UW photo release form

A photo release form is required for all subjects whose image, video or voice will be used for marketing or promotional purposes — including print communications, video, web or social media. More information and a downloadable photo release form are available on the University of Washington website.

Tips for taking photos in the field

Best practices for taking photos in the field

Step 1: Adjust your settings

  • Set your image quality to the highest, largest size possible so that the photos are at least 7 MB
  • Shoot in color

Step 2: Be brave — capture the brilliantly bold, dramatically beautiful and authentically human

  • Get close to your subject
  • Take photos from interesting perspectives, above or below your subject
  • Portray uniqueness with behind-the-scenes images the viewer wouldn’t otherwise see
  • Attributes that make images memorable include:
    • Prominently featuring a person or people in a unique moment
    • A strong sense of color and light
    • A sense of place

Step 3: Consider your subject

  • People
    • Candid photos are better than staged photos
    • Take a combination of close-ups, including hands and faces
    • Take photos that convey action or movement
    • Avoid photos of backs and backsides
  • Scenery and landscapes
    • Show depth and size by photographing the horizon and beyond
    • Capture space; simple, open and expansive
    • Try angles that capture contrasting colors and textures
    • Zoom in to look at the intricate detail of plants and geologic features you might encounter

Step 4: Click (a lot)

  • It’s better to have too many photos than not enough photos
  • Photograph a mix of people, the landscape and organisms or research subjects
  • Take photos from a variety of angles and perspectives
    • Close up and zoomed out
    • Vertical and Horizontal
    • Straight on and looking up at or down on the subject
  • Take several shots of each image you want to capture
  • Turn off the flash

Special considerations for field trips, labs and other academic settings

Step 1: Identify a photographer

  • Share best practices above

Step 2: Notify participants

  • Let students and others involved in the field trip know that photos will be taken and how they could ultimately be used (newsletter, website, social media, etc.)
  • Allow anyone who does not wish to have their photo taken to opt out of being photographed and make sure the photographer(s) are aware of any opt-outs

Using Photos

  • Make sure that each photographer grants permission for you to use the photos they take (best to get this in writing in advance)
  • Include photo release forms as part of the preparation for a field trip
  • All participants who may be photographed should complete the release form
  • Release forms should remain on file with your unit
  • Immediately delete any photographs taken of people who didn’t get permission to be photographed
  • Name the photo files with the photographer’s name, course or event name and date so photos can be easily archived and located later

Sharing Photos with the College of the Environment

Minimum technical specifications

  • Resolution of 300 dpi (2700 x 3600 pixels)
  • Acceptable formats: high resolution JPEG (.jpg), TIFF (.tiff), PNG (.png) or a RAW image file (.dng)
  • Send original, uncropped photos
  • If you’re not sure whether your images meet these requirements, send them through anyway. Smaller images are not preferred, but can often be used on social media.
  • Thanks in advance for remembering to share your images with the College of the Environment!

We can’t use photos when

  • Safety procedures are not being followed
  • Proper photo permissions have not been acquired; when we receive a photo from you, we are depending on you to obtain appropriate permissions before sharing it with us

Download a copy of this field photography tips sheet