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.
Three students sit together and chat while studying in Holy Cross Hall.

University Photo Library

The Marketing Office has compiled a collection of popular photos for the university community to use. 

Photography Categories

Academic Moments

Capture learning in action — students working with professors and in settings where students are experiencing their breakout moments.

Professor Santiago Toledo assists a student in a lab.

Campus Life

Show community, environment, movement and laid-back lifestyle. Photograph both active moments at campus events and quiet moments of students on campus.

Students hang out together as one student plays guitar on a bench at Sorin Oak.


To illustrate a sense of place and to provide more information on the subject matter, detail photos from around campus and Austin can be used to enhance the storytelling. Details will almost always be up-close, tight photos. They can be of items (printed photos, food, jewelry, flowers, etc.) or of people (hands, eyes, etc.). 

A forensic science student puts fluorescent powder on a topo chico bottle with a brush to check for fingerprints during a lab class.

Environmental Portraits

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.

St. Edward's student Jessie_Guerriero stands for a portrait in the campus ministry garden.

Studio Portraits

Use colorful, bold studio backgrounds that align with the color palette (Blue Jean, Ocean Blue, Mint Green, Deep Yellow, Coral and Primary Red are approved backdrops). Make portraits with movement, energy and expression.

St. Edward's alum Matt Benoit sits for a portrait in front of a blue backdrop.

Austin Portraits

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.

St. Edward's student Maya Boehm stands in front of a mural in downtown Austin.

Campus Beauty

Beauty images of campus should be as bold as portrait and details photos. Aim to take wide photos 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.

Two students play a game at the Grab and Goat.


Don’t be afraid to get close! Wide images 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.

Students dance together during Homecoming Bash.
Student Lavelle Brown, wearing a Topper face mask, stands outside of Main Building with the red doors in the background.

Healthy Hilltop (For '21-'22 Academic Year)

To promote public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.

Photo Pulls

If you are in need of specific images and cannot find something to fit your needs in the University Photo Library, please send a request to In your request, please include the approximate number of photos you need, details of the types of images you need, whether your images should be low or high resolution (if they'll be used in print or digitally) and whether the images will be shared outside of the university. Please allow 5-7 business days for your request to be completed.


  • 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.
St. Edward's students featured in an admissions print piece.
A girl jumps in front of a blue wall with text around her.

Example of photos used in a vertical and a horizontal brochure layout.

Technical Specs

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:

  • 20190914_Fall_Magazine_First_Look_001
  • 20190531_General_Campus_020
  • 20190531_Fulbright_Portraits_Rachel_Applegate_010

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 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 photograph your event, the Marketing Office has complied this list of photographers from which you can choose.

Photo Releases

Please use this online form to obtain consent from subjects when taking photo or video for university purposes. For guidelines on the consent of usage, please see the Photo/Video Release Statement.