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Best Places to Take Pictures at UNC Chapel Hill

5 Best Places to Take Pictures at UNC

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has so many beautiful places to take pictures! It is one of my favorite places in the Triangle for a photo shoot (and not just because it’s my alma mater!) The campus has such a nice mix of both historical and natural places for photos, and you really can take them all year round, though spring time is probably my favorite. People come to take photos for all sorts of life stages–graduations, engagements, bridal shoots, families and more! Depending on the length of the shoot, I usually advise clients to pick two to three spots around campus. The campus is big, though, so it can be hard to decide where you’d like to start. So here is a list of my top five places to take pictures at UNC!

1. The Old Well

The Old Well is iconic. When you ask most people what they picture when thinking of UNC, they’ll probably tell you the Old Well. This was the center of UNC’s campus way back in the day when they still had to use wells to get drinking water. Today, it is a drinking fountain. Tradition says if you drink from the Old Well on the first day of class you’ll get all A’s that semester! I don’t think many students have had much luck, but there is still a solid line that forms on the FDOC (first day of class) each semester! For best photo opportunities, plan to go in the off season or during the week, and try to avoid game-days. It can get pretty crowded.

2. The Bell Tower

The Bell Tower is a bit less well-known than the Old Well, but it is also steeped in Carolina tradition! At the end of every spring semester, graduating seniors get to climb the tower and write their name on a brick! That’s the only time the Bell Tower is open for climbing, but visitors can always walk around the base and look up at the Carolina Blue ceiling tiles or take a rest on the steps. You can usually take a good photo here any time of day, as the tower creates a good shadow that prevents harsh lighting.

Group of UNC students in cap and gown hugging in front of the Bell Tower
UNC student with cap on holding gown walking under the Bell Tower

3. Coker Arboretum

Coker Arboretum, or simply “The Arboretum” is beautiful any time of year, but spring is best because of the flowers! The tunnel pictured below is the most popular place for a photo, but there are also nice grassy areas and plenty of walking paths that are nice too! The Arboretum is a good place for pictures at UNC if you want a more natural look instead of having any buildings in your photos.

UNC Student posing for graduation photos at Coker Arboretum with purple flowers in bloom

4. South Building

South Building is one of UNC’s oldest buildings on campus. Construction began in 1798! And it still looks beautiful today. South Building sits right in front of the Quad, which is a large grassy area popular with the students for studying or hanging out. Directly in front of South Building is UNC’s seal, which you can see in the pictures below. This is one of the most popular spots for UNC graduation photos, as it represents all that students have accomplished in their years at the university!

Four UNC students lying down by the UNC seal in front of South Building
Four UNC students in graduation robes smiling by the seal

5. The Upper Quad

The Upper Quad is different than the Quad mentioned above, though it is close by. This area is canopied by beautiful large trees and is a bit quieter than the lower Quad. It is lined by historical buildings on two sides and Franklin Street to the north. In the pictures below it was winter, so it was more brown, but usually there is green as far as the eye can see! It is an easy transition after pictures at the Old Well, as the Old Well stands at the southern edge.

Well there you have it, five beautiful places to take pictures at Carolina! Some other honorable mentions include Kenan Stadium, the mural behind He’s Not, and Wilson Library. There are also plenty of beautiful spots all over campus in front of historical buildings or in grassy areas. UNC is one of the most photogenic university campuses around! If you’re interested in photos here, don’t be shy to hit me up! I was a student for six years, so I know the campus well, and I would love to help!

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I'm Megan, a wedding photographer based in Raleigh, NC who is obsessed with telling love stories through the art of photography. I'd love the chance to tell your unique love story, too!

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