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The Photography Brief I sent to Louise Paton on 23/05/2013, after meeting with her to discuss image requirements for the redevelopment of the Research site.

I also sent Louise a request list. No new images were produced as a result, but this was mainly due to resource constraints around graduation and the June Open Day.

Hopefully they'll be useful for feeding into a standard photography brief for all our in-house images.


  • Professional
  • Natural
  • Positive
  • Warm

All photography should feel natural and unstyled: avoid using fabricated environments and props.

Try to use natural light: shots that feature heavy lighting can sometimes seem artificial and could make the situation look unrealistic.

Avoid cut-out studio shots or blank backgrounds: shoot with natural backgrounds to give a real context to the subject matter.

Avoid flat shots: contain an element of depth with the primary focus on the individual. Don’t oversaturate the colours: ensure shots have natural tones and highlights.


  • Keywords:
  • Context
  • Individual
  • Interaction

Focus on one individual: groups and large crowds lose the emotion and passion that can be achieved through a portrait. The person should always be the focal point of the shot.

Try to ensure that the individual you’re shooting looks natural: shots looking straight into camera and posed can look set up and forced. Interaction with off camera people and objects give it a professional yet relaxed tone.

Consider background atmosphere and context: these elements are nearly as important as the individual within the shot. This not only gives the shot a more natural feel, but shows subject matter without cheesy props


  • Keywords:
  • Flexibility
  • Space
  • Clear Area

Different crops of the individual are essential: cropping an image too close to the subject can cause issues when implementing the photography across a multitude of different formats.

Try to include clear areas within the background: there may be a requirement to run type over the photography, so uncluttered areas of solid colour should be included where possible

The objective of a re-staged site will be to support the strategic goal, outlined in the Marketing and Communications Strategic Review (Kaner, 2012) which aims to “build the University’s national and international reputation as a world-class centre for research with impact.”

What should the pictures say

The images should help tell the story of the research’s impact – how it has been applied in the real world.

How will the research be used?

Can we show the journey that the research has taken from initial concept to use in industry/policy etc

How will the images be used

In a wide variety of ways:

  • Hero spots
  • Slideshows
  • Thumbnails for listing pages
  • Features & promos for the internal & external homepages

Suitable examples       



Bold, characterful portrait that contributes to story

\\campus\IDPS\Applications\Fotoware\Images\Images Done\ImgLib\28025 Architecture Installations on Parade 2013\28025-0064.jpg

  • Bold (Colourful, Dynamic)
  • Research in context
  • Flexible for cropping 28073-0065

  • Character
  • Context
  • Natural light

\\campus\IDPS\Applications\Fotoware\Images\Images Done\ImgLib\27993 Prof Alison Walker\27993-0096.jpg

  • Character
  • Context
  • Natural light

Unsuitable examples



\\campus\IDPS \Applications\Fotoware\Images\Images Done\ImgLib\27916 Physics Equipment Shoot – Ekrek\27916-0075.jpg

  • No context
  • Focuses on how, not what or why
  • Close cropped   28080-0056

  • Staged
  • Cheesy prop
  • No context

\\campus\IDPS \Applications\Fotoware\Images\Images Done\ImgLib\27755 MRSA Research\27755-0016.jpg

  • Staged
  • Close cropped
  • Blue light of science
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