Visual Storytelling

Photography is a powerful asset for visual storytelling. It helps us paint a full, rich picture of Rice. By aligning our photography style and usage, we can create a look and feel that’s distinctly ours.

Booking Services

The division of Creative Services in Rice University’s Public Affairs Office has two full time professional photographers on staff. While the photographers handle the general needs of the university on a daily basis (Rice News, Rice Magazine, etc.), they are available to schools and departments for photo assignments. For photography services, project rates and other requests, please visit the Office of Public Affairs site.

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students on Rice campus

PhotoShelter Galleries

Having a gallery of photos captured at Rice University can be a great asset for your storytelling. It can add a level of authenticity and uniqueness to your videos, as well as showcase the beauty and culture of the university. Here is a collection of photos to choose from, from aerial imagery to research.

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student wearing rice bucket hat laughing



These are the students, teachers, faculty, alumni and friends who form our community. It’s important to portray them authentically, so these shots should always feel natural and in the moment.

Portraits can be done in one of two ways.

On location (environmental): shows the subject outside of the studio and preferably in a place that tells a strong story or says something about who they are.

In studio: focuses more on the subject by placing them in a controlled and isolated environment. 


Subjects should have genuine expressions that feel natural in the moment. Finding the humanity in our stories helps us connect to our audience in a powerful way. This approach to portrait photography focuses on how the people look and feel every day, without any manipulation or obvious stylization, and in the subject’s natural environment. 


This category is all about the people. Candid photos should capture members of the Rice community in their natural element.

This photographic style should capture moments of real emotion, spirit and achievement. This can include smiles, laughter and other positive expressions, as well as introspection and hopeful reflection.

To show the diversity of our people and our programs, use overhead perspectives to capture the real work environments of our students.

As always, look for true examples of students and others who are exemplifying educational pursuit together. 


These images should feel in the moment and never posed, showcasing the amazing things our people are doing.

When scouting for these photos, look for desktops, work spaces, common areas, gathering spaces and other types of workstations to help convey the wide range of fields that the Purdue community explores every day. 


Photos in this category should express a sense of community that can happen only at Rice. This is the chance to capture the wide range of environments of Rice, indoors and out, and the activities of our students, faculty, staff and alumni on campus, in the region and beyond. When possible, capture students collaborating with others, as they demonstrate our shared goal of educational pursuit.


When shooting events, try to photograph as wide as possible to document both the entire story and close details. Always capture unique personalities in pairs and small groups. We are surrounded by amazing facilities in a state bursting with energy, so document all of its character. 

Best Practices

Here are some general considerations and best practices for shooting photographs for our brand. First we’ll look at a list of practices that lead to greater consistency. Then we’ll take a detailed look at the how we should plan for capturing moments in classroom settings in particular. 

Stylistic Considerations

By using a consistent style and approach, we can capture the best and most useful images and continue to support the evolved tone and look of our brand. 

  • Scenarios and locations should be authentic.
  • Each scenario should show individuals interacting. When situations present themselves, detail shots of moments can be captured as well. 
  • A range of emotions should be captured, from celebratory to serious. Emotions shouldn’t be forced, and not every person should always be smiling at the camera.
  • A balance of horizontal and vertical compositions is needed.
  • Thoughtful consideration should be given to photographic compositions that allow for ample negative space in design layouts.

Photographing Classroom Settings

Educational spaces vary drastically, and some can present unique challenges. Below are some tips for approaching most classroom setups so that the imagery captured is engaging, sophisticated and on-brand.

  • If at all possible, select locations and classrooms that have ample natural light. If that’s not possible, use a strobe light or lighting gear to create the sense of a single lighting source from one direction of the room.
  • Coordinate subjects and talent so that the room feels full. Doing so will allow compositions to have a foreground, middle ground and background. As images are captured, experiment with obstructing the foreground or middle ground to create unique and authentic depths to images.
  • Always plan for talent to be doing, studying, engaging or setting up an authentic act, instead of staging an event. When subjects are doing something real, they are less focused on the photographer and more on the action needed, especially if it’s familiar to them. It’s okay to ask folks to repeat the action, but by having them “perform” something they are familiar with (versus asking them to “act” through motions they aren’t), we will get images that feel more candid and authentic, instead of shots that feel awkward or staged.

Campus Policy

We are proud of the beauty of our campus, and of the fact that many Rice landmarks are regarded as Houston landmarks as well. Because of issues of privacy, security, potential disruption of campus activities and implied endorsement, the following policies have been established to help clarify the rights and responsibilities of our guests relating to campus photography, filming and videography.

Permissions and Registration

Photographers who wish to photograph clients at Rice University must complete the online photographer registration and submit a registration fee in order to schedule shoots. Reservations for photo sessions may only be made by registered photographers and such sessions are only permitted on campus with a confirmed reservation.

More information is available at

Drone Usage at Rice

For reasons of safety and security, use of aerial drones in the airspace above Rice property, whether for photography, instruction or recreation, requires specific prior permission. Individuals who attend campus events or transit through widely visited campus locations should be aware that they may appear in image and audio recordings of those events and locations, and that the resulting images and sound may be used for university promotional or archival purposes.

Please contact the Office of University Relations for details. See also The Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Policy (847).



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