Campus Photography Resources

This document contains information about campus photo resources, including the University Communications photo archive, procedures for setting up a photo session with L&S, University Archives, and the UW Digital Collections. This document also contains information about proper sizing and resolution for photos on print and online.

Campus Photography Resources

The College of Letters & Science does not officially endorse any of the following resources. Please consider them a jumping off point for your own work.

On-Campus Image Sources

University Communications Photo Library:

The library currently holds more than 15,000 photos of campus and campus life. High-resolution images are available for campus users free of charge with a NetID login.

University Communications also provides guidelines on photo use, which cover questions about editing, copyright, and properly crediting photographers:

University Archives:

The University Archives maintains over a million images relevant to the history of the Madison campus, UW System Administration, UW Extension and the UW Colleges. The collection also includes images of the Madison and Dane County area, and some from around the state.

Most of the items in the University Archives collection can be ordered for use in your publications. Please submit requests for image reproductions via email to

Visit the UW-Madison Archives Flickr page for a small sampling of images found in the archives:

UW Digital Collections:

Since its founding in early 2000, the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center has worked collaboratively with UW System faculty, staff, and librarians to create and provide access to digital resources that support the teaching and research needs of the UW community,

Resources within the collections are free and publicly accessible online. They are loosely organized into collections that span a range of subjects including art, ecology, literature, history, music, natural resources, science, social sciences, the State of Wisconsin, and the University of Wisconsin. Digital resources include text-based materials such as books, journal series, and manuscript collections, photographic images, slides, maps, prints, posters, audio, and video.

Additional Options

If the above campus sources do not have images specific to your topic, consider asking for images from interview subjects or people featured in the story. For example, if a course in your department is engaged in interesting fieldwork, it is possible that a faculty member or student has photos you could use. 

You can use social media or a shout-out in your publication to call for photo submissions from your audience. You must be prepared to follow up on these submissions.

You may also wish to use images from a stock photography site such as Shutterstock or iStockphoto, however, you will need to pay a fee to use them. Additionally, you could illustrate a story with original artwork. The latter method can be especially compelling for content that is difficult to illustrate with photography.

Free stock image services like Pixabay and Pexels can serve as sources for generic images. However, please use images of UW students, faculty and locations wherever possible. Avoid stock photographs of models or generic "university" buildings when illustrating content about our campus community.

Creative Commons search can be used to find images of common cultural touchstones (for example, The White House) or works of art that have passed into the public domain. 

Image Use and Proper Credit

Before you feature an image in your publication, you must make sure that you are allowed to use that image in print. Images from campus sources can be used by UW-Madison departments, faculty, staff, students, and alumni for noncommercial communication pieces about UW-Madison, however, additional precautions should be taken to make sure you have permission to use sources outside of the University. 

When in doubt, always ask the image's creator for permission. If you cannot find out who created an image, err on the side of caution and avoid using it in your publication.

If an image is listed with a Creative Commons license, the owner of the image will provide information about what can and cannot be done with their work. Permissions vary by creator and by image - make sure you check for each image licensed under creative commons. More information can be found at  

Always credit the photographer, artist and/or image source in your publication.

Information on properly crediting photographers, copyright and freelance work can be found in the photo use guidelines published by University Communications:

Presentations and Workshops

April 2020 Alumni Newsletter Workshop

June 2017 L&S Department Newsletter Meeting

The following slidedeck contains information on compelling photography and on-campus sources for photos, as well as other best practices for department newsletter creation. 

A Note on Image Resolution, Print and Online

For print publications, photographs must be at least 300dpi (dots per inch). Lower resolutions that look perfectly fine on a computer screen not look as good as you want them to when printed. To check the resolution of an image, follow these directions:

In Windows
  • Right click the image file and select "Properties" from the drop-down menu. 
  • Select the "Details" tab
  • Scroll down to the "Image" section. You should see information on pixel dimensions and vertical and horizontal resolution listed.  The resolution must be at least 300dpi for print, and 72dpi for digital distribution. 

In Macintosh OS X

  • Open your image in preview and press Command+I
  • Image dpi and pixel dimensions will be listed under the "Summary" tab. The resolution must be at least 300dpi for print, and 72dpi for digital distribution. 

Many images found online will be 72dpi, which is the resolution most current computer monitors display.  72dpi is also the resolution exported by some digital cameras.  However, many of these images can be made fit for print using programs such as Adobe Photoshop.

To successfully increase the resolution of a photograph for print, the more pixels the source photograph has, the better.  For example, if the original photograph is 600 by 400 pixels, a 300dpi printable image will only be 2 inches by 1.33 inches.

Your design team will be able to convert appropriately sized images to print resolution if you do not have the appropriate software or are not comfortable in digital photography software.

For best results, decide how large you would like the photo to appear in your publication. Divide the pixel dimensions of the photograph by 300 to find the largest dimensions (in inches) the photo will be able to print.  For example, a photograph that is 1,200 pixels by 900 pixels will be 4 in. by 3 in. when printed at 300dpi.

If your photo is not large enough to print at the size you want with an appropriate resolution, you will need to find a different image. In general, avoid using programs like Photoshop to increase the pixel count of a photograph. 

Keywordsnewsletter image dpi archive lac image photo   Doc ID24839
OwnerCarlin S.GroupL&S KB
Created2012-06-25 15:25 CSTUpdated2021-11-18 13:47 CST
SitesL&S KB
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