University Communications and Marketing

Photography Policy

University of Wisconsin-River Falls photography, located within the University Communications and Marketing (UCM) office, provides an accurate visual image of the university through news, editorial and event photography, subject to priorities and availability. We provide and archive original images to be used in UWRF publications and on UWRF websites. 

Photography Prioritization

Requests for photo services are prioritized by using the following guidelines:

Critical - Images will be used in external marketing pieces associated with student recruitment or fundraising

High - Images will be used for campus-wide publications or external marketing pieces for purposes other than student recruitment and fundraising

Medium - Images will be used for departmental publications or displays

Low - Images are for archival purposes only

University employees needing professional headshots are encouraged to schedule an appointment. Sessions are scheduled on a bi-monthly basis. 

Please note that photography services will not be provided for personal milestones, retirements, birthday parties or departmental groups.

Fee-based services include:

·  Passport photos

·  Photo printing

Photography Use

Technology has made photography easy to manipulate. Alterations such as moving, omitting or adding of elements from a photograph may seem harmless, but such actions changes the contextual meaning of the photograph and violates a reader's trust. Photographers with UCM have the responsibility to preserve the integrity and history of UW-River Falls through truthful imagery. The following is therefore UCM's policy related to the creation and use of photographs:

·   A photo's content—the positions and appearance of people and objects—must never be changed or manipulated.

·   Alteration of a photograph that misleads, confuses, or otherwise misrepresents its accuracy is strictly prohibited.

·   Enhancing the technical quality of a photograph is acceptable, but changing the meaning is not.

·   Use of non-UWRF stock photography is prohibited unless permission is granted from UCM.

In any instance when a question arises about such issues, please consult UCM staff.

The following provides more specific guidelines about acceptable and unacceptable use of photographs.


·   Electronic equivalents of established practices for traditional darkroom printing methods—dodging, burning, toning, and cropping, for example—as long as the content and meaning aren't changed.

·   Color and tonal correction to ensure accurate reproduction of the original photograph.

·   Technical touch–up of images for the purpose of color–balancing or removal of flaws (such as dust spots, scratches, digital noise, artifacts, etc.) to achieve better reproduction. Such changes will be considered to be insubstantial.

·   Routine cropping is not considered to be an alteration. However, there is a possibility of changing reader perception with creative cropping. When cropping, keep the modified version true to the intent of the original photo.

·   Conversion of a color image to black and white.

Not acceptable

·   Content alteration of any kind—moving, adding, deleting, combining, stretching, flipping, shrinking, etc.

·   If a caption is needed to explain that the content isn't real, don't use the image.

·   Misrepresenting a created scene as a "found" moment.

Photo Illustrations

Photo illustrations differ from news photos in content, creation, and purpose. They are staged or produced and are manufactured situations. They often are set up in a studio and are used for fashion, food, and product promotion when there is no other good way to visually communicate a story or idea. The final image, however, should not be so photorealistic that a reader could perceive it as being real. When an existing photograph is altered for artistic purposes, such as by adding or deleting content, it also is considered a photo illustration and should be labeled as such. 

When publishing a photo illustration, it should be made clear to readers that the image does not represent a real situation. In all cases, photo illustrations should be labeled as such. Any permitted alteration changing the original content of an image must be labeled as a "photo illustration." The credit line should read: "Photo illustration, original photo by XXX."

Remember that no amount of captioning can balance a visual lie. Carefully consider any consequences, including jeopardizing credibility with readers, before creating a photo illustration.

Environmental portraits shot on location are not considered photo illustrations.


Copyrighted materials cannot be used or altered without written permission of the copyright holder (generally the creator or source of the original photo).

Photographs should be considered to be copyrighted materials by the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Photographs supplied to UCM from other offices or from non-university entities cannot be altered without written permission from the copyright holder.

Permission/Model Releases

University Communications and Marketing does not regularly use model releases nor seek written permission for most of the photography or videos created for both internal and broader university use. Written permission is not required when making photographs or videos of individuals in public settings or using the resulting photographs or videos in news and editorial contexts. Care should be exercised, however, in subsequent use. Make certain that the published context and the caption do not imply details about an individual that are not known to be true.

When using photos on the web, use photos that pertain to your department or are of general campus. In other words, do not use a photo taken from an event showing students from another department to depict an unrelated department. Please make arrangements with the university photographer for appropriate photo opportunities.

Whenever possible, UCM photographers identify themselves and seek verbal permission when taking photos. They inform subjects about the potential uses of the photo such as providing information for a story and/or creating images to more broadly describe the campus, both now and in the future. In instances where an individual asks to not be photographed, UCM photographers comply with those wishes.

Written permission is required, however, for photos or videos of children or subjects who are primarily being featured in advertisements in which a person's name, image and/or likeness are being used in a context that implies endorsement. Contact the UCM media specialist for photo or location release forms. In situations where UCM is photographing a university preschool facility or a K–12 school classroom, we confirm with that administrative entity that parents or guardians have given permission for their children to be photographed. When photos are supplied by a client, permission to use them is implied, but check with the client to make sure permission has been granted by the creator and the subjects, and that appropriate photo credits are published.

Photo Library

Photographs created by staff photographers are for the news and editorial needs of UWRF. UCM maintains the PhotoShelter photo library for the university. News media may use any of the images in the online photo library for news or editorial content, both print and electronic, related to UW-River Falls. UW-River Falls departments, faculty, staff, students, and alumni may use any of the images in the library for noncommercial communication pieces about the university. The images are not available for generic use unrelated to UW-River Falls. Prints are available for purchase for personal use, upon review.

Current campus members may request access to the UWRF PhotoShelter archive by creating a login through the free signup page using your UWRF email address and password. Once you have created an account, images may be placed in a lightbox and shared with the media specialist for general or web use request, or the art director for publication use through PhotoShelter. 

Published news and editorial photos, including those published on social media, must include a credit ("photographer's name/University of Wisconsin-River Falls" or "courtesy of …"). The specific credit and other details are also embedded in the digital file which can be viewed by using Photoshop and choosing "file info" under the file menu.

Contact Pat Deninger, UWRF media specialist, at 715-425-3996 with questions.

None of the images may be modified, altered, or used in any way that changes or misrepresents the photograph's content or overall context.

Freelance Policies and Rights

When hiring freelancers or using work created by freelancers, you are often commissioning the right to use that work, you are not buying ownership of the work. Details should be in writing and signed by both parties. 

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University Communications
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