Use of Photography & Video

Throughout our website and across our print literature, the School makes use of photography images and video footage. In most cases these images have been captured by School staff or by commissioned photographers.  In some instances, photographs have been provided by our students or third parties who have given their consent to their use.

Relevant, up-to-date imagery, sized and used appropriately, is vital for online and print communications. Reproduction of poor photography is detrimental to the UCD brand and the School’s reputation.  This page is intended as an introductory “how-to” guide, providing some basic information on the sourcing and archiving of photography for communications purposes. It does not cover press photography.

We receive very positive feedback from visitors to our site on the use of these images.  We are indebted to our students, staff and supporters who have given their permission for us to use their images.

Taking Your Own Photographs

If you are taking photographs, there are several points to note:

  • Get permission from the people in the photos. 
  • A Model Release is always necessary for photographs of people aged under-18 and it is good practice in general.  Release forms for u-18’s must be countersigned by parents/guardians.
  • Make a note of the names of everyone in the photo, in the sequence they feature, when taking the photo. It is difficult and time-consuming to do this afterwards. Photos without names and captions are redundant. 
  • Take images at the highest quality, and largest file-size setting your camera allows.
  • Some key points on taking photos at events:Remove name badges, drinks glasses, and other distractions from the image.
    • Ensure line-up takes account of people’s height etc, in order to ensure a balanced photograph.
    • Be aware of backdrop to the photograph – try ensure a neutral backdrop that does not catch the eye.
    • Weather-permitting, it is always preferable to take group photos outdoors.Do not take photographs directly into the light – an angle to the light is always preferable and prevents your subjects from squinting.
    • Props (books, models etc) can sometimes be used to enliven a photograph, if used appropriately. 
    • When taking group photos, be sure to vary the line-up and do not include one individual in every photo.
    • With an event it is preferable to take the photos before the activity begins. This may require some staging of award presentation, etc.
    • For some purposes (e.g. UCD Today) groups of three/four people are optimum.
    • Take multiple photos of the same line-up, to ensure best possible representation of individuals.
    • If an individual is receiving an award, be sure to take portrait of the individual on their own, with their award. 
    • Once you have secured group line-ups, it may be worth considering taking some supplementary action shots.



Using Your Own Images

Book covers, graphs, props models or other discipline-relevant imagery may be used effectively to supplement photography, or where photos are not available. Note sources and give a credit if that is part of the condition on which images are provided. e.g. UCD Images of Research.

The School has created a ‘Flickr’ account (UCD Medicine) which contains over 5,000 images from various events across the School over the past three years.  The purpose of this collection is to make photographs available to participants for their own personal use. 

All rights are reserved by the School however we generally permit photographs to be used under creative content licence with attribution. 

Commissioning Photography

The School has successfully used a number of different photographers and videographers and can provide details of same.  The price and quality can vary quite considerably so it is useful to discuss your photography needs with the School Communication Office.  Professional photographers are professionals so it is unreasonable to think that they should work for nothing. It is very unlikely that your event/opportunity has intrinsic value to them or will help them ‘build their portfolio’.  

It is important to provide your photographer with a clear brief of what you are trying to achieve and how the photos will be used.  Random documentary shots are rarely of much value.

The UCD Communications Office has contact details of professional photographic agencies that can be commissioned to photograph important events.  All costs incurred will be charged directly to the local unit by the agency. The Office can also provide advice on the commissioning and costing of photography.

Purchasing Online Images

There are many image-banks online selling stock photography. Be aware that these images are very heavily used. Costs range from “Exclusive Rights” to “Royalty Free”. A cost-benefit analysis of rights options is useful in advance of purchasing an image. Heavily-used images may lose their impact over time. There may also be an inferred association in the mind of a reader if they recognise a piece of stock photography that was also used by another organisation. Choose images carefully. Some caveats around the use of image banks:

  • When representing UCD and its activity, always use images of real UCD buildings, facilities, staff and students
  • Do not use images from Google or take images from other websites without the explicit permission from the owners – images online are not copyright-free. Check with the copyright owner before using in UCD materials.

Video Footage

Owing to the size of video files, the desire to embed these easily in our website and our wish to publicise good quality video collateral, we have created a YouTube Channel (UCD Medicine) which currently has approximately 100 video, has almost 2,000 subscribers and has had over 260,000 views.

Video is a very effective way of conveying complex information without having to resort to large volumes of narrative.  It is also a very easy way to confuse!  In our experience, clear storyboarding in advance of the video recording makes for easier edits.  Professional edits make for good quality video. 

Good composition, lighting and focus are essential.  Avoid cluttered or distracting backgrounds.  Remember the rule of thirds.  Avoid constant or jerky panning unless the intention is to demonstrate motion sickness!

When capturing interview on video, it is best to have the person being recorded look slightly to the left or the right of the camera rather than straight down the barrel.  Even if you only have a single video camera, it may be helpful to record the interviewer asking the questions (even if this is done after the actual interview) to help make editing more interesting.  Good quality establishing shots help hold the viewers’ attention and can be intersperse with video pieces-to-camera whilst maintaining the interviewee’s dialogue.  If you are capturing lots of documentary footage, avoid ‘crossing the line’!

Archiving Images

You (and your colleagues) need to be able to retrieve the images in future, identify their subject matter and image date. Software is available to manage digital assets, and many websites offer photo storage options. One basic method of preserving a photographic archive is to agree and manage a simple local photo bank on the Shared Drive.

The School maintains a single image dataset on the Shared Drive (Communications sub-directory of the School Office folder). No other collections should be created as it become extremely difficult to manage photos efficiently and next to impossible to remove a photograph from circulation if it is copied into multiple local directories.

Photography/Multimedia Consent Form

It is important to us that the images which we use are appropriately consented.  Any members of staff or students capturing photography or video footage should contact the school's communications office for guidance regarding approved suppliers and consent procedure(s) etc.

Please use the attached Consent Form and forward to the School Communications Office along with the relevant images.

School Photography Consent Form

You are reminded that the proposed subject is not required to give their consent and that they may withdraw consent at any time.

It is important to the School that individuals' wishes are fully respected and we make every effort to ensure that photography is appropriately used.  We do not sell our photographs and reserve all rights when we share photos with third parties.