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Good photography example with Drew Eubanks posing in front of a city backdrop

Photography Tips

Photography for Non-Photographers: This presentation from Penn State will provide you with an understanding of the elements needed in a good photograph and provide good and bad examples of each.

Photography Quality Standards

Most of the content you will provide for your website will be photography, however, there are many aspects to consider when determining a good photograph, in general, including brightness, contrast, color, exposure, resolution and size (per the minimum graphics dimensions applicable for each module).

Marketing and Communications recommends using photography taken specifically for Tarleton State University over stock photography, though you may purchase some for use in your marketing materials when needed.

You can link to photos inside Cascade CMS, going to the Common Site, then the links folder under the common folder to view the images and/or download them for cropping/resizes per content module image dimensions

Clip art is discouraged. If you need photography and/or videography done for your website, fill out the Marketing Project / Item Request form, and state what elements you need and where you would ideally like them to be located on your website.


  • You provide a photo of a professor Dr. So-and-so and a request to include the text, heading "Keynote Speaker: Dr. So-and-so" with a subheading "10 years in the jungle", for the content module Tall Aside
  • You ask if we have a photo of Dr. So-and-so or if we can take a photo of them soon and a request to include call-to-action text, heading "Keynote Speaker: Dr. So-and-so" with a subheading "Learn about their 10 years in the jungle", for the content module Slideshow
  • You provide a graphic of the book Jungle Photography by Dr. So-and-so and a request to include the text, "Meet Dr. So-and-so at the book signing and learn about their 10 years in the jungle", for the content module Tall Aside Feature Panel

If alternative text is not provided through any call-to-action on the image itself, please provide additional content on how the image should be described if the image doesn't load on someone's device. Examples:

  • Alternative text: "Speaker Dr. So-and-so gives keynote at Photography Summit"
  • Alternative text: "Dr. So-and-so holds their book Jungle Photography"

All image submissions should be given in the file type .jpg, ensuring they are 72 dpi, which is standard directly off a camera. We create .png graphic files only for use in the statistics. No other image formats are approved for use on the Tarleton website, due to loading issues and device/browser compatibility. Keep in mind any photography or graphics you provide will be rejected if they do not pass the standards we've provided, and we will ask for alternative solutions.

Web Services will reject any photography that do not meet standards, including improperly cropped or resized graphics. Further detail of these standards are mentioned below.

Basic Requirements

All content, whether copy or multimedia, should be presented in a professional manner best representing the Tarleton brand. 

  • Content is not stretched or squeezed to fit in the dimensions.
  • Content is not blurry or pixelated, the main subject should be in crisp and clear focus.
  • Content is not too bright or too dark where the main subject is hard to discern from the background.
  • Content is not filtered in a manner where the color is modified from the real setting, like retro filters.
  • Content is not bordered, framed or vignetted, which removes usable content from the multimedia's dimensions.
  • Content is not a double exposure or collage of photographs.
  • Content is not styled, including bevels, embosses, gradients, drop shadows, distortions.
  • Content is not in RGB mode, the standard setting on cameras, which is easy to tell on Tarleton logos because the purple turns an odd shade of blue.

Some of the digital enhancements and artwork mentioned here are done by the creative staff in Marketing and Communications. Others do not follow our branding or professional quality guidelines. Exceptions to these standards, based on appropriate artistic purpose, must be approved by Web Services.

Typically rejected content

Clip art is highly discouraged for its unprofessional look and feel juxtaposed with our template, but that doesn't mean drawings and other artwork are not allowed. We have creative staff on hand that can create graphics that match our template and Tarleton brand.

If you do provide us with outside stock photography or artwork, we will assess it for professionalism, quality, and ability to fit within our template and brand. As always, your content should avoid:

  • commercial or political affiliations, political agendas, or candidates running for office
  • advocating or promoting the use of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs
  • exhibiting hate, bias, discrimination, pornography, libelous or otherwise defamatory content
  • promotion of violence, violent acts, or self harm acts

Web Services reserves the right to remove any images, video, or audio content at any time depicting these actions or any individual who has been or will be disciplined for any of these actions. Individuals up for election in student organizations will be removed to provide a non-biased environment. We ask that you keep abreast of the content on your website to know when such individuals need to be removed and provide alternatives during election seasons. Individuals may be re-added to your website after the election season.

Copyright Infringement

Web Services will remove or reject any image that we do not have permission to use, including copyright infringement requests. These include:

  • Usage of outdated or misused logos and marks
  • Usage of copy that comes directly off another website or is only slightly adjusted without any sources cited
  • Usage of artwork from Google Images and similar searches without proper identification of their source and owner
  • Usage of music (e.g. pop, country, rock, metal) that we do not have written consent or proof of purchase to use by the owner

While you may think some content you incorporate or modify in your multimedia would qualify for Fair Use, most marketing and promotional content does not. Check the Library's information on Fair Use, Copyright and the TEACH Act.

Please make sure you have bought the content you are using or have written proof of approval that can be used when copyright infringement claims occur. It is absolutely vital that we abide by copyright laws to prevent loss of funding and protect the image of Tarleton State University.