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Photo & Video

Photography and videography are important pieces for making your communications more interesting and effective in reaching your audience. Photography shows the personality of your unit and whenever possible, photos of our students, faculty, and staff should be used. Penn State’s brand manual talks about what makes a strong photo.

Where to find photos

Take them yourself. The best way to ensure you have the right to use a photo is to take the photo yourself. You don't need fancy equipment if you are taking photos for social media or web use. Ensure you have good lighting and you have consent from the individuals you are photographing. 

Contact our office to take them. The Student Affairs Communications & Marketing office is available to take photos. Submit a project request form to schedule services. Our office also keeps a library of past photos available for use. 

Penn State News Flickr account. Penn State News has a Flickr account that is a good source of photos for news or social media. 

Use stock photos. Stock photos should be used sparingly. Stock photos are easily recognizable and are seen as less authentic. You can request access to Adobe Stock Photo Credits through Penn State using the online form. There are also some free stock photos options below in our resources section or you can purchase photos through a platform like istock

Creative Commons license or public domain photos. A creative commons license grants basic rights, such as the right to distribute work for non-commercial purposes. There are several different types of creative commons licenses, you should look for the Attribution (BY) version and ensure that you are attributing the image correctly. Another option is to look for public domain images. Those are images with no rights reserved. Usually, the copyright has expired, and generally, these images do not require attribution.

Do not use photos found online unless you are positive about the usage rights. Some free stock photo options are listed below.

Videography & Video Requests

We encourage you to look for ways to tell your story through video. If you have an idea for a video project, please submit a project request.

Cell phones are a great resource if you want to capture video yourself. A lot of apps are available to edit video right from your phone or you can download and edit on your computer. If you are creating a video yourself, please keep these things in mind.

  • All videos created by Student Affairs units must be branded with an end slide that includes the appropriate wordmark and website URL.
  • All videos created by Student Affairs units for use on the website MUST be housed on the Student Affairs YouTube page. Please contact the Communication Manager to upload your video.
  • All videos MUST have closed captioning for accessibility. If you are submitting a video to us, please submit a script for us to create the closed captioning. If you are using a video on social media, please reach out if you are unsure how to caption it. 
Consent for Photos/Video

Penn State students, faculty, and staff in public places or at public events can be photographed for social media and news. It is best practice to introduce yourself and get verbal permission to post the photo if an individual is clearly recognizable in the photo. If contacted and asked to remove a photo, please do so as soon as possible.

For printed publications and the website, photos should have a signed release form if there is a clear focus on an individual or a few individuals. If you are unsure if you need a release form it’s a good idea to have the photo subject sign one just in case.

If you are photographing children, it is extremely important to have a release form signed by their parent or guardian no matter where or how the photo will be used. In general, it’s a good idea to refrain from photographing children’s faces. If it can’t be avoided, or if the event revolves around children, make sure to speak to a parent or guardian and have them sign the release form.

If you are hosting an event where registration is required, you can include a blanket consent as part of the registration process or with highly visible signage at the event. Please contact our office if you need help developing language to include.

Penn State Student Affairs
Communications & Marketing

203 Boucke Building 
University Park, PA 16802