Photography Best Practices

  • Be mindful of style.
    Photographs should tell a story by capturing life and emotion. Photos that are genuine, realistic, and factual—those that depict real memories and real moments—are preferred over obviously staged shots.
  • Choose the right subjects.
    Photographs should depict IPFW students, faculty, staff, and alumni “in the moment”—collaborating with one another, immersed in research or field activities, or engaging with the community.
  • Choose the best possible locations.
    Whenever possible, locations should clearly depict the university and its campus (via architectural feature, icon, display, or monument). Newer, more up-to-date locations on campus are preferred. Natural lighting (as opposed to artificial lighting) can improve the quality of shots. Always look for interesting lines, shapes, or colors in the environment.
  • Look for strong, underlying compositional order.
    Photos should grab your attention immediately. Look for compelling instances of broad shapes, colors, and contrasts. Remember, it’s not just about the subject—it’s also about the scene that accents it.
  • Pay close attention to the details.
    Remove trash, named products, and unsightly “stuff” from the frame whenever possible. Pay attention to face and hand gestures of your subjects. A simple oversight can ruin an otherwise incredible photo.
  • Use color to your advantage.
    When conducting a photo shoot, arrange the photograph in a way that takes advantage of color and the environment; when selecting a photo from the archives, pay close attention to how color accentuates—or diminishes—the scene. Color can be an asset in telling stories.
  • Consider the lighting.
    Lighting is perhaps the most important technical issue in photography. Use of light affects colors, form, and textures, and careful consideration for how lighting is used can make an otherwise ordinary photo remarkable.
  • When the conditions are right, shoot.
    You can’t go back to a situation, so capture all you can while you have the opportunity.
  • Submit photographs with appropriate color formatting and file type.
    Color formatting and file type affect the appearance of photographs, depending on the media. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow key) is used for print materials. RGB (red, blue, and green) is used for Web and digital distribution. Submit photos in .JPG or .TIFF file types to ensure the best quality.

Photography Checklist:

Does your photography…

  • Demonstrate professional quality that reflects the university well in content and resolution?
  • Tell accurate stories by capturing life and emotion?
  • Depict IPFW students, faculty, staff, or alumni “in the moment”?
  • Utilize the best possible locations that not only complement the scene, but also depict the university and its campus in a positive way?
  • Grab the audience’s attention?
  • Demonstrate compelling composition?
  • Include any trash, named products, or unsightly “stuff”? If so, remove it!
  • Use appropriate and professional lighting techniques?
  • Use proper resolution for the determined use?
  • Use proper color format (CMYK for print, RGB for Web and digital distribution) for the determined use.
  • Use the appropriate file resolution/type for submission? .JPEG and .TIFF are preferred. (Minimum 300 d.p.i. for print)
  • Utilize optimal cropping and treatments for the determined use?