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Photography Guidelines


When it comes to Learn by Doing, it’s important to show, not just tell — and our imagery does just that, encapsulating our motto from all angles. All photos should have a light and natural feel, featuring engaged individuals and/or dynamic movement, illustrating that our students will be Ready Day One.

Our Photographic Style


Wide photography should feature landscapes and interior spaces unique to the Cal Poly experience, showing an engaged individual or group interacting with their surroundings. Outdoor photos should also showcase our great Central Coast weather. You should include negative space for type and graphic overlay when possible.

Example 1:
Example a wide shot of two people inspecting crops in a field.

Example 2:

Example of a wide shot with two people standing on rocks at a tide pool, staring out at the ocean.


As with wide photography, all detail photography should feature human engagement. Capture active poses with dynamic movement. When possible, show a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Learn by Doing. 

Close-up of a person's hands as they work on a robotic hand model.
A person takes measurements of a plan using a circular template.
Close-up of a person's hand holding a paint brush as they brush paint on a canvas.


A person in the foreground takes a photo of another person in the background.
A close-up of a hand holding a sea urchin.
A person in a full beekeeping suit inspects a portion of a beehive.


Portraits can be captured in individiual or group formats. Always show individuals actively engaged in their environment or with one another. Try to avoid photos in which the subjects are looking directly at the camera.

Man holds a camera while standing in the wreckage of the town of Paradise.
Portrait of a woman looking off into the distance in a photography studio holding a light sensor.
Woman talks with a collaborator while working on a project.


High-quality, vetted photos following our brand style are available for use by staff and faculty. They can be downloaded from PhotoShelter, our digital photo management system that is accessible via single sign-on. (Those hired after 2019 may need to request download access.)