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Photography Tips and Services

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Photographs visually portray the real Rutgers.

When representing your unit, always use photos of actual student, faculty, and staff engaged in their work and activities.

Because it is so important to accurately reflect our diverse student body and have interesting and compelling images on your websites, we provide photography services to you whenever possible.


We can take photos for you

Our staff are available to take photos of your event, location, and community, including staged action shots in labs and classrooms or simple head shots.

Contact us to arrange for up to an hour of photography:


You can take your own photos

At a large public event, always let attendees know you will be taking photos to share on the web and through social media. 

For smaller events and photos that focus on fewer individuals that will be used to tell a story or represent your department, have the subjects sign a photo release form and scan and save with the photos. This protects you and the university from using photos without permission and also identifies who is in the photo and gives you the option of easily following up for more information. 

Model release forms must be obtained from people you are photographing or videotaping. These forms are required in order to grant an entity permission to use the subject's image in any medium for educational, promotional, advertising, or other purposes. For public events, releases generally are not required; it is strongly encouraged, however, that model releases are signed by all subjects if at all possible. One form is specifically for minors and must be completed by a parent or guardian.

Download the required university photo release forms here.



Remember your goals for photographing the event:
Photos to share on social and the website of a successful event and a good time had by all!
Stock photos for your website: frame images you can crop to 1x3, 1x2, and square

Try to capture three types of photos: ACTION, CANDID, and POSED

While everyone wants photos of the action and candid shots, always remember to take posed shots, too!


1. Fill the frame for all types of shots

Fill the frame with your subjects, make that expression prominent, and get rid of the background that doesn’t add to the moment.

Make the background work for you: Do you have school or department banner on display? Place it where it will be in photos taken of the event.

ACTION: when you are photographing structured activities from the sidelines

2. During the structured part of an event, set up the shot and wait for the expressions.

Good event photography is all about expressions.

Set up a shot and wait for someone to smile or take a good photograph of people you need good expressions.

For example, at a symposium, position yourself to the side so you can get all the speakers at the table in the frame, then wait for that moment of laughter and when the speaker looks toward you.

Even the most attentive listeners can look bored or distracted in a photo. Try to get the focus on someone speaking or laughing. Take a photo of the speaker over or between the backs of heads of listeners whose faces would look blank. 

CANDID AND POSED: when you, guests, and participants are casually interacting

4. Capture a variety of candid photographs.  Don’t settle for stiff shots!

Uncomfortable people are the bane of every event photographer’s existence.

If everyone were outgoing and extroverted, the job would be so much easier, but that’s just not the reality, and your job is to help make people comfortable.

Being behind the camera gives you power to be outgoing and direct people to create great photos! People know you have a job to do and expect you to do it.

So, get in the middle, smile, and say hi to people. If you are getting ready to take their photo, you can talk to them! Smile, ask them how their day is going and just engage them in any way you can.

Never tell them they look uncomfortable! Instead, compliment them.

The more comfortable you seem the more comfortable your subjects will be. Even if you are sweating on the inside, try to smile and look comfortable on the outside.

5. Capture a variety of posed photographs

Please remember to always take posed photographs from events that you photograph.

Candid are great, but they can be hard to frame, and at a work event people are often standing too far apart to look engaged in a photo.

To get a nicely framed group photo, get people to move closer, and smile.

Posing people doesn’t have to be scary.

We already spoke about getting people to stop being stiff, but there are a couple of tips that will help to make any posed photo much better.

Simple Posing Tips
• Ask people to tilt their body to the side to make sure they look slimmer.
• Pay attention to people’s arms and hands (if they look stiff ask them to hold their hands together in a comfortable way, to place their arm on something, to put their hands in their pockets, or to cross their arms).
• Pay attention for people who are looking down too much, creating that double chin look.
• Ask the group to look at each other instead of the camera for a couple of shots.
• Try to occasionally think of a funny pose to do to break up a tense portrait.

 Finally, have fun!  Take lots of photos! And then get ready to crop and edit for print and web!


Adapted from Best Shots, Photographer James Maher, December 10, 2019