The Office of Public Affairs welcomes photos (and video) from the USM Community for use in our stories, both web and print. Here are some tips that to help you create quality images and videos that can be used for public affairs and marketing purposes including on the USM website, the Admissions email newsletter and other needs. These tips coincide with guidelines the Offices of Public Affairs and Marketing and Brand Management use when choosing images. Keep these tips in mind when photographing or filming events with your smartphone or camera. (Note: These tips may not apply in some situations).
- Clear background and scene. Before taking the picture, make sure unsightly items or distractions are physically removed, or position your camera so they will not be seen in the image (find another angle or close up on the subject. Examples include food wrappers, water bottles, "Exit" signs or waste receptacles, vehicles, clutter, etc. View examples of ideal event photos.
- Organic environment. If photographing or filming subjects for interviews or headshots, try to place them in their organic environment, such as an office or laboratory, with clean backgrounds that are still representative of the subject. View examples.
- Horizontal orientation. Hold your smartphone or camera horizontally, or in landscape, when taking the picture. It will produce an image that is similar to how you would view a computer or TV screen. Since most of the uses will be on those types of screens it will make it easier to use without losing quality due to excessive cropping of a vertical image.
- If taking video, video must be oriented horizontally. Vertical video is never OK. If using a smartphone to take video, turn the phone sideways prior to recording. This is especially important when using Facebook Live — switching after beginning the video will make the video appear upside down or sideways to the viewer.
- Subject attire. Avoid taking photos of subjects wearing clothing advertising external brands, such as: clothing companies, names of musicians or bands, sports teams other than Southern Maine Huskies and, especi ally, clothing bearing the name of other colleges or universities.
- In addition, avoid photographing or filming subjects wearing thin stripes or bold, excessive patterns, which do not translate well online and in print. This is especially true for video, as it may become distorted.
- Reduce camera shake. Camera shake often happens in darker, or low-light areas where the camera has to compensate. This can also be due to user movement when holding the camera/smartphone. One way to reduce this is to hold the device closer to your body instead of arms straight out in front of you. Your body will support your arms and offer some stability. Find a stable surface like a table to rest your hand, arm, or the device on while taking the image.
- Live video: If using a live video feature, events being streamed streamed from any official USM social media feed or website should display appropriate or approved content specifically relating to USM. Videos should also be horizontal; turn the phone sideways prior to starting a video. Use a tripod if possible, to further reduce camera shake.
- Zoom with your feet. As you zoom on your smartphone the quality is reduced, so the more you zoom in with the camera, the poorer the quality. Quality is also lost when cropping on the computer. Instead, if possible, physically move your body closer so that the subject fills more of the frame.
- Natural light. Using the light that is available is easier to work with. Also try to position your subject, or scene, in the best light so that it is properly exposed for what you want to show.
- Original photo. The original photo has the most information in it and makes it easier to edit later. Press and print materials require large, sharp images. The Offices of Public Affairs and Marketing and Brand Management utilize photos on the web, for digital newsletters, for printed materials and for sharing with the press. In all cases, requirements are for images to be shared in their original state — the largest format possible, unedited (no cropping, resizing, color filters, etc.).
Sizing Photos. Photos displayed as Featured News and Event sliders must be one of the following file types, larger than 750x510 pixels: jpg, jpeg, png, or gif. This translates to 2.5x1.7 inches, at 72 dpi.
Photos accompanying Public Affairs News Items (stories) must be 500x386 pixels, or 1.67x1.29 inches, at 72 dpi. Most cameras and phones will take photos at sizes large enough to meet the requirements.
- For stories that may be promoted to the Hero Image Slider (top of the USM Homepage), images must be at least 1600 pixels wide with crisp focus.
Photos taken from the web may not be properly sized. Please check the size and format of your photos prior to submission.
- Photo/Video Release Forms: For any photos/videos that will be used for marketing purposes, if they include easily identifiable USM students, faculty, staff and community members (and minors/children in all cases) you should have your subjects to fill out the Photo/Video Testimonial Release Form in order for photos or videos of them to be used for marketing purposes. This includes use on the USM website, and in marketing print and digital materials used to promote the University. Ask your subjects to sign the form before photographing or filming them, if possible, or immediately after.
- As of September 2018, the release form is available as a webform for easy submission.
- For large events (such as Commencement, Convocation, and so on), a sign may be placed in a visible location alerting people that there will be a photographer/videographer capturing the event and their image may be utilized. This allows anyone who does not want their image taken to be aware ahead of time.