Sponsored Post

This post is sponsored and written by Penn State Web Conference , sponsor of Higher Ed Special Edition.

Someone has to take photos on your campus, and it looks like it’s you. Too bad it’s not really your thing. But with a few simple tips, it can be.

At the 2015 Web Conference at Penn State University, Cathy Benscoter shared basics of good photography, from composition to exposure to how to use whatever equipment you can beg, borrow, or steal to get the job done.

Key Takeaways

The best camera is the one you have with you.

When preparing for a shoot, know your resources –

  • What equipment to you have access to? Do you know how to use it?
  • Who are your subjects? Can you select models?
  • How much time will you have?
  • Do you need assistants or assistance?
  • What software do you have access to?
  • Don’t forget to bring your knowledge and creativity.


Understand the “Rule of Thirds.” Shoot your main subject at the intersection of gird points.
Frame your photo. Use this technique to showcase your subject by putting objects in the foreground.
Beware of photobombs. Check your backgrounds for distracting objects and remove them.
Use leading lines. Find visual line elements that move eyes through a photo.
Think like a journalist. Look for moments or action shots rather than stand up group photos.

Exposure Basics

Aperture makes changes to the depth of field.
ISO makes changes to graininess of an image.
Shutter speed changes the amount of light and movement in a photo.

When considering lighting, natural light is the best. When shooting outdoors, clouds offer natural diffusion. Shooting outside int he afternoon can be challenging. Don’t shoot North if you can help it. The “golden hour” for outdoor shoots is an hour and a half before sunset. Using a flash can help fill in shadows outside, but you should only use a flash inside when you need it.

When in doubt, get close and keep shooting.


Article Author

Ashley Budd

Ashley Budd

Producer, Host of Higher Ed Special Edition
Director of Digital Marketing, Cornell University

Ashley Budd is a digital strategist and designer based in upstate New York. She specializes in bringing offline experiences online. Ashley is director of digital marketing at Cornell University serving Alumni Affairs and Development. Prior to joining the team at Cornell, Ashley spent more than five years in Enrollment Management and Career Services at Rochester Institute of Technology. Ashley speaks about college admissions, digital fundraising, communication and media technologies.