Color Photography

Filed under Photography

Styles to Follow

Photography that appears in any NC State materials and Web communications should have a modern look, simple content and interesting composition. Color should be bright with adequate contrast (avoid dull or muted color with low contrast). Whenever possible, use active imagery with visual energy and flow (bold, simple images, active composition, diagonal lines, etc.).photo-color1

All photography that will be printed should be 300 dpi at the actual size it will be displayed. Increasing the scale of a photo reduces its resolution, so this should be avoided. For quality control, print the photo at actual size to make sure it is not pixelated.

Professional photography should be used whenever possible, particularly for external communications such as Web sites, advertising and promotional materials. For internal communications, the best resources are our photo databases at If that doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you may need to purchase stock photography. Or if you need to cover an event and professional photography is not an option, an amateur photo can be used. Stock and amateur photos should still follow the same style guidelines.

Styles to Avoid

Photography less than 300 dpi at actual printed size should not be used. Photography should be kept simple with a singular focus so as not to distract from the design. Images with low or bad lighting should not be used and photography should not be scaled disproportionately. Clip art should never be used.


Photographs from the NC State University Creative Services photo database may be used by faculty, staff and students to promote the university. Images can be used for print, video, Web, Power Point, and/or HTML emails as long they adhere to NC State Brand Book guidelines. In order to access the database and download high resolution digital files you must enter a valid Unity ID.

All photos in this database are copyright protected and may not be used for commercial purposes, personal web sites, social networking sites or to sell products. Printing and/or selling of the images from this database is strictly prohibited. The sharing of digital files with anyone outside of campus (not including external vendors) is also strictly prohibited.

External graphic designers, or other media production vendors, may use the photo database for university projects, but they cannot use any images outside of university marketing and the specific project they are hired for. Please make sure all outside vendors are aware of the rules regarding usage and the university’s copyright ownership.

Editorial requests for images should be directed to Creative Services or News Services. For editorial use, all Communication Services photos must be credited: “Photo by (Photographer), NC State University Communication Services.” No photo credit is required for marketing, web or other non-editorial materials. If you would like to use images beyond that of marketing the university, please contact Communication Services at or 919.513.3110 to request permission.