FAQ

How do I request a photo shoot?

All requests for new photography must go through our photo request form. You should provide as much detail as possible when you submit your request. If you are requesting an event, include a timeline and any important shots you'd like to have. If you are requesting a portrait or a series of portraits, be sure to include the names of the people being photographed and any style considerations. For instance, are you trying to match a style of photo from the past? Do you simply need a basic, standard head shot? The more information we have about your photo shoot, the better we can help you achieve your vision. We strongly recommend reading through this FAQ as well as reviewing our assignment acceptance policy before submitting your request.

How long before a shoot do I need to submit a request form?

We require a request in hand a minimum of 10 business days before a shoot.

Do you accept every request you receive?

This is a more complicated answer than you might expect. We attempt to assign some sort of photographer to 90% of the requests we receive. However, who we assign is determined by our assignment acceptance policy. We strongly encourage you to read this before (or at least after) making your request. The short story is that there are many more requests than there are available staff photographers. That means we've had to prioritize what we do, and do not, assign to our staffers.

If your request is not assigned to a staff photographer, it will most likely be added to our student photography queue where one of our student photographers can accept it (pending availability). Other options include a loaner camera so that you or someone on your staff can take pictures, or our list of professional freelance photographers. Keep in mind that these freelancers are not controlled by Photo Services. We vet their portfolios, but their rates are set independently.

What's the difference between a staff photographer and a student?

About $5/hour. [Rim shot] Thank you, we'll be here all night. Actually there's quite a bit of difference. Our staff photographers are skilled in almost all types of photography. You can count on the photos you receive from them to show a level of sophistication you won't find with most students. Spot on exposures, creative compositions, and most of all, skilled use of natural and artificial light - these are the things that set our staff photographers apart.

However, not all requests require this level of skill. Our student photographers have varying degrees of experience, but we train them to be thorough and professional. Most of the time they'll make acceptable images from the requests we offer them. Most students do not have much experience with artificial light. So in those cases where we assign them to take studio portraits, one of our staff photographers will adjust the lighting.

What will this cost me?

Nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. Okay, actually it might cost you something; we will charge any travel expenses back to your budget. This is usually mileage and parking.

When will my photos be ready? What happens to my photos after the shoot?

We do our best to prepare and deliver your images within 10 business days of a photo shoot. This time frame can expand significantly during busy times of year - such as the beginning of fall semester and the end of spring semester. Why the hold up? Every image that we keep from a shoot is toned, color corrected, and cropped to make it look as good as possible (no matter the skill of the photographer, very few images arrive out of the camera perfectly). We also caption each image and keyword it from a master list of more than 1,000 words. This ensures that we can find your images in the future. Keep in mind that for every solid hour of shooting we do, we may spend twice that amount polishing your images and preparing them for archiving. If you have an immediate need for a few select images, please talk to your photographer and he will attempt to deliver a few (less than 10) images on an accelerated time line. Please exercise this option only if absolutely necessary.

There are several delivery options for your images. Some of these delivery options carry small charges. No matter how we deliver your images, we will also keep master copies in our permanent archive. Photos of a sensitive or extremely exclusive nature will be stored in a restricted area accessible only by authorized personnel.

If your request was assigned to a student photographer your images will always be delivered on a CD free of charge. You should keep this CD in a safe place as we consider it the master copy of your images. There is a $7 chargeback for a replacement CD.

What about image credit?

Any images used outside the university MUST be used with an appropriate credit: Photographer Name/University of St. Thomas

Any images used inside the university may be used with the credit: Photographer Name/University Relations. This is not a requirement.

Who owns the images from the shoot I requested?

All images are owned (and copyright is held) by the University of St. Thomas unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Are there any restrictions on how I can use UST images?

Except for media requests and other appropriate promotional venues, we ask that you not distribute any electronic files to parties outside of St. Thomas. As an example: Often times portrait subjects will request digital copies of their portrait. In these cases we do not give out the digital file but will ask the department that originally requested the portrait if they would like to provide a free hard copy print to the portrait subject. We will then assist the portrait subject in obtaining that print.

We also review requests by students to use our images on a case by case basis. Please refer any student requests to us.

For images used within the university we ask that you not mix photos from different university divisions. As an example, you should not use a photo of an Opus College of Business student in an ad for the School of Law. However, using that student in a general university ad would be acceptable.

We also ask that you use special caution when using photos of children or other vulnerable people.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Director of Photography Mike Ekern.

I found a great photo on the UST Web site. It's okay if I just grab it, right?

Only if you like having our buddy Guido come over to break your thumbs. Screen grabs and right clicks are not the proper way to obtain an image and in some cases could get you in real trouble. As just one example, some images shot for St. Thomas Magazine have been authorized for use only on that publication's site. So instead of grabbing an image from a site you don't own, why not get in touch with us. Not only will we tell you if you're authorized to use the image in question, but we can get it to you in the proper format. And in those cases where you're not allowed to use an image, we'll help you find suitable alternatives.

Oh, and if you're thinking of grabbing an image and using it on a non-UST site, you could get in even more trouble as you'll be violating the university's copyright. And no, the way you're using it is probably not fair use.

Long story short: If you see an image on a UST Web site you'd like to use get in touch. We're generally pretty nice guys and Guido would much rather sit on our couch and watch reruns of "Who's the Boss" than come out and break your thumbs.

I need images scanned. How should I proceed?

As long as the images are for St. Thomas use you may contact Mike Ekern to talk about options for scanning some or all of your images. We can scan images from prints, negatives, or slides.

Do you collect model releases?

We collect model releases for every portrait we shoot. We also collect releases for any directed photo shoot involving 10 people or less. These releases are filed in a database maintained by University Relations. We do not collect releases for reception-type events, sporting events, candid scenes around campus, or classroom photography. If you are the contracting department for one of these types of photo sessions, you are welcome to collect model releases on your own and we will file them for you. You may download our model release here. Our release for minors is here.