Photography is a powerful branding tool. Photographs with good composition are able to capture a brand attribute, a brand promise, or an aspect of brand personality.
The best photographs are engaging and authentic, featuring good composition techniques. Their subjects are people with genuine expressions, in our unique Parkside environment.
Strategies and Techniques
When you need to take your own photos, following the guidelines and recommendations below will help you achieve high-quality results. Good photos show an engaged campus community, whether the location is the classroom, the Brickstone Grill, or elsewhere on campus. Telling our story visually is the focus. If you have achieved this, your photos will need minimal text to support their meaning.
Resolution (and specs)
Photographs that have too low of a resolution for their intended purpose should not be used. Here is the minimum resolution:
- PRINT - 300 dots per inch (dpi) | JPG, PSD, or TIFF | CYMK color format
- WEB - 72 pixels per inch (ppi) | JPG or PNG | RGB color format
That said, if you are just using a portion of the image, the resolution should be higher, to account for scaling. To illustrate the point, think of a balloon with a white imprint on it. When the balloon is deflated, the white is very solid and vivid. As you blow up the balloon, the white becomes more and more transparent.
Try to capture images of students being students, whether in the classroom learning, in the library studying, socializing in Main Place, etc. Smiles, focus, and genuine interactions will produce a photograph that tells a story.
Your subject should be lit properly, but avoid using flash.
When staging photos, have your subject's focus be on something they are doing rather than engaging directly with the camera. Let natural expressions prevail, instead of forcing smiles.
There is a lot you can learn on the internet about the elements of composition: patterns, texture, symmetry, asymmetry, depth of field, lines, curves, frames, contrast, color, viewpoint, depth, negative space, filled space, foreground, background, visual tension, shapes. Our visual brand includes a couple specifics for some of these elements.
Asymmetry | In general, we follow the rule of thirds and thus achieve asymmetry. Simply, you divide the frame into 9 equal rectangles, 3 across and 3 down (your camera may display this grid). Place the important element(s) of the scene along one or more of the lines or where the lines intersect.
Depth of Field | If the background or foreground of an image distracts from the subject and story, a shorter depth of field can draw focus to the subject.
Color | The best images will contain our brand colors. Try to include brand colors in the composition when possible. Avoid white backgrounds or too much red as it is difficult to design around with the brand colors
Negative Space | Photos that contain a good amount of negative space allows for text and design elements to be used with greater ease.
Uncluttered | Be mindful of visual clutter in the background of photos – exit signs, etc.
Move | And finally, whenever possible, physically move yourself (closer, further, around, higher, or lower) to capture the best angle of the subject and best composition for the photograph.
Finish with editing
When you are done shooting, your image may not be ready for use. If you have a photo editor, such as Photoshop, you may be able to correct for some composition and exposure problems. If you do not, University Relations can help at no charge.
Simpling adjusting contrast, tone, and color as well as cropping to the rule of thirds can go a long way.
Do not colorize or use dramatic filters. That's just not us.
Photography and video releases
Photography and video releases are required if a photograph will be used in marketing or promotional materials. Student enrolled at UW-Parkside have signed releases as part of the enrollment process and will not need any additional releases signed. A signed photography and video release signifies the person(s) in the photograph has given their consent for the university to use the photograph or video in marketing or promotional materials.
MINORS | Written parental consent is required when photographing and filming minors for any use.
Please present the signed photography and video release form(s) to University Relations when you have images you would like to use for marketing or promotions.
Contact University Relations to set up a time to capture classroom photos. Due to the disruptive nature of a photoshoot, the team may set up a separate time outside of lecture hours. Photos will only be shot during lectures when it is agreed that disruptions are acceptable.