Best Practices

Best practices

Images are an important part of every IU design and the right visuals can take your marketing piece from ordinary to outstanding. While it takes time and resources to find appropriate, high-quality photos to support your content, the results speak for themselves.

Follow these guidelines to assure your photography captivates your audience.

Use real people

Showcase the one-of-a-kind community of faculty, staff, and students that surround us every day at IU. Only use stock photography when completely necessary.

A female professor stands next to three female students as they engage in an authentic conversation in the classroom.
Stock photo of a professor hovering over a student at their computer.

Natural and spontaneous

Images that are spontaneous will resonate with your audience. Avoid photos that seem posed and unnatural.

One female student surrounded by her friends captures an organic moment of the group laughing and conversing in downtown Indianapolis.
A diverse group of male and female IUPUI students smile at the camera in an inauthentic, unnatural way.

Single subject focus

When taking a photograph of a group, select an individual for your audience to focus on.

A smiling woman in Marching Hundred uniform holding her instrument is in the foreground while the busy Kirkwood Avenue is blurred in the background.
A photo of a large group of Marching Hundred musicians standing on Kirkwood Avenue is unfocused and does not call out an individual.

Clutter free

If the space you are shooting seems complex, choose to focus in on particular details of that space. Avoid using photos that are over-complicated or cluttered.

A student paints a geometric shaped design on a canvas
Art students in a painting class work on their projects in a large studio filled with a variety of objects that clutter the space.

Attention to details

Keep an eye on what subjects are wearing or holding. Avoid shirts with corporate or other university logos, and branded packaging (food or beverage containers).

Two female IU students wearing IU red clothing smile toward a male friend in the foreground.
A male student wearing a baseball cap with the word California on it and a female student wearing an Ohio State sweatshirt.

Stay current

Regularly refresh your unit’s photo collection to ensure your images are relevant and up-to-date. Avoid using images that look or feel dated.

A male professor and a female student wearing white lab coats work together in a naturally lit, bright research lab.
Professor and students work in a research lab that appears to be outdated, not modern or technologically advanced, and is discolored by fluorescent lighting.

Photo collage

Create an intriguing photo collage by juxtaposing close-, mid-, and wide-range shots. This will allow your photos to tell a story and further engage your audience.

When laying out photos, give at least a 2 point rule between each image. Avoid having photos touch each other.

A close-up photo of a rock show its textured details.
Trees and plants frame a group of students discussing environmental research.
A female student examines an Erlenmeyer flask filled with water next to the Jordan River on the IU Bloomington campus.

Color mode

To avoid any color distortion in your photos, set your images’ color mode to CMYK for print pieces. For web, set all images’ color mode to RGB.