Photography Guidelines

At the heart of S&T’s communications strategy is an invitation to viewers to look to the future, see and think differently, and challenge what is with what could be. To achieve this we use our own unique photography that excites and inspires. The photography’s tone is imaginative, captivating, optimistic, focused, passionate, inspiring and heroic. The photography should capture the drive of discovery and innovation, and the curiosity and exploration of S&T’s forward-thinking students and faculty who are solving for tomorrow.

S&T’s images should be future focused, purposeful, emotional and compelling, and should differentiate us from other institutions. Before requesting a photographer or taking photos yourself, ask these questions:

  • What is the purpose or intent of the photos?
  • How and where will the images be used?
  • What message should the photos communicate now or in the future?
  • Can the image(s) be used in more than one place? (Website, recruitment emails, viewbooks, social media)

Our most successful photos will come from the following situations:

  • Hands-on activities where students will be engaged in building with and using materials, collaborating, brainstorming, performing or competing.
  • Students leading and working as a team to accomplish something together, such as a research project, design team project, in-class or homework assignment, or musical or theatrical performance.
  • Vibrant, creative and inventive research with necessary tools, equipment and PPE.
  • Activities and opportunities to give a sense of place at S&T, highlighting unique architecture, landscaping, and research facilities.
  • Active exploration and socialization of students outside of campus including at the field research station, design team competitions, student organizations and community involvement.

Select images that authentically engage the viewer and speak directly. Individuals engaged in real action and in real context establish credibility, a sense of confidence and success. Keep your audience in mind when selecting images. An image that may appeal to current students or alumni may not mean anything to a prospective student unfamiliar with S&T’s campus and traditions.

  • Does the imagery strike an emotional chord and capture a live event or moment?
  • Is there an authenticity to the image, as if the camera was invisible to the subject?
  • Does the imagery of students feel natural and not too staged?
  • Have we captured a sense of collaboration, experience and success?
  • Have we captured individual and unique expressions of S&T’s culture?
  • Have we found a new angle to view the situation without creating distortion?

It’s important to look at details within the image. 

  • Images should contain minimal elements that could be distracting, like signs, trashcans, boxes, or other clutter.
  • Make sure that there isn’t anything distracting or that could be seen as offensive in an image. Examples include hand gestures or behaviors in a crowd of students, messages on clothing, stickers on laptops or bags, etc.
  • Images should have a natural horizon line and not be tilted. Sometimes referred to as a “Dutch Angle,” images with an unnatural rotation can portray psychological uneasiness or tension.
  • Avoid showing attire and devices, like laptops, that show the names and logos of other universities.


Color phtos of a student sitting at edge of vacuum chamber
Use full color images to emphasize the bright future of S&T.

Odd duotone image of student sitting on edge of vacuum chamber❌  Duotone and Black and White images should only be used in historical context or where the project is limited to black and white.

Campus Architecture

Students sitting in front of Havener Center Include students engaging with others. Emphasize modern buildings, interesting angles, vibrant landscaping and groups of people engaged in activities if possible.

Crooked picture of one student walking next to building and bushAvoid strange angles, photos that aren’t level, images that only include the building and ones that include distracting elements like trash cans, vents, vehicles, or lone students/faculty/staff.

Campus Life

Smiling students walking on campus Students, faculty and staff in engaging moments with open body language and expressing positive emotions.

student sitting on rock looking at phone Avoid students looking bored, only engaged in devices, or photos that appear staged.

Socialization and Friends

Students laughing and painting rocks Images should be of natural, genuine and authentic moments. Expressions should be positive with people interacting.

students at picinic with backs to camera Avoid photos where students are staged, those that show students that aren’t engaged and backs of people.

School Pride and Culture

Large crowd at football game Large groups of students that help future students picture themselves as part of something bigger and with friends. The school and athletic logos are a plus, as are Joe Miner along with the school/brand colors: silver, gold and green. Current students and alumni with Joe Miner are great.

Student drinking without shirt at tailgate before game Avoid students participating in activities not allowed on campus, bare or painted chests, purposely visible undergarments.


Students standing in row with one student looking at camera Emphasize the achievements of the students, their celebrations and the diversity of the class. Look for moments that reinforce the strong STEM culture and direction of S&T.

graduation guest speaker Avoid using images of faculty, administrators or speakers unless the communication is directly related to the subject.

Research, Innovation and Academics

Student and faculty working together in chemical engineering lab Photos that show those at S&T solving for tomorrow, focused on innovation, collaboration and students taking the initiative and lead in hands-on work. Photos should be taken in clean, clutter-free lab/research spaces with all subjects using clean and proper PPE for the activity.

mechanical equipment from lab with no context For the primary photo used in print or online, avoid photos that only show equipment of that the viewer can't connect to.


Student in atrium of building Portraits should be taken on location (environmental) or be conceptual/creative (studio). The lighting and composition should be dynamic, dramatic and cinematic with special attention to detail.

Portrait of student in a studio with a gray background Avoid using studio headshots for anything other than websites or email unless other options are unavailable or a special series has been planned.