California State University, Fullerton

Photography Best Practices

Strategic Communications can assist you in planning for and obtaining photography that will most effectively assist your communications project. If you plan to secure your own photography, appearing below are some best practices to assist you. Please keep in mind that you must use a model release form (PDF) available for any "staged" promotional photography using specifically identified individuals. Contact Strategic Communications for more information. Release forms are not required for general event photography or "campus beauty" shots in open public spaces in which the capturing of subjects is purely incidental.

Shoot planning

  • Determine the purpose of the photography. What type of images will support the goals of a particular communication? What emotions do you hope to evoke?
  • Determine the appropriate location of the shoot (inside, outside, on campus, off campus). When considering locations with which you are not familiar, such as someone's office or home, scout the location ahead of time to ensure it is appropriate and there won't be any surprises. 
  • Discuss your goals and ideas with the photographer, along with more practical information such as the platform on which the photography will appear (online, in print — and the type of publication, or both), desired orientation (horizontal, vertical or both).
  • Determine who will attend the shoot with the photographer, ensuring that the photographer and subjects have the proper support without so many people present that it becomes counterproductive. 
  • Determine if any special access is needed to campus facilities.
  • If needed, arrange catering.
  • If needed, arrange for parking passes.

Schedule shoot

  • Determine what time subject and/or location will be available.
  • Send out a meeting request to participants that gives detailed information about meeting location and wardrobe requests. If we are shooting in their home or place of business, you need to inform them what time the crew will be setting up.
  • Models/participants should be familiar with the purpose of the shoot and where/why the photos are likely to be featured.
  • Send a separate meeting request to the team with the setup time (should be 15-30 minutes before the participants will arrive).

Model information

  • Models' clothing should feature solid, dark colors and conservative "timeless" styling with no logos or patterns such as thin stripes, checks or plaids.
  • Models should dress appropriately to match the purpose and goals of the shoot. 
  • If the shoot is for a large project, ask them to bring at least one change of clothing, perhaps including Titan attire in the case of students or alumni.
  • Less is more when it comes to makeup for women. Models should be told not to worry about blemishes, as the photos will be professionally edited.

Day-of logistics

  • All team members must arrive at the same time.
  • One team member must be assigned the point person for models and/or clients. That team member should carry, distribute and collect completed model release forms, and field any requests for the photography following the shoot.