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Aspirational imagery, inspirational perspectives and thought-provoking subject matter all executed at a high level.

Willamette University photography plays a vital role in the elevation of our brand. It must satisfy two major objectives simultaneously. First, it must deliver on a defined strategy, message and concept. Secondly, it must be compelling enough to draw the viewer in and evoke an emotional response.

Therefore, all photography must be of the highest quality, worthy of our institution and representative of our brand position as an innovative leader. This requires flexibility and a range of techniques in how we express our brand to different audiences.


The university photography style should inspire our audience to imagine themselves ad part of an adventurous, intellectual and collaborative community.

The imagery we use to convey our brand can be broken down into four main subject matters:

  • Campus Life

    A Student Point of View

    The most common image we capture is for use in materials targeting prospective students and their parents. The university style is to shoot these from a student’s perspective. For example, if we photograph a student studying in the library, we would capture that image as if we were sitting just down the table from them. For a group of students, we should, whenever possible, shoot it as if we were a student within that group. This student point of view, or POV, is a departure from what is commonly used at other universities and sets us apart in both style and substance.

    Regardless of the situation or environment, these shots should feel active and genuine. Therefore, subjects should never be looking directly into the camera. We are telling a story while making the viewer feel as if they are part of that story. People should always play a defining role in our subject matter, and this subject matter should always reflect the energy and diversity of our campus community.

    two photos of students in the hearth studying


    Portraits of students, faculty and other individuals should be strong, bold and genuine. Here the subject should be engaged with the camera and exude an air of confidence, intent and purpose. Whenever possible, photographs should be taken in an environment that is appropriate to the subject using a shallow depth of field. The subject should be centered within the frame to bring balance and symmetry to the image.

    Three photos of students
  • Architecture and Grounds

    Our Salem and Portland campuses afford us a dynamic setting for creative and innovative photography. Bold perspectives and lighting can add a new dimension to old subject matter such as the clock tower or Waller Hall. Cinematic wide and aerial shots can provide an epic quality on a larger scale.

    Five photos showing architecture and grounds at Willamette University


Artistic, professional photography is central to our brand strategy. Our goal is to provide a clear, consistent, genuine view of life at WU — and at the same time, to surprise and delight. To maximize the impact and authenticity of this perspective, it is important to avoid any photography that is inconsistent with the university’s brand.

Avoid photography that portrays artificial settings or interactions, such as stock photos.

Avoid black and white photography unless using historic images.

Keep it light, airy and natural. Use natural light whenever possible and avoid harsh shadows.

Take care to show a diverse student body, but do not overcompensate. Gender balance should be considered as well. Your subjects should be age appropriate because our target groups can easily spot the subtle differences between a younger first-year student and a graduate student.

Avoid unnatural angles and never rotate the camera to an angle other than 90 degrees. Whenever possible, photos should be taken in both vertical and horizontal orientations.

Be aware of inappropriate clothing. Willamette gear is always encouraged, but don’t overdo it. Avoid other logos on clothing, water bottles and other items.

Willamette University


Waller Hall, First Floor
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.