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Public Affairs

Branding Guidelines for Photography

Sample of photographic style
Examples of branded portraits Unacceptable style of branded portrait photography

Photos are about visual storytelling. In today’s media-rich environment, people often look first to images, then to words. With this in mind, it is important that every image be carefully selected to communicate with impact. Brand photography should convey the University’s most valued and distinct attributes — family, collaboration, spirit, competition, focus and determination, and bold energy. 

Posed shots lose vital energy, which translates into weaker impact. Allow the subject to walk, talk, move, to be him/herself, to be comfortable. As a photographer, it should be as if you happened upon the person doing something and just snapped a picture. In this sense, the photos should have a style whereby the subject seems unaware of the camera being there. Photos should in most cases be tightly cropped. Avoid posing subjects or setting up a shot.

Photography is a powerful tool that expresses our values. Photos are about visual storytelling. In today's media-rich environment, people often look first to images, then to words. With this in mind, it is important that every image communicates a story and does so with maximum impact.

For the Clemson brand, the concept of "determined spirit" can be powerfully conveyed through photos. The desired portrait photograph is one that puts the subject in a relevant context — a sense of place — and captures "moments" infused with real emotion that communicate tenacity, spirit, challenge and achievement.

Portrait Guidelines

Portrait styles should convey a relaxed, casual attitude, as well as a certain energy of spirit and, perhaps even, of action. Subjects should be surrounded by their environments instead of photographed in a studio with backdrop. The reader should be able to pick up on the environment's energy as much as the spirit of the person within the environment. Environments should tie into the subject of the profile, if possible. For example, if a donor gives to support the library, perhaps consider shooting her sitting on a pile of books in one of the book rows inside the library.

Most importantly, the portrait shot should feel and be organic. Posed shots lose vital energy, which translates into weaker impact. Allow the subject to walk, talk, move, to be him/herself, comfortable. As a photographer, it should be as if you happened upon the person doing something and just snapped a picture. In this sense, the photos should have a "voyeuristic" style whereby the subject seems unaware of the camera being there.

Technical Guidelines

  • Photos must be high resolution.
  • The minimum size for a bitmap file should be 9 inches across by 12 inches high, at a resolution of 300dpi — that is, 2700 x 3600 pixels.
  • Formats should be one of the following; highresolution JPEG files (.jpg), TIFF (.tif) files or RAW.
  • Photos should be in color and use 24-bit or higher color depth.
  • Don't edit or alter the photograph by cropping
  • Do not crop the in-camera image too tight. Shoot so the photograph can be cropped both wide view and tight.

    Examples of shooting branded photos that can cropper horizontally or vertically

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