When choosing photography for your project, a combination of thematic stock photos and custom photoshoots should be able to provide all necessary images. When choosing (and shooting) images, look for:

  • interesting, asymmetric compositions
  • “white” or negative space
  • utilize close crops
  • diversity of subjects both in race and gender
  • subject matter of off-campus images should be topical

Avoid excessive shots of campus architecture. Instead, choose classrooms, students, or natural elements (plants, sky, etc.). When applicable, incorporate current event images to convey a theme or topic. Look for editorial images instead of banal “stock” images. Lastly, use global images as much as possible. Try not to limit industry/initiative images to a U.S. focus.

Portraits

Portraits should be forward-facing with the following attributes:

  • quiet composition
  • personal
  • looking toward camera

Alumni portraits should be off-campus (to illustrate our impact in the real world) and, when at all possible, include props from their industry. When portraits occur on campus, choose interesting backgrounds such as artwork or the natural world.

Other Things to Consider

Focus

Create a point of focus such that the background blurs a bit, but avoid the image getting too “soft.”

Expression

Can be anything, really. Just try and capture your subject at ease, with their most natural expression.

Background

Be creative, look for backgrounds that are graphic, quiet, or artful.

Proximity

Try the extremes; either really close or really far can be unusual and wonderful.

Candids/In-context

Photographs that make the user feel as though they are a part of the action can be very impactful. It gives the viewer a sense of being a part of the setting rather than simply viewing.

Events: It may seem like photos of speakers, lectures or symposiums provide context but the goal is to differentiate it from all other photos of event speakers. Find the interaction opportunities, shoot from different angles.

Scenic

spring scenes on West Campus – Duke Chapel

Duke is an incredibly beautiful place and you’ll find no shortage of inspirational locations for breathtaking photography. When considering scenic imagery, consider the time of day for lighting, the traffic pattern of the area and if there may be any no-go zones as part of the photo (i.e. health system

Photography captured on campus is considered public space and therefore releases are not required. However, if you are taking personal/individual photos, please use the University Photo Release Form.

Photography Resources

Duke’s Asset Management System (netid required) is a wonderful resource of over 7,000 images. It is refreshed regularly with community-sourced photos as well as new imagery captured by the University Communications team.

Duke University Archives Yearlook Flickr site is a great resource for archival photos of Duke through the years.

Can I use that picture?

“It’s on Google. I can use it, right?”

It’s tricky. Use the infographic from The Visual Communication Guy below to determine where content falls on the copyright spectrum.