Photo Style

Digital Asset Management System  |  Styles to Follow  |  Technical Guidelines  |  Tips  |  Talent Release Form


Photography and video have proven themselves to be among the most useful and engaging tools a communicator or marketer can use. Our choice of images can and should support our verbal branding messages.


Digital Asset Management System


University Communications’ contract with Extensis, the maker of Portfolio, is set to expire at the end of May 2016 and will not be renewed due to the rising costs to manage and maintain the service.
For general users, we are creating a “greater good” Box folder that will contain approximately 1,000 images for your communications needs. The link to this folder will be available soon.

We apologize for the inconvenience this will cause. We'll continue to review options to identify a long term, sustainable solution.

Digital Asset Management System (DAMS), or Portfolio, provides an accessible database to the University Communications staff and CSUs for University image retrieval, curation, and long-term preservation. The DAMS enhances productivity and maintains brand identity for the university as more digital assets are generated. The Digital Content Group in University Communications is in the process of cataloguing over 2.5 million images from the past 13 years.

University Communications has created guidelines for the DAMS based on best practices and department needs established by the Digital Asset Manager and departmental users. These guidelines will assure the creation of robust records and instructions for management, uploading assets, developing metadata, and image retrieval. The cataloging and management process of the department’s assets is a collaborative process, as all users will be implementing it into their daily workflow.

Images in DAMS are for use and distribution by University of Texas at Austin purposes only. Click here for more information on University Communications photography.

Access to Portfolio is restricted to University employees. To request access, please complete this form.


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Styles to Follow

When photographing people:

When photographing people


  • Portraits create opportunities to showcase the personality of both the individual and the university. This can be conveyed emotionally, intellectually or physically.

  • Photographing during candid moments, when the subject is laughing, thinking or simply reflecting, can create a more revealing and engaging portrait.

  • Putting subjects in environments that pertain to their areas of interest will reveal more interesting details about them, whether in a lab, library, classroom or a particularly interesting office.

  • Showing people engaged in their work, rather than looking at the camera, will allow them to relax, as well as provide the viewer with a glimpse into university life. If possible, show the results of their work and how “what starts here changes the world.”

  • Using dynamic camera angles and unusual compositions (with your subject to the right or the left of the frame, for example) will create more visual interest and create a sense of energy and excitement.

  • Employing shallow depth-of-field will make your more portraits more pleasing and professional. The effect will be a very sharp subject against an out-of-focus background.

  • When photographing students, encourage them to wear burnt orange or other UT branded attire.


When photographing campus:

When photographing campus

Our beautiful campus has a personality, too. It, too, can be a way to reinforce our brand by showing its character and the interesting people who populate it.

  • Use dynamic lines, interesting angles and saturated colors.
  • Show things that make our university unique, such as the graceful interior of the Life Sciences Library or the futuristic VisLab as well as iconic structures such as the Tower and Littlefield Fountain.
  • Show intimate study areas as well as our lovely outdoor spaces, such as the South Mall or the turtle pond.
  • Let gatherings of people convey a sense of the excitement of being part of this vibrant university, whether they are in outdoor coffee shops or engaged in conversation on the steps of the Main Building.


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Technical Guidelines

Shoot at the highest resolution that your camera will allow (at least 300 dpi). Shoot both RAW files and JPEGs when possible. Photography should be kept simple with a singular focus so as not to distract from the design. Make sure you use adequate lighting, and scale photos proportionally. Avoid clip art.


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Photo Tips

Always bring up the subject of attire when confirming a photo shoot time. Try saying something along the lines of: 

"For attire, I recommend ..." and "Please let me know if you need more wardrobe advice. Feel free to bring an extra shirt or jacket if you are unsure, and we can see which one works better.”

  • Solids are best. If photographing more than one person, neutrals are better. Otherwise, subjects should wear the colors that they look best in.
  • Avoid white, unless it is worn as a garment under a jacket or sweater.
  • Avoid large patterns, logos and writing, except for UT wear when it is appropriate for a particular shoot.
  • Sleeves that are 3/4-length or full-length work best for both men and women. Avoid sleeveless and short-sleeved garments.
  • It's always safe to err slightly on the side of more formal than what the subject considers to his or her normal work attire. This will depend on the individual, of course, and the context in which he or she is being photographed.


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Talent Release Form

Be sure to have subjects in a photoshoot complete and sign a Talent Release Form. This form should be retained on file by the department that will utilize the images. 


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