Photography Standards

Photography is a critical component of Kalamazoo College publications and marketing material. The images chosen to portray the College are a window to life at the College and who we are as students, faculty and staff.  

Photo Libraries

Current Photography

The College offers an online gallery of photographs taken by professional photographers. You may reach out to the Office of College Marketing and Communication (CMAC) through to talk with staff about the types of images you are seeking for your project and request access to the gallery.  

Please note that the photos in the gallery are often raw images. If you see an image you would like to use, CMAC can assist with enhancing the photo in a variety of ways, such as brightening skies, touching up buildings, photoshopping logos out of shirts, cropping, etc. 

Examples of CMAC photo editing



  • Before: zoomed out photo. After: zoomed in photo

Historical Photography

The College’s archive of historical photographs is located on the third floor of Upjohn Library Commons. Contact the College archivist to set up a viewing appointment. Most historical images may be checked out. Many photographs are also available digitally in the College’s online database

Images from the Web 

A good rule of thumb is to not download, save or copy images from websites to use in projects. Generally, web images are not licensed for College use and downloading them may be a copyright violation. CMAC has access to licensed stock images and can assist you if you have a specific need for a project. There are also online sources of copyright-free and creative-commons licensed photography; BrandK can help direct you to an appropriate resource.

New Photography Requests

When planning a new photoshoot, you are encouraged to take advantage of CMAC’s existing relationships with local photographers. By partnering with CMAC we can help ensure proper usage rights while finding a photographer who is best suited for your project.

Generally, the department requesting photography will be responsible for cost; if the request has opportunity for broader marketing use by the College, CMAC may cover the cost for the session.

If you do choose to hire an external photographer without CMAC’s guidance, we recommend you include universal usage rights for all of Kalamazoo College when negotiating fees and permissions. This will give you the option to use the photography on your department/program website, for news stories about your department or for other purposes if you choose to do so at a later time. Specifically, ask the photographer to enter in the following language into the metadata of the image files and/or in their invoices:

Photography usage includes usage for Kalamazoo College (K) websites, K social media, news media distribution, K-produced digital and print marketing collateral (brochures, pamphlets, flyers, and other materials), K-produced digital and print marketing signage including banners and posters that carry no placement costs. Excludes usage for paid ad placements in any form including print publications, online ads and outdoor/indoor media.

Selecting and Using Photography


Kalamazoo College is a dynamic place with a diverse population. Select images that accurately represent the College’s energy, diversity (including race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, body type, etc.) and exceptional campus. One of our largest audiences is prospective students; for students to see themselves at K, our materials must contain images of students like them. At the same time, it’s important to not over-represent students who are under-represented on campus. Avoid images that may inadvertently perpetuate stereotypes.


High-quality images reflect the high standard of excellence promised by the Brand message. Images selected for print publications should be of the highest possible resolution. Images selected for the web should be carefully compressed to reduce file size as much as possible without compromising quality.  Image proportions should be retained during cropping and scaling, avoiding distortions. The BrandK team can show you how to optimize your files for your particular use.

Universal Accessibility

The use of imagery in our publications should support our core values of justice, equity, and opportunity for all. The use of captions and alternative text (on the web) provide context to the visually and cognitively impaired.  When placing text over imagery, optimize readability by avoiding busy, high-contrast background photos. On the web, avoid rasterized text in images, which cannot be read by assistive technology and does not scale on small devices.