When done correctly, photography is one of the most powerful tools of communication.  In fact, the images you choose to portray Cal State LA are just as important as the copy.

Cal State LA is a special place and the photography we use to shape our brand should reflect that. Images should be engaging and authentic to draw the reader’s attention. To help you in selecting photos for publications, consider the following:

  • Images tell a story. They can support or illustrate the copy, but they don’t always have to be a literal interpretation of the copy.
  • Select images that are energetic and show action. When possible, try to photograph subjects in their own environment or area of expertise. For example, a science major in a lab, or a math professor in front of a blackboard of equations.
  • When photographing an event, avoid posed shots of subjects looking directly at the camera. Sometimes you have to take these photos for documentation purposes, but some of the best shots happen when people are not too aware of the camera. So keep your camera up after the posed photo to look for images that convey a sense that something is happening.
  • Look for interesting angles or points of view that highlight the message you want to convey. For example: bird’s eye view, wide angle images, close-ups, interesting décor, etc.
  • Pay careful attention to lighting. Avoid shooting indoors and using flash, which can create harsh shadows or wash out subjects. Instead, try to utilize natural light by photographing your subject near a large window or at the golden hour (just before sunset), when outdoor light is ideal.
  • Pay attention to the background and foreground. Make sure there are no distractions in the shot, like a light pole coming out of your subject’s head or a Starbucks coffee cup on the desk. Photoshop is great tool, but the best editing can happen before you even take a photo.
  • Photos should reflect the diversity of our student body, faculty, staff and alumni.
  • Keep an eye out for clothing, too. Make sure that the subject is dressed to represent the University and avoid any old school merchandise bearing unapproved nicknames (especially CSULA).

Image/Voice Release Form

Photo Consent Form


The staff photographer/videographer maintains a database of approved photographs that can be used by recognized University entities. Please email the Office of Communications and Public Affairs to request access to our Photo Library. A photographer is available to shoot some assignments, which must be requested by completing a Photography Assignment Request Form. A minimum of 10 working days advance notice is needed for photography requests. A chargeback fee will be issued for photo assignments.

Photography Assignment Request Form

Video Guidelines for Lower Thirds