Inspiring photographs grab the viewer’s attention

Photographs show the emotion behind every story. A strong photo stands out on a crowded web page or social media platform, and inspires the viewer to learn more. Our brand proposition is about our people, who they are and what they are doing to shape the future: our photos must reflect this. Inspirational photos of real people demonstrating a passion for their work or wearing a curious expression will bring our brand to life on any page. UBC photographs should share moments that stay with viewers and inspire them to think, question and learn.

Key Considerations

Key Considerations for Brand Photography

Does it tell a story?

Does the photograph inspire, ignite curiosity or encourage sharing?


Does it show a unique perspective?

Look for an unexpected angle or viewpoint.


Is it unique to UBC?

Capture activities or settings unique to UBC.


Does the image have a central character?

Have a strong focus that draws the viewer in.


Does it feel like a stolen moment?

Capture a natural, authentic moment that is never staged or posed.


Full Guidelines

Full Guidelines

Full Photography Guidelines

Download the complete best practice guide PDF for full details on brand photography at UBC.

Project Planning Tips

Project Planning Tips

Think strategically. Here’s what we think works best.

  1. Before taking a photograph or hiring a photographer, think about who your audience will be.
  2. Create a strategy that will communicate your idea most effectively and engage your chosen audience.
  3. Contact Paul Joseph, UBC’s official photographer, to ensure your important photography is on-brand and telling the story you need to convey.
  4. Research existing photos (news or stock) that may have a similar subject matter and might provide you with new ideas.
  1. If you are capturing a photograph for your social media or an event for your department, be sure to think about what it is you feel will best tell your story. Is it a person? A building? Or an event? Once you have an idea, start thinking about lighting, angles, and composition.
  2. Focus on the actions of people and try to capture them in their element.
  3. Frame your photos so they have a sense of space and openness if you are including the environment for context.
  4. Don’t be afraid to try a variety of shots using different lenses or focal lengths.
  5. Consider your layout and keeping some dead space in the photography for copy.
  1. Go through all of your images and narrow down your final selection(s).
  2. Edit your final pick(s) as necessary. A simple colour correction and cropping can dramatically change the original capture.
  3. Seek others’ opinion on which images you’ve captured that best tell your story. If accessible, get feedback from professional photographers, designers, and art directors.
  4. Learn from your mistakes. Take a look at the images you feel didn’t quite work and why. This will help you avoid making the same mistakes and/or try something different which will help you improve your photography.



Photo Library

Our photo library is an invaluable resource with hundreds of on-brand photographs available for non-commercial use on our Flickr site.

Guidelines for Respectful Image Usage

This guide offers practices and considerations to assist content producers working with images. It also addresses the appropriate use of Indigenous imagery.

Consent and Planning Documents

Taking pictures of people? This consent to use of image form needs to be completed by all involved before the image can be published. More information about the process can be found in the FAQs.



Opportunities to gain new insights and communication skills, whether you are a new or seasoned communicator, are always available to you at UBC.

Upcoming Workshops

The Elements of Effective Photographs

LinkedIn Learning courses are free for UBC faculty & staff. Sign up for free access here.
The course explores compositional elements that guide a viewer's eye, including the rule of thirds; leading lines, patterns, and curves; and depth of field. You will learn how to work with the natural light, and how to create simple lighting. Finally, you will gain tips on how to capture the essence or emotion of a subject or scene.

Contact Photographer

Contact Our Photographer

Brand and Marketing offers the UBC community high quality photography at very reasonable rates, including the work of award-winning university photographer Paul Joseph.

For booking details, advice, and current rates and fees, please download the Photography Booking Guide.

For further inquiries or to book a photography session, please contact us.