody the spirit of USC. 

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3. Traveler

Contrary to initial expectations, Traveler, not Tommy Trojan, is the official mascot of the USC Trojans. Taking a portrait with the majestic Traveler can help show your school spirit.

graduating senior sitting on traveler the horse statue usc mascot | usc graduation photographer los angeles

4. Von KleinSmid Center

Commonly known as VKC, Von KleinSmid Center for International and Public Affairs itself is a testament to the diversity of the USC student body. There are 108 flags representing the 100+ home countries of students.

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5. Mudd Hall of Philosophy

The Mudd Hall of Philosophy features a beautiful Tuscan-style architecture, with classic red bricks and stone pillars to complete the overall vintage collegiate look.

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6. Doheny Memorial Library

Located centrally on campus, the vintage-styled Doheny Library makes for an excellent photo spot. This is especially the case when you consider the beautiful courtyard and fountain right in front.

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7. School of Cinematic Arts

You might not be a film major, but I would highly recommend taking a tour around the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA). Despite being a new construction, the SCA succeeds in maintaining the beautiful red-brick vintage theme of USC.

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8. Bovard Auditorium

Also located centrally on campus, Bovard Auditorium, with its beautiful archways, is a classic and must-have spot for any grad session.

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9. Rose Garden

They say we usually save the best for last. This is certainly true in this case, because the Rose Garden at USC is my absolute favorite spot around campus. While many would stick to iconic on-campus locations only, I would always suggest the Rose Garden. Why? I think the images will speak for themselves.

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graduating senior with sash standing in the usc rose garden | usc graduation photographer los angeles
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Major-specific locations

Of my many USC portrait sessions in the past, I’ve worked with students from almost every major and degree program. 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 worked with at USC and can suggest include:

  • Marshall School of Business
  • Viterbi School of Engineering
  • School of Architecture
  • Gould School of Law

I won’t be showing examples of all the major-specific locations to keep it brief, but I’ll be happy to include these in our session plan. Often, incorporating these will make for some super-creative results!

Book your graduation portrait session today!

Now that you have a better idea of all the awesome locations at USC, are you ready to book your portrait session? Consider booking with Stanley Wu Photography! We have shot hundreds of sessions at USC over the years, leading to knowledge and expertise beyond simply knowing the best spots on campus. Just check out all our five star reviews on Google and Yelp!

Click the link below to book your graduation portrait session today!

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