Planning New Photos

Find the moments that will connect with audiences and bring your story to life.

Our guidelines will help you plan a successful photo strategy, including who, what, where – and even what to wear. What does it all boil down to? Photos that show the real people and places of the School of Medicine

In this guide:

What to capture

Realistic photos showing actual team members in action will tell your story best. Find ways to represent the school’s supportive community, our original research, and our care for patients. Show people working together to solve problems, moments of teaching and learning, and images that show your group’s – and the WashU community’s – unique character.

Plan photos that:

  • Embody the School of Medicine
    mission and brand
  • Convey a sense of place
  • Show people in real settings
  • Portray vital activities
  • Capture significant moments
  • Appear candid (not posed)

Compose photos that:

  • Apply natural-looking light
  • Show different vantages
  • Have a focal point
  • Follow the ‘rule of thirds’

Tell your group’s story through moments that show people and community in action.

Who to photograph

  • People on your team
    Photography is a powerful way to help audiences identify a personal connection with the members of your team.
  • People you serve
    If your group works with students, patients or members of the community, try to represent these groups in your photos as well. People not affiliated with Washington University, such as patients, will need to sign a media release form (see green box below).
  • Diverse representations of your community
    Choose people who are representative of your group and the people you serve. Avoid homogeneity with regards to age, gender identity, race, ethnicity, ability and other visibly apparent traits. Your photos should show that your group is welcoming and inclusive.

Release forms for patients and general public

Members of the general public, including patients and models posing as patients, must sign a media release form. Releases are not required for Washington University students, faculty or staff. See media consent guidelines and forms » 

Where to photograph

Scout a location prior to the photoshoot. Look for locations with the following characteristics:

  • Typical setting
    Look for places that capture the reality of your group and its interactions. If your work space won’t photograph well, consider the other places where you meet, visit and interact.
  • Ample space
    Find a setting that gives the photographer room to try different vantages, including wide shots.
  • Natural light
    Remember, this can vary by time of day and year.
  • Clean and uncluttered
    You might clear an area but keep some items that provide authenticity as well as interesting shapes or color.
  • High-tech or innovative equipment/technologies
    Medical equipment can be intimidating for clinical audiences, but it can be compelling for research- or education-focused audiences.
  • Outdoor spaces with greenery
    Outside shots can be particularly suitable for portraits or team photos.

What to expect the day of your photoshoot

See our guide for the day of your photo session (pdf) »

What to wear

Please share these guidelines with everyone who will be in your photos.

  • Clinics: Wear clinical attire
    • Faculty members wear white coat with Washington University Physicians patch
    • Residents, fellows and students wear white coat, if applicable
  • Labs: Wear lab coat and have all required PPE* available (safety glasses, gloves, etc.)
  • Bright, solid colors look good on camera
  • Avoid busy prints, all-black, or all-white
  • Don’t wear large/visible logos
  • Don’t wear apparel for other universities (Washington University apparel, on the other hand, is totally acceptable!)
  • Most importantly, DO wear something you’ll be comfortable in

*PPE advisory for photos taken in labs: Expectations outlined by the Office of the Provost and Environmental Health and Safety require that photographs of personnel taken in labs include personal protective equipment (PPE), such as safety glasses, gloves and lab coats.
See PPE requirements »


HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA)

HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA)

To protect our patients, vendors with access to PHI must sign and comply with the BAA.

Media Release/Consent Forms: Photos, Video, Audio & Testimonials

Media Release/Consent Forms: Photos, Video, Audio & Testimonials

Showing or quoting non-WashU people gives your message perspective. Here’s how to get permission.