Photography is a powerful medium of expression and communication. Roughly 90 percent of information that comes to the brain is visual which explains why people often look first to images, then to words. Visual aids can improve learning by up to 400 percent. With these facts in mind, it is important to understand that every image communicates a message, and does this with maximum impact.

At Fresno State, our primary goal is to tell a story. A story that showcases Fresno State's people, their achievements, and their impact within our community. Secondly we look to showcase the atmosphere of campus which is especially important to prospective students by depicting compelling scenes of campus life.

When you need original photography, we recommend using our campus photographer, Cary Edmondson, whenever possible. Cary knows the Fresno State's photography guidelines and will help to maintain a consistent photography style across department websites and publications. If Cary is unavailable for your photo request, contact him at: to obtain a list of recommended freelance photographers. Our photo release form is required for all recognizable subjects. For your convenience we have provided a pdf of the release form to download. 


Our Style

Photos should tell a story and present subjects and topics in the most intriguing and effective way. The most obvious method to achieve this is by taking photos of people doing the work that is related to the story. Posed shots lose precious energy, which translates into weaker impact. We encourage our subjects to walk, talk, move, to be him/herself, to be comfortable. Our goal is for the viewer to see a photo and feel as if the photographer happened upon the person doing an activity and just snapped a picture. We discourage simply taking a mug shot or grip-and-grin pose and instead prefer to photograph relaxed poses in a relevant setting that helps tell the subjects story.

We try to use natural lighting, interesting framing, and depending on the image, we typically try to separate our subject from their background to help the eye identify the primary focal point of the photograph. Examples are shown below which describe a
template that creates a unique brand and supports our main goal to tell a story:


Guidelines for Requesting Photography

Summary of basics

  1. Clients should contact the University photographer at least two weeks in advance to schedule a photo shoot using the photo request form online.
  2. Allow two to five working days to fulfill requests for existing digital photography from the photo archive. 
  3. Using or distributing a photograph from the University’s collection without consent is prohibited.
  4. Upon using a photo, clients should use high-resolution photos (High-resolution files measure at least at the size you want them to display at 300 dpi or higher. For Web sites, low-resolution images (at 72 dpi) should be used.

Requesting a photo shoot

University Photographer Cary Edmondson is available for certain strategic on- and off-campus photo shoots for University clients. If your request is for a project that is being coordinated or managed by the Office of University Communications, tell your contact that you need new photography or a photo shoot and he/she will help with the scheduling arrangements. Because we have only one staff photographer paired with one student photographer, you may be referred to a freelance photographer. Although shoots conducted by the University Photographer are conducted free of charge to our clients, you (as the client) must pay freelancers for their services. 

You must contact the University photographer at least two weeks in advance to schedule a photo shoot. (For weekend requests a month notice is recommended to avoid scheduling conflicts). Fill out the photo request form online.


Requesting an existing photo from the photo archive

Allow three to five working days to fulfill requests for file photography; additional time will be needed for requests for multiple photos. University Communications receives a large number of requests for this service. Photos are archived in a database, but the original files are stored on DVDs. It takes time to locate, edit, copy, and distribute each request. To help expedite the process, please provide any details which would help locate the photo such as; the date of the event, the persons depicted in the photo, and the photographer who took the photo. If your request is for three or fewer images, we can send them by e-mail. Otherwise, a CD will be created for pickup or mailing. Please verify whether the images you request will be for print or Web publication. We will save the images in high-resolution JPG format unless otherwise instructed.


Working with freelance photographers and using stock images

Use of University Communications stock photography and the work of the University Photographer is deemed acceptable for on-campus clients, but the Office of University Communications is not responsible for any charges billed by off-campus photographers for the use of their photographs or for charges for any stock photography requested by our clients. If you use the work of an outside photographer, copyrighted photographs, or other copyrighted art in your publication or on your Web site, you as the client are obliged to pay for it. The Office of University Communications is not responsible for any charges incurred for the use of images provided to us by our clients without proper permission.


Conducting or using your own photography for your department’s use

Signed model releases are necessary for every recognizable person shown on your Web site. You are required to obtain releases to prove that you have the legal right to use those images of that person to promote or advertise California State University, Fresno. 


Copyright and usage information

Photographs on the California State University, Fresno Web site and those otherwise provided by the Office of University Communications are copyright of the contributing photographer and Fresno State. They are only for use related to California State University, Fresno and are not for commercial reproduction. The photographs in the university archive are not necessarily available for use simply because they are archived. This is a working photo archive of the University Photographer and, therefore, includes proprietary photographs, daily photo assignment archives, photos with limited model releases, and photos created for single, exclusive use. The University Photographer will deny or authorize the use of any photo based on set criteria and the type of photograph.

Using or distributing a photograph from this collection without authorization is prohibited. Photographs in this collection contain metadata that marks them as property of California State University, Fresno. Photographs may not be altered in any way other than minimal cropping. Photographs may not be used in any way other than in their intended context and for the promotion of California State University, Fresno. Photographs that are copyrighted by the photographer or the University and published in off-campus media or public relations pieces must include a credit. “Courtesy of California State University, Fresno” is preferred, but a credit must appear within style guidelines. “Photo Courtesy of California State University, Fresno” would be the minimum acceptable credit. If you have any questions regarding appropriate use of a photograph, please contact Cary Edmondson, the University photographer.