Imagery should capture UCLA’s unique personality, conveying warmth, energy and the feeling that anything is possible. To that end, photos and videos should feel bright and inspirational, with light playing a central role. The sky and the sun represent the brand’s themes as well as the characteristic weather, light and location of campus. Natural light is essential, and plentiful sunshine, natural washouts and sun flares are welcome.
The sky plays a key role in UCLA’s imagery — it conveys a feeling of possibility and opportunity. When taking photos of campus and Los Angeles, keep as much sky present in the photo as possible. Photos may also be taken from directly below to create dramatic crops of campus and Los Angeles, but this should be used sparingly. Nighttime imagery should be kept to a minimum, but when necessary, lights (city lights, street lights, etc.) should be prominent.
Images of undergraduates should be captured in a photojournalistic style, capturing natural smiles and real interactions. Imagery will vary depending on audience, but in general, undergraduate images should take on a more youthful and vibrant style — aspirational, boundless and open to what’s possible. When shooting indoors, the subject should be well lit, and always avoid using a heavy flash.
For professional or institutional audiences, photos and videos should feel bold and bright, but take on a more sophisticated style. Staged portraiture should feel refined and graceful, not aggressive or provocative. Sun and natural light should feel present at all times, but not as directly as in undergraduate images.
The use of black and white and historical photos — whether it’s alumni, campus or key moments in UCLA history — is encouraged. Obviously, different guidelines apply to the use images than contemporary images. Whether an image dates back to 1919 or 1979, embrace the visual look and feel of the era. UCLA has accomplished a lot in our first 100 years, and these images help provide a sense of our rich history.
Do not focus too heavily on buildings.
Do not crop an image so severely that the subject and emotion are compromised.
Do not use colorizing or other dramatic filters.
Do not use flash photography to supplement or replace natural light.
Do not stage portraits in a studio. Capture your subject in his or her natural surroundings.
Do not use overly staged photography.
The UCLA Image Library is available for marketing, communications and development professionals across campus. Once you’ve registered, you may download any images that you wish, but be sure to check the “Rights/Usage” information. Images are for business use only.
ASUCLA Photography is also an extensive resource for historical photos.
If you hire an outside photographer or videographer, you need to work with purchasing to ensure the individual has appropriate liability insurance. You should engage the photographer on a work-for-hire basis, or obtain a written agreement that UCLA will have unlimited usage rights to the photography or videography.
Image alt text (alternative text) is used within HTML code to describe the appearance and function of an image on a web page. Alt text is a central principle of web accessibility. Visually impaired people using screen readers read alt text to better understand the image, and it also provides context to search engines, helping them to index an image properly. When writing alt text, describe the image as specifically as possible, but keep it short — the most popular screen readers cut off alt text at around 125 characters.