You are here


Great photography does more than depict a scene — it communicates a point-of-view.  It provides focus, context and details about who we are and what we do, as well as how we want to be seen in the world.

Photography captures our personality and tone without having to say a word. At its best, it can stop people in their tracks.

Along with our guiding principles for image styles, you can keep the following tips in mind:

Capture authentic experiences

Aim for moments where the subjects are engaged in what is happening and that distinctly showcase true and realistic experiences.


Photo sample 1 - ideal


Photo sample 1 - avoid


There are instances when looking at the camera is important, such as a portrait when we are trying to encourage a connection with the person being profiled

Show our work in context

The places where we create are a part of the story and provide context. Show our work in natural settings.


Photo sample 2 - ideal


Photo sample 2 - avoid


Be candid

Capture moments from a human perspective. The photographer should feel like a participant, not an observer.


Photo sample 3 - ideal


Photo sample 4 - avoid


Use natural light

Take advantage of natural light to ensure the photo feels authentic. Shooting at different times of day can give natural atmospheric effects for visual interest.

Please note: studio lighting can be used to mimic natural light.



Sample photo 5 - ideal


Sample photo 5 - avoid


Show context

Pull back in-focus shots to bring clarity and context to the entire scene. Ensure the photo is recognizably Waterloo as much as possible.

However, there are times where the background isn't relevant to the story and the design will have text overlaid on the image. In those rare cases, select focus can be used.



Sample photo 6 - ideal


Sample photo 6 - avoid


Humanize buildings

Shoot buildings in a way that highlights their architectural features and angles. Where possible and appropriate, feature people in the scene.


Sample photo 7  - ideal


Sample photo 7 - avoid


Be genuine

Shoot moments before a grab-and-grin pose to capture genuine smiles and interactions.


Photo sample 8 - ideal


Photo sample 8 - avoid


Place branding

Feature University of Waterloo and affiliated logos in the background or on apparel to make locations feel distinct to Waterloo.


Sample photo 9 - ideal


Sample photo 9 - avoid



Check out the following examples of photos that are ideal and photos to avoid.