Photography Guide

BYU-Idaho has always been a uniquely student-focused institution. To help convey this message, photos of bright, energetic students play a major role in the university's promotional imagery. Promotional photos should exude optimism and warmth. They should also be beautiful, professional, collegiate, and spiritually appropriate.

Student-Focused Photos

Successful student-focused promotional photos illustrate the educational process by showing students engaged in realistic collegiate settings.

Some examples include:

Showing BYU-Idaho students acting for themselves rather than being acted upon.

Illustrating that participants are fully engaged in academic or student-life scenarios.

Providing enough landmarks to distinguish that the models are on the BYU-Idaho campus, especially when shooting outdoors.

Portraying BYU-Idaho's active faculty presence.

Campus-Focused Photos

Use beautiful photos of the campus grounds and buildings to connect audiences with and promote the university.

Photographing building architecture can be very effective, as can photos set in other gathering places, such as the Ricks Gardens, Spori Quad, and Amphitheatre Quad. Including some student traffic in photography adds life and vitality.

Off-Campus Photography

When shooting photos off campus, follow the same principles as on-campus photography. While the subject matter may be different, we want to maintain the same feeling.

Some examples of off-campus photography may be:

  • Expeditions
  • Internships
  • Online students

Model Guidelines

Seek out models who:

  • Adhere to the Honor Code in their personal life.
  • Exemplify the BYU-Idaho dress and grooming standards.
  • Highlight the diversity of our student body.

Each model must fill out a model release form.

How to Obtain or Produce Branded Photography

Custom Photos: University Relations Photo team at (208) 496-2080

Existing Campus Photography:

View our university photo gallery at Photos may be used for university-related projects. To request access email

Stock Images: Use the principles found in this style guide to effectively choose images. Be sure to purchase the right photo permissions and copyright licenses for the application of the images you choose. Whenever you can, use imagery provided by the university. If stock imagery is necessary, use it with discretion.

Do-it-yourself: Use the principles found in this style guide when producing your own work.

Whether your own original photography or the work of someone else, photos of campus may not be used for commercial gain.

Using images from the Internet without permission from the artist is not permitted.

To use photos of LDS temples, seek permission from the Church's Intellectual Property Office. If the temple is not the main focus of the image, permission is not required.

To use photos of or quotes by LDS General Authorities, first seek permission from the Church’s Intellectual Property Office.

Approved photos of BYU-Idaho's presidents, vice-presidents, and their families can be obtained through University Relations.

Photoshoot Tips


Clothing should be modest in nature and should be in accordance with the “For Strength of Youth” modesty standards. Additionally:

  • Pants and jeans should be well cared for.
  • Make sure shoes are not overly casual or worn out.
  • Avoid logos or shirts with graphics.
  • Colorful bracelets are distracting.
  • Complex patterns should be avoided.

Faces & Hair

Bring face powder to help avoid shiny skin.

Men should shave an hour or two prior to a photoshoot.

Watch for fly-away hair.

Composition Design Tips

To create visual interest, avoid placing the subject directly in the center.



Leave empty space for elements that will be included in the final piece —mastheads, text, etc.

Remember your format. Web banners will usually require a horizontal shot while posters will often need a vertical shot.

Most lenses distort a photo along the edges, so avoid including people or focal points in these areas.

Avoid blank walls when shooting indoors, unless the design calls for a vignette. At the same time, avoid walls that are too distracting.

Outdoor Lighting Tips

Avoid shooting in the middle of the day. The high sun causes models to squint and have “raccoon eyes.” However, if it’s unavoidable, use a fill light or reflector and shoot in the shade.

Shoot subjects with the sun behind or to the side.

Model Posing

Models should be alert, attentive, and have a “light in their countenances."

Avoid dull photos of students staring or pointing at computer, tablet or mobile screens. Instead let their attention be on the camera or another person.

Be aware of your models’ surroundings. Avoid background elements that interact with the student negatively and cause strange tangents, such as trees appearing to grow out of people’s heads.

Students who are “aware of the camera” sometimes appear stiff, robotic or unnatural. Loosen them up by telling jokes, engaging them in conversation or allowing some physical movement in the shoot (for instance, ask them to walk toward the camera).

Good use of models can be found below

Model Photoshopping

Good / Bad

Do not completely remove physical characteristics. For example, you may minimize an unsightly mole, but don’t completely remove it. You may subtly lighten teeth, lessen the sheen of a face, or lightly smooth distracting scars.

Be mindful of unintentional color cast on skin tones. For example, if a light-skinned person has their photo taken in a green grass field, their skin may look slightly green. Feel free to correct this.

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