Taking your own photos

There are times when it may be more suitable to take photographs yourself than to hire a photographer. This is mainly when it needs to be done quickly, you can settle for a slightly lower quality, you do not have time to place a photo order, or you have limited resources to spend on photography services.

Use a proper camera

You can take good photos with almost any camera. However, a quality camera with a good lens gives you more flexibility to deal with aspects such as depth of field and to compensate for dark indoor environments.

Edit the photos

It is a good idea to edit the photos in an image processing program, such as Lightroom or Photoshop. Adjust the exposure if necessary, i.e. lighten dark images and vice versa, adjust the white balance if the image has a yellowish hue, tone down shadows and highlights, straighten images that are crooked, and crop them if necessary. If the photos were shot indoors in low light, you may also need to sharpen the image and reduce noise (make the image less grainy).

Photographing people

 Tips for portrait photography

  • Take advantage of natural light. Either shoot outdoors or try to find an indoor setting with large windows that let in natural light so you do not have to use a flash. Avoid dark office rooms and corridors. Instead, seek out foyers and common areas surrounded by large windows.
  • Photographing outdoors in direct sunlight can cause awkward shadows on the subject's face. For the same reason, avoid positioning the person directly under a bright lamp if you are taking photos indoors. Position the person so that the light falls from the front or the side. If you position a person against the light, there is a risk of the image being dark around their face.
  • Focus on the person's eye for maximum sharpness.
  • If you want a straightforward portrait close to the face, use a neutral background and a short depth of field to blur the background. If you have a wall as a background, it is a good idea to let the person stand a few metres away to tone down the wall in question.

Photographing staff

Often when you photograph a person who is a member of staff at Umeå University, you have already made arrangements for the photo shoot in advance. When you book the photo shoot, you need to inform the person being photographed that the University intends to use the image in its communication channels and in social media, and perhaps not only in the context in which it is first taken, and that the image will be stored in Umeå University's media bank. If a person objects to any of this, you must try to accommodate their wishes as far as possible.

Photographing students and external persons

There may be times when you are not in contact with the person you are photographing in advance. This could be the case, for example, when photographing students on campus. If you are photographing students and external people who are recognisable in a photo, you must remember to ask for the person's consent for the photo to be used by the University in our communication channels and social media, and for it to be stored in our media bank. It is the responsibility of each photographer to obtain such verbal consent. If you do not obtain consent, the image may not be published. Of course, it is best to ask before you take the photo, but it also depends on what you would like the image to express.

People at events

Photography for the purpose of documenting events does not require consent, but you have an obligation to inform people before and during the event that photography (or filming) will take place and what to do if they object to being included in this.

More about images as personal data

Read more about what applies when photographing people on the page Images and GDPR.

Related pages


If you have questions about taking your own photos, please contact the Communications Office at komm@umu.se.

Visual Communication Training

Would you like to learn more about how Umeå University works with images? Take a course in visual communication. The training is offered as a self-study course in Canvas, and you can choose to take all or part of the course. The course is only available in Swedish.

Advanced course in visual communication

Anja Axelsson