Updated: April 15 2015

Note: The “Boundless” theme should resonate through all aspects of the brand, especially photography. An easy way to express this is by assigning a broad “Boundless” ideal to each category: 

Setting: Boundless Landscape

People: Boundless Experiences

Facilities: Boundless Opportunities

Topical: Boundless Interests

Celebratory: Boundless Possibilities

Historic: Boundless Heritage 

Our photography style is airy and organic, using natural light whenever possible. Defining a sense of place is important within our library — both the Tucson area, and our campus and facilities. Another common element is negative space, which provides room for text to sit directly on a photograph, but also connotes the openness of the West and the myriad opportunities available at UA. 

Our library can be broken down loosely into the following categories: 




Location-based photography helps establish our setting for audiences who are new to UA and reinforces it for those who are familiar. It should represent the campus environment, the city of Tucson, our surroundings, including the Sonoran Desert, and outposts and observatories throughout the state and around the world. 

Campus imagery needs to convey an appropriate level of energy, movement, and excitement and should authentically represent the on-campus experience. Showing large groups of people, especially during times of high activity such as class changes or community events, is a great way to achieve this. 

Tucson imagery should frame the University as an integral and central part of the city. Showing the campus, from afar, in relation to downtown and the mountainous backdrop, is a high priority. 

The landscape outside our walls is a unique feature of the UA experience. It’s important to highlight these surroundings in a positive way, calling attention to the natural beauty of the desert. These images should always feel optimistic — especially through the use of color — and never desolate or lonely. 

In all of these instances, it’s important to include a large amount of sky when framing shots. In addition to being a key component of our Southwestern environment, the sky connotes the boundless possibilities available at the University of Arizona and helps create a sense of scale. 




Campus • Tucson • Sonoran Desert • Various outposts


Energetic • Colorful • Open


Our buildings, labs, studios, and architecture are unique to the University of Arizona. In order to highlight the breadth and sophistication of our facilities, they should play an important role in our photography library. 

Whether it’s the Biosphere, the football stadium, or the dance theatre, each of our facilities has a direct impact to those on campus. These relationships should be accentuated in photographs that show not only the structures, but also the people who use them and the way they are used. 

When shooting facilities without people, their geometry should be featured when framing. A good mix of straight-on, documentary-style images, along with unusual angles that can help lend a sense of place, will help fill out this category of the library. 




Buildings • Labs • Studios • Architecture


Geometric • Documentary • Sophisticated


A large part of the culture at the University centers on celebration: celebration of accomplishments, of relationships, and of community. To capture the energy and feeling inherent in this idea, we have a category of photography focusing on abstractly celebratory images, such as fireworks. 

These images should focus on the impact — the impression of the fireworks — rather than the fireworks themselves. It is especially important, when building this portion of the library, that fireworks images should be unique, and not something that could be captured by the average hobbyist photographer at an Independence Day event. Therefore, it is recommended that specialized photographers be contracted for celebratory imagery, who are able to work in conjunction with trained and certified pyrotechnics specialists to attain a certain look. 

Ways to capture this feeling are to photograph the moment after the explosion, when smoke is prominent and a few sparks remain. Shooting the fireworks with soft focus can also work, achieving a bokeh effect that exaggerates the explosion of light. 

The soft focus effect can work especially well when an object, facility, or group of people is in focus in the foreground, allowing a celebratory element to complement specific subject matter. 



Fireworks • Explosions • Sparklers • Lights


Soft focus • Professional • Complementary


Just as important as what we’re currently doing is what we’ve already done. The University of Arizona has a long and beautiful history, and we’ve captured images all along the way. Our historical photo library is meant to provide a valuable context to our current day endeavors. 

Most of our historical library is in black and white, which reinforces its archival feel. Some images, however, are in color. These images can be converted to black and white, if desired, or the colors can be digitally faded for a vintage feel. Use your best judgment in treating historical images. The default should be to use images as is.



Achievements • Accolades • Research • Athletics


Black and white • Desaturated color • Documentary

When taking photos of people

When taking photographs or video of people for University of Arizona websites, brochures, posters, or any other collateral material, be sure to always gain consent of everyone who is recognizable in the form of a Multi-media Release. Below you will find University of Arizona media releases in English and Spanish. The first page is for groups in photos, whereas the second page is for a single model.

When adding photos to a website

Adding alternative text for images is the first principle of web accessibility. It is also one of the most difficult to properly implement. The web is replete with images that have missing, incorrect, or poor alternative text. Like many things in web accessibility, determining appropriate, equivalent, alternative text is often a matter of personal interpretation.

Every image must have an alt attribute. This is a requirement of HTML standard (with perhaps a few exceptions in HTML5). Images without an alt attribute are likely inaccessible. In some cases, images may be given an empty or null alt attribute (e.g., alt="").

<img alt="This text is read by screen readers, or when a user has images turned off in their browser, and should be considered an alternative representation of your image" src="" title="This text is rendered when a user hovers over an image." />

HTML5 <figure> and <figcaption>

Figure and figcaption allow a semantic association between an image and the image's caption. If the figcaption for an image within a figure presents an equivalent alternative for that image, then the alt attribute may be omitted to avoid redundancy and duplication of content. The figcaption will (or at least should) be presented as the alternative text for the image within the figure.

<img src="acme.jpg">
<figcaption>Acme Corporation</figcaption>