Best practices for photos

Images are an important part of every UX design and the right visuals can take our marketing piece from ordinary to outstanding.

Despite its diversity, there are a number of principles and techniques which can be applied to most situations. Keeping them in mind at all times will encourage you to think more carefully about your framing, composition, and lighting.

Follow these guidelines to assure your photography captivates our audience.

The pictures on the left with a ✔️ are good. The pictures on the Right with an X are what NOT to do.


Lighting is a crucial part of photography. Try different times of day and in different weather. If inside, be sure its well lit.

Outside, Side-front lighting usually produces the best architecture photos. It provides plenty of illumination and also casts long, interesting shadows across the face of the building, making its surface details stand out and giving the building a more three-dimensional look.

Shadows can ruin a photo, so be aware of them. Alternatively you could wait until it gets dark...

Stock photo of a professor hovering over a student at their computer.

Stock photo of a professor hovering over a student at their computer.

Shooting at Night

Even the most boring architecture can come alive at night and resonate with your audience. When photographing architecture at night be sure to use a tripod and set camera to its lowest ISO setting to reduce digital noise to a minimum.

One female student surrounded by her friends captures an organic moment of the group laughing and conversing in downtown Indianapolis.
Car wash.

Pick out Interesting Details

Many buildings and products have small-scale details which make fascinating photos.

Consider angles (leading lines and vanishing points), visual rhythm (repetition, alternation, progression, undulation), glare, Framing (ensure the subject is fully in frame), etc.

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.

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.

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.