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Photography is considered a powerful branding tool. Thoughtfully composed photographs can vividly capture a brand attribute, support a brand promise or illustrate an aspect of brand personality.

The best photographs are engaging and authentic, featuring dynamic angles and creative use of space. Their subjects are real people – actual members of our campus community – with genuine expressions, in our unique university environment.

Because of the importance of authenticity, the use of stock photography is strongly discouraged.

A library of high-quality photography from the Marketing Office supporting the University brand is available on flickr.

You are encouraged to use these images to enhance your website, marketing materials, event promotions and other department communications. 

Photographic Best Practices

AvoidStagingUse a photojournalistic approach.

Avoid “staging” or manufacturing photos whenever possible. The easiest way to achieve natural-looking photographs is to capture something as it is happening. The photograph will be more natural and your subject will be less aware of the camera.

If you must stage a photograph, make it look as natural as possible.

Try having the subject look away from the camera or have the subjectís focus be on something he/she is doing rather than engaging directly with the camera. Let natural expressions prevail, instead of forcing smiles.

Create a composition that clearly states the purpose of the photograph.

Sometimes we try too hard to capture everything in one photograph. Find the key message you wish to depict with your photograph and compose around it.

AnglesTry different angles or compositions.

Photograph from a lower or higher angle to show a different perspective. Try placing the main subject of the photograph on the left or right and not always in the center. Give your photograph creative “empty space” (i.e., an area of more or less solid color with no action occurring in it) to allow for possible text and design over the image.

Edit your work.

Reject photos that are grainy, too dark or too washed out. Retouch images in an editing program such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop as necessary.

Obtain model releases.

Model releases are required if a photograph will be used in marketing or promotional materials. A signed model release signifies the person(s) in the photograph has given their consent for the University to use the photograph in marketing or promotional materials. Written parental consent is required when photographing minors for any use. Download the UW Oshkosh model release form here.