Still photography and videography are two powerful visual mediums. The University’s brand imagery is engaging, emotional, colorful, and provides a vision of who we are and what we do at UNC Greensboro.
The University’s brand still photography requires an engaging subject whose personality, story, actions, and drive are captured in high-key lighting, with a white or bright background, a full range of framing, vertical and horizontal. Our brand photography is defined as an image that does not portray the whole picture, yet the viewer understands what is being communicated and the action occurring or the composition. This is central to the ideas embedded in “Find your way here” – implying the concepts of discovery, of placing oneself in a story, of exploring to see more of UNCG. Implementing this style of brand still photography will connect the University’s units visually and further raise awareness of the institution as a whole. Consistency amplifies our impact. We want people to see a style that is distinctive, so they notice UNCG more and more.
Not all photography is brand photography. For example, we want to use best practice documentary photography to see the smiling faces of the honorees at awards ceremonies, students painting the ‘rawk’, cheering at a basketball game, in magazine and web photojournalism, or for social media applications. Where possible in these situations, use a high-key, emotional, and colorful approach that enables us to carry the brand to everyday occurrences on campus while also preserving documentary style photography. When possible, consider getting closer to your subjects, using unique angles, and being playful with your imagery. Don’t be afraid to have some personality and have some fun.
Brand videography requires bright visuals with engaging action, of both the camera and the subject. Brand videography will be used to communicate individual stories aligned with the brand platform and positioning statement. Branded opening and closing slides for videography are available for unit use.
CAMPUS PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDELINES
In general, releases should be obtained or signage displayed when the decision is made to take a photograph or videotape identifiable individuals in public spaces even though there is a minimal expectation of privacy in such spaces. Examples of public spaces at UNCG are sporting events, Commencement, and non-sensitive invited events. The interior of a dorm room would generally not be considered a public space.
Even in newsworthy photographs, care should be used in describing those depicted to avoid creating a misleading impression. For example, the caption of a photograph of a crowd at a demonstration should probably not describe those depicted as “participants” in the demonstration.
PERMISSION AND RELEASES
The procedure for the UNCG Photo Release Process requires that most identifiable subjects in photos/videos used in UNCG publications, electronic, print or otherwise, sign a Photo Release Form giving the University permission to use their likeness.
Per the procedure for UNCG Photo Release Process, the University department/unit that requests the photos/videos is responsible for obtaining signed Photo Release Forms from all subjects in the photo. Electronic or printed photo release forms are acceptable. The best approach will usually depend on circumstances, context, practicability, and risk.
Commercial Use. Because liability risks tend to be higher with commercial use, it is even more important to obtain written consent when photos or videos may be used to promote a product or service.
Current UNCG Students: It is the responsibility of the student to inform the photographer(s) or videographer(s) if they do not want their picture/video taken.
Children and Other Special Circumstances. It is always important to use professional judgment in taking and using photographs and videos. If the image captured is of a child, it is very important to obtain a written release from a parent/guardian, particularly if the photo is of only a few children (as compared to a very large crowd), and particularly if the photo will be displayed or published broadly. Use judgment and also obtain releases with other vulnerable populations. Further, obtain releases in highly sensitive contexts, such as for example events where political, identity, or health concerns are central.
Sensitive Topic Large Gatherings. In most cases, attendance at large gatherings is not controversial and privacy interests are low. In such cases, the UNCG Photo Release Process offers signage to alert the crowd that photography/filming is occurring in that area. These signs should be posted as all entrances to the event.
TEACHING, CLASSROOMS, AND STUDENTS
Class recordings may raise concerns about freedom of expression, academic freedom, copyright and privacy, and FERPA. All recordings of classes must be in compliance with School and University policies. If it is permissible to tape such lectures, the following guidance applies:
- Class Recordings with Limited (Class) Availability. In cases where the videos are made accessible only to the students and instructors in the class and academic administrators, students should be informed of the video recording in advance and the UNCG Photo Release Process adhered to.
- Public Posting of Class Recordings. If photos or videos will be posted publicly, or otherwise made available beyond the individuals in the class and academic administrators, Schools must inform students of that fact and should make available areas of the classroom where students who do not wish to appear will not be photographed or video recorded. Photo releases should be obtained from each student that agrees to be photographed/videotaped. Pursuant to FERPA (federal law protecting student privacy), in this situation, Schools may not condition enrollment in the class on the student’s agreement that photos or video recordings of them may be publicly distributed.
Students in other Environments. As described above, even outside of the classroom, if a student or students are identifiable in a photograph or video, FERPA does apply and require that permission be obtained before the photo or video is taken.
EMPLOYMENT USES, FACULTY, AND STAFF
Communications officials often take photographs of faculty and staff in their work settings. While there is greater latitude to photograph UNCG personnel than students in many contexts, it is still important to be respectful of privacy concerns. Inform faculty and staff that photos or videos are being taken and ensure there are no significant, unaddressed privacy concerns. Further, get permission before using images of identifiable employees for explicit marketing or expressly commercial purposes.
In keeping with the Standards for the Use of Social Media at UNCG, it is important to recognize that when conducting UNCG business – online and off – one must comply with UNCG policies. Because of the powerful ability of social media to broadcast information worldwide, make sure to protect all confidential personal information – only posting what you have permission to post by law, policy, or explicitly by the person(s) in the photo.
COPYRIGHT AND DIGITAL PHOTO MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
In addition to privacy issues relating to the individuals depicted in photos and videos, communications professionals need to be mindful of potential copyright issues related to the images. Typically, UNCG owns the copyright in photos and videos taken by UNCG employees as part of their employment duties. Absent a written agreement, however, UNCG may not own the copyright to images taken by independent photographers who have been hired to shoot events or campus scenes. Payment to the photographer is not sufficient in itself to convey all rights to UNCG. Without a written contract. UNCG’s use rights may be limited to those purposes UNCG can prove were specifically communicated at the time the photographer was hired. For this reason, it is important to have a written agreement with the contractor that states what ownership or use rights UNCG will have with respect to the photos or videos produced by the contractor and what rights, if any, the contractor will retain. The University established a Professional Service Agreement for contractors in 2021.
Because digital photos and videos may readily be used repeatedly and for different purposes, it is important at the time the material is acquired to understand and document UNCG’s rights regarding the photos and videos themselves and the nature and scope of releases or permissions from those depicted. It is a best practice to have a digital photo management system, such as UNCG’s Merlin system maintained by UC, that records at a minimum:
- Basic information about the photo
- Any restrictions on publication
- Any consents or permissions obtained.