Photography is a vital element of the MSU brand. It evokes emotion and connects people to the university.
Our photography should be beautiful but also authentic and relatable, reflecting our pursuit of excellence for the common good and our welcoming, inclusive community.
Brand Campaign Photography
The MSU brand campaign photographic approach incorporates “lifestyle” photography. Lifestyle imagery focuses on authentic slice-of-life moments—real people in real scenarios capturing candid action and environments. The emphasis should be put on showing moments that are beautiful, aspirational, powerful—but always genuine.
To achieve this look in campaign-inspired communications, keep in mind the following:
- Capture natural movement and interaction, rather than poses.
- Highlight interaction between individuals or between the subject and the environment. Prioritize imagery where the focus is on people, more than their work or activity.
- Authentic Spartan moments are the goal. Always feature real Spartans. No actors.
- Focus on facial expression but avoid smiling directly into the camera.
- Emphasis should be on the subject, generally with the background slightly out of focus.
- Aim for bright, natural lighting.
Portraits are important to many kinds of Spartan storytelling. For all portrait images, the subject of the photograph should be the focus.
- Subjects should be framed in the photo so the viewer’s eye is drawn straight to them.
- Aim for capturing the subject looking genuine and accomplished, with the Spartan drive to make a difference.
- Subjects may appear in an environment that reflects their work and expertise or in an iconic MSU location, depending on the focus of the communication.
Close-up photos of objects, architecture, hands or equipment may be used to communicate a specific research initiative, discovery or opportunity at MSU. These detail images also help tell a visual story and complement portrait or landscape photos.
- Detail photographs should be shot similarly to portraits, with the object taking the place of the living subject.
- Detail photos should focus on a single object that is used to enhance the viewer’s experience.
Landscape photos should be authentic and inspiring, featuring MSU’s beautiful campus and the transformational opportunities it provides. Or they may reflect other locations that support the story or messaging.