The mood and tone conveyed by our photography should be personal, authentic and bold. Our style aims to engage and captivate the viewer with honest, relatable images. We emphasize visual documentary storytelling over staged, posed photos.
- Photograph full-frame. Establish a mood and tone with bold images focused on moments of authenticity. Use available light to capture a bright, airy, genuine feel.
- Aim for honest, personal and direct images that are powerful and eye-catching. Attempt to capture moments happening instead of posing people to smile for the camera.
- Do not use stock photography.
- Use a captivating documentary style without filters (literally and figuratively) that reveals a behind-the-scenes perspective of the diverse and passionate St. Edward’s community.
- When photographing, keep all possible mediums in mind: print layouts, website pano images and social media. Capture both landscape and portrait orientation as well as close up and far away shots.
- Create powerful, eye-catching imagery by combining genuine moments, thoughtful composition, and pleasing colors, light and shadows.
Capture learning in action — students working with professors and in settings where students are experiencing their breakout moments.
Show community, environment, movement and laid-back lifestyle. Photograph both active moments at campus events and quiet moments of students on campus.
To illustrate a sense of place and to provide more information on the subject matter, detail shots from around campus and Austin can be used to enhance the storytelling. Details will almost always be up-close, tight shots. They can be of items (printed photos, food, jewelry, flowers, etc.) or of people (hands, eyes, etc.).
Photograph portraits with energy and expression, and feature subjects in an environment relevant to their story. Vary focal lengths for different uses in digital and print — close up, waist up and full body, etc. with both horizontal and vertical orientations. Feature more of the background in the frame when it makes sense.
Show students' connections to Austin's culture, internships and opportunities. Integrate the city's color and texture through murals, landscapes, flora and other things that show the St. Edward's experience in Austin.
Beauty shots of campus should be as bold as portrait and details shots. Aim to shoot wide shots with new and interesting perspectives. Capture what makes a specific building or location on campus unique. Pay special attention to light and shadow as compositional elements. Focus on highlighting spaces with greenery as well as beautiful architectural elements. Include people in the frame whenever possible.
Don’t be afraid to get close! Wide shots of big crowds work well but also get small groups or individuals engaged in the moment (taking photos with phones, interacting with others, actively participating in the event, etc.) Seek out storytelling details that provide more context about the event. Capture genuine, emotional moments — excited, smiling faces make for energetic moments, and pensive expressions can portray quieter moments.
Healthy Hilltop (For '20-'21 Academic Year)
To promote public health and safety during COVID-19, Healthy Hilltop photos should feature Hilltoppers in face masks, Hilltoppers social distancing, Healthy Hilltop signage, faculty teaching hybrid classes (teaching to students in person and virtually simultaneously), and screenshots of virtual events.
- Do not compete with the photo; allow the image room to breathe and aim for a minimal, clean approach.
- Utilize negative space without detracting from the content of the image; this is especially true when placing captions on a photo.
- Use free web tools like Pixlr or PicMonkey to edit and crop photos, but be intentional about cropping — do not excessively crop as the frame composition is important to the visual storytelling of the image.
- No additional edits or crops should be made if images are provided by the Marketing Office, as they have already been carefully edited and cropped.
Example of a photo used in a brochure layout.
Photo Sizing: A 3:2 aspect ratio is typically best for most photos. (3000x2000 px, 4000x2667px, etc.) If cropping for a webpage pano, the dimensions should be 1500x455 px. The aspect ratio of an image describes the proportional relationship between its width and its height.
Resolution: 300 DPI (dots per inch). DPI measures the particular number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of 1 inch. The higher the number, the better the resolution.
File format: JPEG (a compressed file type and one of the most popular file types in digital photography because of its smaller size and quality picture).
Captions and Credits
Caption content: Cover the who/what/where/when/why by using AP style captions.
- Structure: (Person’s name) (action/describe what they are doing) (specific event/location) (city, state) (day of the week, month, day, year). Include a second sentence if needed to give more context.
- If there is more than one identifiable person in the photo, name them from left to right.
- Example: Abigail Smith, Lewis Grant and Jack Mahan perform a dance routine during a talent show at the Robert and Pearle Ragsdale Center at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Hundreds of people attended the annual event to watch nearly 20 acts perform various talents.
Naming Convention: YearMonthDay_What/Who_SequentialNumbers (001, 002, 003, etc.). Examples include:
Note: Do not feel like you need to update file names to reflect each person in the photo. Names should be in tags. The only time you should include a person’s name in the file name is if it’s a portrait session or photoshoot exclusively of one person.
Credits: Any photos taken by the university photographer are free for university use and should be credited "Photography by Chelsea Purgahn." When sharing photos with outside parties, please check with the Marketing Office first by emailing the request to email@example.com. Once approved, let the outside party know to credit with "Copyright of St. Edward’s University/Photography by Chelsea Purgahn."
Hiring a Freelance Photographer
If you would like to hire a freelancer to shoot your event, the Marketing Office has complied this list of photographers from which you can choose.
Please use this online form to obtain consent from subjects when photographing for university purposes.