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How to minimize wait time at the Texas Tech Seal

Everyone loves seal photos - that’s why in the spring there’s almost always an hour (or longer) wait time to get your photo taken in front of the seal. Some ways to make sure we can get these photos without doubling your session time are as follows.

Girl in red dress at Texas Tech seal
My sunrise senior photos, taken by Karson Calaway

Opt for a morning shoot

Most photographers like to shoot in the evening for the best light. We all love when the sun is setting behind the seal and we can get some good golden hour action. If we shoot in the morning, the sun shines directly on the seal. Though I enjoy shooting in direct light, if you don’t, we can start a little before sunrise and get photos that have really soft, even light. Often at that time, the sunrise colors will be starting to show up but the sun won’t be shining on ground level yet. When I did my senior photos a few years ago, we started right before sunrise and I loved how they turned out! They're also a little different than what you’ll normally see, but you still get the seal, and probably all to yourself.


Bring someone to hold our place in line

If you're set on photos at the seal in the evening, or if that’s the only time that we can make work, bringing someone to hold our place is a huge time-saver. I’ve had clients ask their boyfriends, roommates, and parents to come and wait in line for us while we go and get our photos at the arches, the Will Rogers statue, or wherever else on campus. This helps you and I make the best use of our time at the session. Once April begins, I usually will recommend that we grab a place in line right when we planned to start shooting so that we can finish up at the seal at the end of the hour. As the month goes on I will recommend that the client (and whoever is holding our place) gets there progressively earlier than our scheduled meeting time. Make sure to ask that person to text or call us when they’re getting close to the front of the line so we don’t miss our time! Also, make sure and thank them profusely for giving up an hour or two of their time for you. We truly couldn’t do it without them.

Family at seal


Pick and choose what photos you want at the seal beforehand

I try to be considerate of the other people waiting at the seal, so I get our photos there done in 3-4 minutes. Maybe you want to do a bunch of different regalia combinations (full, just stole, stole and cap, etc) but you can save your champagne pop for another spot. Or maybe you just want to be in your stole, popping champagne at the seal. Think about it a little before your session and optimize for the seal photos that are must-haves. The rest of the session will be a lot more relaxed and we’ll have time to get all the poses and outfits you want, but I try to keep things quick at the seal for everyone’s sake!


Girl in red sash at seal

Plan way ahead

In the summer or fall, I don’t often have to wait for more than 10 minutes, if at all. If you’re a spring grad, you can try and borrow a friend’s regalia and we can do your session during the semester before you graduate. Even shooting toward the beginning of the spring semester will eliminate or drastically cut down our wait time.

In summary, consider scheduling a morning session, bringing along someone else to keep our spot in line, thinking about the photos you want before the shoot, and planning your shoot further in advance of your graduation. I hope these tips help you to make the most of your senior session and still get great photos at the seal without sacrificing too much of your time. Happy graduation!

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