Street-level view of people crossing a street in New York City.

Our Photography Style

Photography is a powerful tool for conveying NYU’s spirit, strength, and vibrancy. The right photograph will help bring your story to life and tie it to the University’s larger narrative.

Our photography style is street level and eye level to the viewer. We want the audience to feel like they are immersed in your story, whether it takes place out on the street or in a classroom. Aside from bold, establishing shots, we should never use photography that loses that sense of human scale.

New York City and our additional urban locations are full of life and big ideas. To capture that, we lean towards higher color saturation and a strong contrast between light and dark. We are a university of the curious and adventurous, and at its best our photography embraces the unexpected and inspires our audiences to dive deeper with us.

NYU Photo Services and Galleries

The NYU Photo Bureau offers photographic services to the university community and curates a free stock image photo bank.

NYU Stock Photography

A selection of free NYU stock photography specially curated to help you get started with the NYU Brand Toolkit.

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NYU and the City

NYU is part of the urban fabric no matter where you are in our global network. Our images should capture the colors, textures, and movement of the city in an inspiring and welcoming way.

It’s important to maintain an authentic, street-level view of our urban homes. Approach city photography as a photojournalist, looking for smaller moments that bring the human side of the city to life.

When using a grand, city skyline image, consider coupling it with a more intimate, human-focused moment or urban detail.

A busy New York City street with pedestrians and a yellow cab.

Collage of urban scenes in New York City and Prague.

Skyline images provide context and street scenes provide details.

Establishing Shots

An establishing photo introduces the story you’re telling. It sets the scene, establishes the tone, and presents the story’s bigger picture before diving into its details.

The One World Trade Center and Washington Square Park in New York City and the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, Spain.

The One World Trade Center, Washington Square Park, and the Reina Sofía Museum all help provide context.

Collage of students engaging with each other at various locations on NYU’s campuses.

Students connect with each other all around NYU’s campuses in New York City and Abu Dhabi.


This is your opportunity to place our audience at the center of it all. These photos give the viewer a glimpse of what it feels and looks like to live, work, and study within the NYU global community. Be sure to include people within the context of our buildings and campus. We want to avoid making our urban homes feel empty and unapproachable.

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Candid, documentary-style images contextualize your communication.

Use straight-forward angles to keep your viewer immersed in the story. While not necessary, including out-of-focus foreground elements can create the illusion of depth and make the viewer feel as if they are part of the scene.

Focus on the people to maintain the humanity in your story. Whenever possible, avoid the sole individual. Instead, focus on moments of connection between subjects.

Capture smaller moments within a crowd to allow your photo to be more accessible and relatable.

An NYU student in a sequin gown singing onstage.

Collage of students working, creating art, and cheering at their graduation.

Candid imagery can demonstrate many aspects of college life.


Photographs of our classrooms should capture authentic interactions and should never feel staged or forced. Be sure to focus on moments of collaboration but don’t lose awareness of the setting. No matter what the subject, our classroom images need to show our students and faculty within their proper context. Photography is one of the most powerful tools to showcase the curious and driven spirit that is alive and well within our classrooms.

Collage of professors and students in various classrooms across NYU’s campuses.

Classrooms throughout the University provide opportunities for learning and connection.

Students at a sporting event, cheering (left). Two people talking at a networking event (top right). Students performing a musical onstage (bottom right).

Whether it’s an athletic event, a reception, or a musical production, candid photography captures the energy of them all.


While there is a wide range of events at NYU that vary in their levels of energy and activity, it’s important to remember that you are still telling the story of the event through photography. Resist the desire to stage a shot. If it’s a performance or a game, be sure to capture the movement and excitement. If it’s a formal affair, focus on the genuine interactions between the guests.

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With 15 global locations and a community that represents over 140 countries and more than 100 languages, NYU sits at the crossroads of the world. The photography you choose should help tell that story.

Collage of students and professors engaged in conversation and exploration.

Capturing the people who make up our NYU community is an important aspect of telling our story.


Our portraits should clearly illustrate the diverse people and perspectives that make up NYU. A great portrait is determined by two factors: personality and environment.

Place your subject in a setting that helps bring them to life; pursue an honest, relaxed image that allows your subject’s personality to shine through; and use natural light from windows whenever possible. In addition to helping the subject feel comfortable, this will help tell their story, giving the audience a better understanding of who they are, and lend their portrait a sense of humanity and relatability.

Avoid using a flash and an overly posed, rigid setup.

We want the people we’re highlighting to feel comfortable and appear open and approachable.

Portraits of four NYU students.

Great portraits are the perfect complement to compelling stories.

Portraits of three NYU students laughing.

Oftentimes, the best portrait happens when the subject isn’t posing.

Capturing Personality

A great portrait is all about the personality. Strive for images that help bring the subject to life. Instead of overly posed, rigid setups, attempt to capture a portrait that is honest and engaging. We want the people we’re highlighting to feel comfortable and appear relatable.

Establishing Environment

Placing your subject within an environment that helps tell their story goes a long way. It gives your viewer a better understanding of who they are.

Portraits of two sudents and a professor in their work environments.

Environmental portraits tell us even more about our subject by showing us where they work, live, or play.

Tips for Photo Editing

Here are some tips to help make your images more compelling and in line with the NYU brand.


Always use high-resolution images and make sure they appear crisp. For digital environments, resolution should be at least 72 PPI (pixels per inch); for print, 300 DPI (dots per inch).


Avoid harsh direct light. Use natural and indirect light when possible.

Close-up of a student’s face with harsh, direct lighting.

DON’T place the student in direct lighting, which casts harsh shadows on her face.

Close-up of a student’s face with indirect, natural lighting.

DO place the student in indirect lighting, which ensures her face is evenly lit.


Bump up the saturation and contrast of your image to convey a dynamic, bold, and confident feel.

Students on the grass in Washington Square Park.

DON’T maintain low saturation and contrast. Image is a bit dull and flat.

Students on the grass in Washington Square Park.

DO increase the saturation and contrast slightly. Image is brighter and more vibrant.


Crop your images to remove any unnecessary visual information and bring focus to your subject.

Two students conversing in the distance.

DON'T zoom out. Image lacks an obvious focus.

A close-up of two students conversing.

DO zoom in. Image has a clear focus: the two students.

Angles and Distortion

Images should be street or eye level and straight on. Avoid distortion and weird angles.

A student reading a magazine, captured from a low angle.

DON’T apply weird angles. This angle distorts the student and the background.

Two students reading magazines, captured from a straight-on angle.

DO utilize a straight-on angle. This angle is eye level and there is no distortion.

Students and a professor sitting around a classroom conference table.

DON’T – This angle is uneven and confusing for the viewer.

Students and a professor sitting around a classroom conference table.

DO – This angle is straight on with a clear focus.


Anyone featured prominently in NYU photography must sign a media release form that grants the University legal permission to use their image.

Download our Media Release Form (70 KB) and refer to the release form best practices.


Remember to add alt text to each image you use online. You can mark purely aesthetic images as decorative (if the platform supports it). To learn more about image accessibility, check out Using Accessible Images and Graphics and Digital Communication’s CMS Training and Support image component tutorial.