Westcott fountain and Ruby Diamond Auditorium are easily the most recognizable spots on Florida State’s campus and its easily understandable why every FSU graduate wants to do their grad photos with that as the background.
Graduation photos have become increasingly popular at FSU, so the lines for the Westcott fountain have become an issue. Several years ago, we stopped accepting portrait session bookings at the fountain the full week before graduation. This year, we took two sessions that were nearly two weeks before actual graduation and the crowds of students doing grad photos really amazed me.
When we arrived at Westcott on Wednesday at 6pm, this was what we saw:
Luckily, we arrived early for our session, so we got in line to wait. And we waited. And waited. It took NEARLY AN HOUR to reach the front of the line. That’s right, an hour of waiting for our maybe five minutes of photographing in front of the Westcott fountain.
Even once we got to the front of that line, there are still hundreds of other grads in their caps and gowns everywhere you look. There is confetti popping, champagne spraying everywhere and groups posing on the steps to Ruby Diamond auditorium. It is a madhouse. Not at all the fun, carefree graduation portrait location you want!
We worked really hard to eliminate all these distractions from the images, but when the lines are SO LONG, it limits the locations and variety we are able to give clients in their grad sessions. With SO many challenges, I must say that I really like how the images look!
Knowing that we had another graduation portrait session scheduled for Friday and that the lines and chaos would only increase as the days tick by, I knew we had to do something. We made the call to the client and asked for something very few clients do happily– will you do your session at sunrise instead of sunset? Early morning is never easy to look your best and most college students think 10am is early, but thankfully she agreed to a 7:30 grad session! This is what we arrived to:
What a difference! We still weren’t the only ones there doing graduation pictures, but being one of only five sessions going on, we were able to do MUCH more with her session! We did half the session at the Westcott fountain in her cap and gown and then went over to Doak Campbell Stadium and Langford Green. I actually think the Unconquered statue makes as good if not better of a background for grad photos and we were the ONLY ones there!
If you are looking to do graduation photos at FSU in your cap and gown, let me strongly suggest getting up early and doing them at dawn or skipping the Westcott fountain entirely and using backgrounds like Doak Campbell Stadium, the Unconquered statue or choose more personal locations like the buildings where most of your classes were, your sorority house or even the dorm you lived in Freshman year. All these places are part of Florida State, part of your school and part of your memories there as a student!
Here are the images from our early morning session:
Florida State University Graduation Photography by Long’s Photography