Public Photography | Marketing Practices

A common space is an open area accessible to all people. Photography conducted in a common space requires extra care. Campus visitors, for example, could be accidently photographed.

Pre-planning and public notices can help you avoid later challenges.

TEMPLATE | Find templates of the public notices listed below

DOs & DON’Ts 

  • DO provide advance warning when photographing in public.
  • DO make contact information available to bystanders.

Be Visible

You can avoid accidently photographing someone by helping bystanders to avoid you. At a minimum, wear a nametag and be conspicuous in your behavior (e.g., do not use a telephoto lens).

Additional ways to increase visibility include the following.

  • Wear highly visible clothing, like a brightly colored vest.
  • Make eye contact with your subject.
  • Introduce yourself to the subject before or after taking the photo.
  • Provide contact information to subjects.

Media Releases

You must receive student consent to use student photography. Consent is documented via media releases.

It is not always necessary to secure consent before taking a picture. Many excellent candid shots would be ruined with prior intervention. For example, a student on a slack line. However, you must receive consent afterward or at a later date to use the image.

CONNECTION | For more on consent and releases, see Student Consent.

Have every subject sign a media release. However, if you are photographing events or large groups, this may be unreasonable. The Event Photography page will cover this topic in more depth.

Reserved Spaces

1. Reserve rooms

Reserve public spaces using usual methods. For example, some spaces can be reserved by contacting the program’s administrative assistant; other spaces can be reserved through Conference & Event Support Services.

2. Post signs

Use a sign to provide notice that a common space on campus will be used for photography.

Because students use these spaces in the course of a typical day, your activity may interrupt their activities and upset plans. Photography notices are a courtesy that acknowledges these possible interferences and prevents interruptions during the photo shoot.

Your notice should list the time the space will be used and posted several hours before the photo shoot, at least.

3. Send emails

If you will be using a common room that is often reserved for a class or specific program, ask a faculty member to notify students on your behalf.

Ideally, this should occur at least one week before the photo shoot. This notice should include the time the space will be used and urge students to remove any belongings they might need to access during that time.


Staff from the Office of Marketing & Communications (MarCom) will be using the computer lab in room 170 on [date], from [start–finish time].

You will not be able to use the computer lab during that time, so please arrange to do your work elsewhere. If you need any files from your computer or if you will need any supplies from the room, please take them beforehand.

If you have questions for MarCom, you can contact them at

Thank you, 

Common Spaces

If you will be photographing in a public place, provide advanced warning to users of that space where possible. For example, if you are photographing in the dining areas of the UC, place warning signs on the tables in advance of your photo shoot.

Notices in public spaces should include the scheduled time of the photo shoot and information on who to contact if the student believes they were photographed on accident or without permission.

TEMPLATE | There are template signs available online