Guidelines for photography Guidelines for photography

Photography is an important aspect of the University of East Anglia's identity and should have a distinctive and consistent style. Different types of photography can be used but should be of a consistently high quality and reflect the University's overall image and identity. Building a substantial image library that offers a strong set of coherent visual signals means that we can tailor our communications for purpose whilst retaining a sense of a common visual approach. These guidelines provide a briefing on several aspects of photography and outline our approach to image selection. Commissioned or sourced photography should be contemporary and high quality, inspiring, engaging and full of impact.

A list of the University's recommended photographers, who are well-versed in these guidelines, can be found on our Photographer page

An example of our current photography style is available to view. Click here to download.

The University's online photo library can be found at

Types of photography

The types of photography used in our publications break down into three broad areas: 

1. Inspirational and aspirational photography

The images should be emotive, engaging, liberating and exciting. The images should show the University's unique qualities. People should appear active and engaged.

2. Location photography 

Enables us to show the University campus and its surrounding areas. This can be both indoors and outdoors. Locations should feature the best of the University, our best buildings, facilities, outside areas and academic and social activities. Interior shots might include inside the University buildings, lecture halls, accommodation, catering facilities, etc. Outdoor photography can feature our award-winning architecture, the city of Norwich, the Norfolk Broads and coast, etc. Outdoor activities such as sport, or activities associated with coursework (field trips, placements, etc) should be considered also. All location photography should include people in context to reflect the core mission of a university working with and through people in a high quality academic and social environment. For these, the person can be looking directly at the camera, or a more natural feel – particularly for groups engaged in academic or social activity. The background may be plain or showing the person in context, whichever is appropriate.

3. Supplied photography/imagery 

Supplied photography and imagery is imagery that is provided by an outside source or obtained through an image library. This can include rare history related matter, pictures of artefacts (book covers, etc), newspaper photographs of famous people, stills of video footage and so on. You will need to agree a price with the supplier and agree terms, ie are you wanting the image for single or multi use. See our photo agencies.

Also included would be photographic illustrations and diagrams, for example scientific illustrations and computer generated imagery. Ownership of copyright of such images must be discovered and permission for use sought. An appropriate credit should be published within the publication.

Directing photography

General composition

When shooting specific use photography take into account how a picture will be used, at what size and in what format (eg portrait or landscape). When undertaking general photo shoots ensure images are captured in landscape and portrait – see below.

Decide on the theme and location of images prior to the session, and be aware that weather, lighting and room access, busy periods and special permission can all influence the photo shoot. 

When briefed to shoot images which require the placing of logos and headings (eg publication cover shots) ensure there is adequate clear space to enable this – the client briefing the project should determine the size and form of headings and logos – these should meet general UEA branding guidelines. 

UEA Brand Guidelines

When briefed to shoot a picture which will be used across a fold ensure that the composition is asymmetrical so that the main point of focus will not be lost in the fold or through binding. This is particularly important when people are part of the composition. By shooting a larger area than you actually require you give greater scope for positioning and cropping. This is particularly important when shooting multi-use photography, pictures which are part of a campaign and may be used in many formats and at varied sizes as well as generic photography which may be used across many applications and over a long period of time. 

When shooting pictures which will be used at a small size, avoid compositions looking too busy or detailed unless this is intrinsic to the story, ie a detailed scientific study. 

Undesirable objects like bins should be framed out of shot, and be aware of strongly coloured or bright items that may stand out and distract from the desired subject. Gum/cigarette ends should be removed in post-production, as well as any odd marks on blank surfaces such as walls. 

A good mix of shots at different focal lengths is preferable to many shots at the same focal length. For example, in a lab group scenario, wide shots detailing the subjects within the surrounding environment, medium shots of the subjects interacting with each other/the equipment and close shots of the individual subjects engaged in activity (hands working with equipment etc) would be very useful in terms of being able to build an overall picture.

Ensure that a combination of both portrait and landscape images are taken, where appropriate. 

• Landscape: 5760x3840
• Portrait: 3840x5760
• Website Hero image: 940x250


People shots can be detailed into two areas: people looking at the camera (portraits) and people not looking at the camera (reportage). Portraits are very much about an individual, where he or she is the main point of focus and may accompany a quotation or personal perspective.

Alternatively people can be shot where they are not looking at the camera for example interacting with another person or a piece of equipment and the picture then has a different emphasis. A person's appearance is obviously very important. Ensure subjects are not wearing anything the target audience may find offensive (eg short sleeved shirts/skirts for images that may be used in international markets). 

It is recommended that you prepare your subject(s) for the photo session. You might want to advise them of the look and feel of the imagery, their dress code and also if they need to bring a selection of clothing for inside/outside shots and also props required such as laptop and books.

Shots of people should ideally be taken from the eye level of the photographer. Ensure the subject complements the background and that the background is not needlessly busy. Allow for cropping and positioning of the picture, so avoid shooting too tightly around the subject. 

Large portraits work better when individuals are positioned asymmetrically or when a subject is not shot straight on. By standing at an angle but facing the camera a picture can look more interesting and less forced. 

If the portrait is to be used as a cut-out try and photograph the subject against a white or very light background. Portraits should always be sharp.

When photographing people who are not looking at the camera, for example a person or group of people studying, eating, talking, etc different guidelines apply. These pictures should be more candid, more natural and when appropriate do not need to be in sharp focus. A good example would be where a University building or workspace is photographed and people are included to soften the picture and humanise what may be a hard environment. In contrast when the picture is all about the individuals featured they should be photographed as sharp as possible unless it lends itself to the subject or activity in question, for example people dancing or enjoying sport. Motion blurs should be used sparingly. 

Use strong, dynamic images to illustrate teaching and research. Students need to look enthusiastic and engaged. Photography of individuals or small groups using eye-catching equipment, experiments or facilities works well. Where computers are featured, it is preferable to have strong graphics on the screen (see example). Field trips and other activities outside of traditional teaching environments often provide interesting images.

Depth of field

Blurred foregrounds and backgrounds can be used for different reasons. If a specific point of focus is required in a busy picture a shorter depth of field can be used to highlight this. In addition, if a foreground or background is unattractive, unclean, too cluttered or distracting, inappropriate. Other than in these instances, repetition of blurring images should be kept to a minimum. 

Special effects

Special effects with a camera should be kept to a minimum. Panoramic and fish eye lenses, cross screens, tinted gels, etc should all be avoided. 

Subjective camera angles

Camera angles of people taken from very low levels or from above their heads can be powerful but should be used sparingly. Such photographs are often only of use as part of specific design theme, but can be useful when including tall buidings in a picture, eg UEA London, or situations which look very dull otherwise.

Briefing photographers

When commissioning photographers it is useful to provide a brief detailing what you wish to achieve and convey through your images. If a specific feel or style is required, ie for a cover shot or a series of smaller shots for a smaller publication, ensure that this is clearly communicated. Talk to your photographer – they can help. If you can find examples to demonstrate a sense of what you are after, all the better – be aware however that copyright prevents the exact recreation of images. Additionally, for a large display stand or similar, ensure that your photographer knows to shoot and store the image at the optimum file size.

For photography of events it is helpful to provide and itinerary together with a list of desired shots.If you are concerned that a location such as a laboratory is poorly lit, you should ask the photographer to take a look before the planned shoot, so that they bring the appropriate lighting/equipment.

Ensure photographers are briefed to meet the following Technical requirements:

• Images must be supplied as high quality JPEGs or TIFs, 300dpi. 

• Minimum image resolution is 1600 x 1200. 

• Pictures should be supplied without watermarks or logos.

• Pictures should be supplied with neutral saturation and contrast. 

• Pictures should be supplied in their correct orientation.

• Please do not apply any artistic filters or effects to the pictures, unless briefed to do so.

• Please use descriptive filenames, detailing the subject and date (eg: undergrad-medicine-2013-01.jpg)

Please record times for both the photographer and also the subject if needed for finance purposes.

Quality of photography

University photography should always be in colour and be rich and vibrant. 

Images should not be used or supplied displaying any form of distortion.

Photo's should not be taken in dark environments, or supplied with excessive shadows.

Be mindful when selecting pictures of people that their eyes are open and they do not look unhappy.

Take particular care in ensuring the foreground and background are satisfactory. If a picture requires digital retouching try and keep it to a minimum and ensure it always looks realistic. A designer can always crop out unsuitable detail if needed.

Model Release

When using images of people in University publications they must sign a photographic model release form consenting to the use of their image. Be careful to fully check an image to ensure it is fit for reproduction. Where photographing groups, and it is not possible to obtain model release from people in the background, it is possible to display notices informing those in a location of photography – please speak with the Publications or Digital Marketing Teams for further advice.

Model Release Form

File sizes

When taking digital pictures, bear in mind at what size an image will eventually be used. For example, a full bleed image for an A3 poster should be a minimum 60mb in size. Images for larger items, such as banners, should be as large as the camera allows. When scanning printed photography assess carefully the size at which you intend to use the picture and scan to a sufficiently high resolution file size (300dpi for use in print). 

As a guide an A4 litho-printed picture should be at least 30mb in size. Pictures used in screen presentations and online only ever appear at 72dpi and therefore are much smaller in memory size. These are unsuitable for print. 

Take care when using imagery provided by an outside source. The file size of such a picture will determine how large it can be used.

There are some basic guidelines to observe when using photography. 

Delivery method

Images can be supplied via physical media (USB drive or disc), or via a digital delivery service, such as YouSendit or Dropbox.

Angles and horizons

Where possible horizons should be horizontal. Vertical lines are important too. Be careful when featuring buildings that they are not at an excessive angle. Sometimes a building's perspective will mean no two lines are parallel in which case a happy medium is best. Never angle a photograph in order to fill a picture box. Sometimes an angle makes for a more interesting picture, but pictures such as these should be used only if there is a good reason for doing so – eg if striking architectural views are used throughout a publication. 


Only certain pictures are suitable for use as a background to a body of text. Legibility is paramount, but there are many factors to take into account. How much text is there and at what size is it? Is there a sufficiently large space of plain colour – eg sky – where text will be easily legible. This will help determine whether a picture can work around small text. How detailed is a picture and will it complement the colour of the text? What printing process will be used? This will determine whether reversed out text is feasible and/or at what size the text needs to be. Be careful of objects in the background (such as pylons and branches) appearing as though they're sticking out of subject's ears/head.


Ideally try to avoid drastic close-ups, cropped shots of people, environments and architecture. Sometimes use of close-ups is helpful – eg when taking shots of close lab work where the activity would not be fully visible in a full-person shot – or where the focus on the activity would be diluted.


As well as ensuring pictures work well across folds take care not to crop people's heads, faces or bodies in an awkward way. Even individuals who are not the main point of focus, those perhaps in the background of a picture, should be positioned and cropped carefully. Try not to use crops of people, environments and architecture that become too abstract. 


Please take care when using a picture as a cut-out to make sure the cut-out procedure has been executed proficiently – take extra care with people's hair. The use of cutouts should be limited and should only be used with approval from the Digital Marketing Team or Publications Team.

Dated photography

Take care when using pictures from University archives that they are not out of date and conflict with the new identity (eg someone wearing a hoodie with the old logo on), signage and/or where new buildings are now in place. Those which are relevant and perhaps have an historical attachment are an obvious exception. 


Be careful not to use the same picture twice within a document or continually within a series of documents unless it is specifically relevant or an intrinsic part of a campaign. 

Picture box shapes

Picture boxes should ideally be square or rectangular, but should not be too tall and thin or shallow and wide. Irregular shaped picture boxes (eg circular) should not be used. The use of the ‘glint' in the University logo as a ‘frame' for a picture or words is discouraged. 

Retouching and special effects

Retouching should only be done to improve the quality of a given picture and not an opportunity for trickery. Unnecessary blurring, pixelating, skewing and stretching (particularly when stretching a picture to fill a picture box) should be avoided.

Incorrect use

Never use clip art for internal or external communication, it weakens the brand and looks unprofessional. Do not under any circumstance accept poor quality or low resolution imagery.

For any enquiries about photography for publications please contact the Publications Team.

For any enquiries about photography for websites and digital use please contact the Digital Marketing Team.