Photographs help pull in your reader whether he or she is looking at brochure or a web page. At Madison College we look for engaging, high quality photographs that go beyond illustration. They set a tone and add to the story.
Taking your own photos is the most cost effect route to go. If your department doesn’t have a digital camera, you may borrow one from Equipment Checkout in Technology Services.
Photos are made up of "dots" whether on a computer screen or a piece of paper. The more dots per inch, the more information is conveyed and the higher the quality of picture.
Dots-per-inch is usually expressed as “dpi” and referred to as the “resolution” of a photograph or image.
Resolution for printing on paper must be high. At least 300dpi is standard for print jobs. In print, lower resolution photos will look blurry. Paper needs more dots for more ink coverage and a better picture.
High resolution poses a problem on the web. The more information in a file (the higher the dpi), the larger the file. And the larger the file, the slower it is to load.
Low resolution—most commonly 72dpi—is best for the web. Lower resolution photos load faster and look fine on the web or other screen devices.
If you aren’t sure where you will use your photo or if you know you want to both print it and post it to the web, you should use take high resolution photos. You can always reduce resolution but you cannot increase it without making the size of your photo smaller.
For more, see the article on photo resolution on About.com.
Photos of people in public settings and events is considered legal and, technically, the college is considered a public setting—HOWEVER, please always ask permission before taking someone’s photograph and respect their wishes if they don’t want to be pictured.
Use the handy permission form (PDF) to get written permission. This avoids any problems later, and it gives you contact information for your subject. For staff and faculty, a verbal “aok” is fine.
Note: Use your judgment when using students' photos on the web. If a student's name or last name is not necessary, don't include it.
Photos are available from a variety of resources.
Madison College images available on Flickr. Madison Area Technical College has a space on Flickr known as its "photostream." The Marketing Department has uploaded several high quality photos for use with our project templates or in other college projects. To download photos in Flickr:
Buying stock photography. You can purchase photographs online from a stock photo company. These companies offer huge searchable databases of high quality photographs. Set up an account, make your purchase and download your selection. Be aware that you could pay anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars for images. iStockphoto offers high quality images at reasonable rates, and there are many other similar companies.
Hiring a photographer. Top quality photography comes at a price, but it can save you time and ensure a beautiful outcome for your project. Photographers can run you $100-150 an hour and up. While we don’t make endorsements, we do have a short list of local photographers who have done top quality work for the college.
Using Creative Commons. Photography from both professional and amateur photographers is available through Creative Commons licensing on Flickr. An alternative to "all rights reserved" copyright, under certain conditions a Creative Commons license allows creators to share their work more freely with others in exchange for attribution. Most ask only that you attribute the photograph to the photographer and that you don't use it to make money.
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