Every Picture Tells a Story

Photography is about visual storytelling. It helps support and convey the brand message by capturing and showing the essence of UMass Amherst—its people, symbols, and campus. Photos speak volumes and are a key component to creating successful brand communication.

Photography used in UMass Amherst communication should feel authentic, warm, inviting, and aspirational. We want to engage readers and viewers whenever possible and truly capture everything UMass Amherst has to offer. Photography shouldn’t  feel staged, unreal, cold, or stock-like. Vary your depth of field. Try to take an action shot as opposed to a static one with no energy. A photojournalistic approach is always best.

Photo of Old Chapel on campus


Whenever possible, avoid photography of people looking straight into the camera, unless the concept calls for a direct-to-camera portrait. When using multiple photographs, make sure the composition reflects the diversity of the campus community and the color palette works. Expressions should not be too whimsical or too serious.

Photoshoot Note:  Many people are uncomfortable in front of the camera. Don’t rush the shoot. You will get better results when you take the time to put your subjects at ease and make them comfortable. 

Photo of students in classroom


Make sure the framing of location shots is interesting and dynamic, when possible. The setting should be clean and free of clutter and unnecessary propping. It should feel inviting. When possible, use people to add warmth.

Photoshoot Note: While shooting, keep an eye out for other brand wordmarks and logos. They’re everywhere on campus and it is easier to avoid them than to retouch later.

 The Integrative Learning Center

Campus Life

Photography of campus life should feel engaging, energetic, and intimate. viewers should get a real sense of the relationships between the subjects—student to student, professor to student, alumni to student, and so on.
Photoshoot Note: Take the time to make your subjects comfortable. Avoid other branding. Make sure people are interacting while shooting. Shoot plenty of backup shots. Capture moments, not just people.

Student hanging out in the Student Union Building.


It’s all about kinetic energy. Shoot subjects in motion whenever possible. Frame and crop in ways that add to the motion. Avoid centering the subject. Get an array of shots—wide-shots and close-ups—to really convey the moment.
Photoshoot Note: Have fun. Get into the action. When you get a great shot, double-check the focus.

UMass footbal vs. Bowling Green University

Technical Guidelines

Existing Photography

  • Images may be cropped.
  • Do not reduce image size so much as to minimize its impact.
  • Allow plenty of white space around images.
  • Do not color-correct images.

Creating New Photography

  • Photos must be high resolution.
  • The minimum size for a file should be 9 inches wide by 12 inches high, at a resolution of 300dpi (2700 x 3600 pixels).
  • Formats should be one of the following; high-resolution JPEG files (.jpg), TIFF (.tif) files, or RAW.
  • Photos should be in color and use 24-bit or higher color depth.

Resources and Downloads

If you’d like to use existing images of our beautiful campus, people, and places, please visit our stock photography website
If you’ve created original photography, please contact University Relations at to obtain the photo release form.
If you have any questions or concerns about proper use of photography, please contact:
John Solem​, University Photographer,