Photography Guide

In our imagery, we should strive to show an authentic UMBC experience that gives our audience a true sense of place. All photography and illustration should be developed considering our inclusive culture, innovative teaching and learning, research across disciplines, and civic engagement. We should avoid photos of lone subjects, but instead show them with the people who support them. Whenever possible, black and gold should be prominently captured in photography and applied to illustrations. Use of those colors will ensure that imagery has the look and feel of UMBC.


Creative Services maintains the Office of Institutional Advancement photo archive, a database containing thousands of photos. For help with specific requests, or to request access to UMBC photos, contact Marlayna Demond ’11, the lead photographer in Creative Services. If you use Marlayna’s photos, please caption them with the following: Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

Other sources of photos include Special Collections, an archive maintained by the Albin O. Kuhn Library. The archive includes photos taken from 1966 to the present, many of which can be previewed online.

Research Graphics, a CNMS core facility, has established to provide consistent, professional-quality headshots to all UMBC faculty and staff. They encourage all faculty and staff to participate in order to provide consistent images for department, program, and office web sites. Photos can also be used for university communications needs, such as sending to media who feature faculty and staff experts.


When Creative Services does not have the capacity to accommodate a specific request, please refer to the Freelance Photographer list.


As you work to weave the UMBC brand into messaging, you should do the same with imagery. Use the guides below to think about ways of incorporating powerful, theme-driven images into your work.

In considering the brand themes outlined below, it is important to collect photo releases and subject permissions, especially when using photos in paid marketing and advertising. When using images of community members, creators should also be mindful to seek updated permissions, in particular for photos in non-public spaces, or when photos are used in materials the subject may not have originally agreed to.

Reach Together

Curiosity and determination know no limits at UMBC. Our collaborative culture both challenges and supports everyone to push boundaries and make big breakthroughs as they ask important questions and deliver new solutions.

For this theme use photography that shows off UMBC’s sense of community, diversity, and unique activities. Highlight images that show elements of human interaction and feature authentic UMBC locations and events. Avoid using group shots that don’t reflect the diversity of the UMBC community. Also avoid using shots of students, events, campus culture, and interaction that look posed, inauthentic, cliché, or overly staged.

reach together image example

Claim Your Future

Grit—defined by hard work, courage, and commitment— goes a long way at UMBC and beyond. Students who join our community learn to claim their futures, not simply to check the boxes. They ask more from their college experience and discover personal strengths and campus support to unlock amazing networks and careers.

For this theme select images that showcase students working in their majors. Highlight images that show a diversity of environments, faculty/student collaboration, internships, and real-world, experiential learning. Avoid images that lack dynamism, engagement, or interaction.

claim your future image example

Explore Every Angle

Paths to excellence emerge from our inclusive community that values people in all their complexity—their perspectives, knowledge, ideas, and experiences. If you are looking for an environment of openness, generosity, and constant learning where you’ll build lifelong relationships, you’ve come to the right place.

For this theme select images that showcase UMBC’s unique educational environment. Highlight images that show a diversity of fields, student collaboration, professor-to-student relationships, and hands-on, experiential learning. Avoid classroom images that lack dynamism, engagement, or interaction.

extend beyond image example

Extend Beyond

Our culture of collaboration forges true partnerships to advance knowledge, economic prosperity, civic engagement, and social justice. Through research, internships, athletic competition, careers, and other experiences beyond the campus, we have far-reaching impact close to home and around the world.

For this theme use images that display the beauty of UMBC’s campus, and the surrounding areas (Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Annapolis, and nearby employers). Show a variety of perspectives—both sprawling and close-up images create dynamic shots.

explore every angle image example


Consider telling UMBC stories in an alternate way. Contemporary illustration can be used for a modern yet warm approach. Utilize student, alumni, and local talent whenever possible, and use this branding guide with them as a way of helping them incorporate the brand into their work.