How can we share our photos faster? Which photos are the most impactful for our audience? How should we organize our creative assets so we can find them later?
Every creative team in higher education, whether you work on campus or in athletics, is asking questions like these so they can take their content and their workflow to the next level. That’s why we asked three experts to answer your questions and share their secrets in our latest webinar, Cutting-Edge Visual Storytelling on Campus.
Meet the Experts
- Bernard Brzezinski, Director of Photography, University of Florida Communications / University Relations
- Paul Sadler, Creative Services Manager, Purdue Athletics
- Phyllis Graber Jensen, Director of Photography and Video, Bates College
Watch the on-demand webinar to see each expert walk through their communications strategy and how they power visual storytelling with digital asset management (DAM), or read through the Q&A below!
Q&A with Visual Storytelling Experts in Higher Ed and College Sports
Q: What is the size of your photography and video staff, and what kind of turn-around times are expected?
Bernard Brzezinski, UF: We have a staff of 3 photographers/videographers. The typical turnaround for an assignment varies from a few hours to a few days. We try to plan ahead as much as possible to reduce the number of last-minute assignments.
Paul Sadler, Purdue Athletics: Being the creative services manager, I manage a team of several graphic designers. I have two full-time graphic designers and several students throughout the year.
Q: What kind of photos have you found to be the most impactful for telling the story of your college? Why do those stand out?
Bernard Brzezinski, UF: On social, photos of campus and sports seem to resonate the most. In other outlets, I find that the images that have the farthest reach in general are tied to a collaboration with our highly skilled writers. The combination of impactful imagery with creative and impactful storytelling gives us the greatest rewards.
Q: Do you always give photo credit on Instagram even if photographer works for institution?
Bernard Brzezinski, UF: We try to give our photographers photo credit anytime we can. Here is what a typical credit looks like: University of Florida / Photographer’s Name.
Q: How do you handle photo releases?
Phyllis Graber Jensen, Bates College: Students are asked to sign a release when they matriculate and we also ask verbal or written permission when we can; with minors off-campus we ask for signed releases from parents or guardians; with faculty and staff we make verbal requests.
Bernard Brzezinski, UF: Great question. Here is a link to our best practices.
Q: Do you make Exposure galleries in addition to other galleries… like on your website?
Phyllis Graber Jensen, Bates College: We usually choose either or, but not both.
Bernard Brzezinski, UF: We do not. We are looking into the Exposure galleries and how they may contribute to our work in the future.
Q: How do your photographers deliver images in-game?
The Purdue Athletics team sends photos from the court straight to Libris so they can share in-game photos immediately on social media. Check out their step by step workflow in our case study.
Q: Do you use wifi or ethernet for uploading during events?
Phyllis Graber Jensen, Bates College: Wifi.
Note, the best option depends on your environment and your wifi connection. If a photographer is stationary (say, at a basketball game), ethernet can be the right option. If you have a fast, reliable wifi connection, wifi can be the better option because it gives your photographer more flexibility to move around.
Q: How do you manage sharing rights to your photos? How is it decided which photos can be shared to who, how and when?
Bernard Brzezinski, UF: We determine who our audiences are and how they might benefit from different types of images. For example, our internal communications staff has different needs than the rest of campus. We encourage staff to use our images for anything that can help elevate the stature of the University in an official capacity. Our “stock” photos are for all UF Faculty and staff to use and our event photos are generally reserved for the client who commissions the event. We have a section on the backend of our site that is labeled Client Transfer to create galleries for specific assignments for specific departments. Only those departments generally need access to those photos.
Q: How did you get people across campus to get onboard and use Libris in the right way?
Bernard Brzezinski, UF: Define the right way. Setting up a DAM is a learning curve for both the administrators and the end users. We are all growing together. I don’t know that there is a right or wrong way to use the system, but we are always cognisant that our users are not all the same. We make adjustments when necessary. Keep in mind that the system has to be setup logically for people to want to use it. No one wants to use a system where they can never find what they are looking for.
Q: How do you get buy-in from the various campuses and departments to use the same asset management system?
Bernard Brzezinski, UF: Provide quality imagery in an organized catalog. Make things as easy as possible for your end user. If you are trying to get other departments to provide assets, it may take a bit more coaxing. Let them know the benefits of a system where everyone contributes. The more people that contribute, the more robust the system becomes.
Q: What were some of the biggest challenges when you were first switching over to Libris from no DAM (or whatever DAM you had prior)?
Bernard Brzezinski, UF: The hardest part was figuring out how many folders we needed to appropriately organize the images. Too little folders and the images become a big mashup, too many folders and the system becomes difficult to navigate.
Q: For college athletics, what are recommended ways to organize folders (by sport, by year, by event) and what are recommended custom metadata categories?
Phyllis Graber Jensen, Bates College: We organize everything chronologically and use detailed captions and the keyword “athletics.” But depending on your needs and staffing, you can create a very robust keyword list for every sport/team and every coach/athlete on the roster. Obviously, this requires updates each season and is a lot of work for someone up front but makes searching a breeze.
Q: Did you add in your back catalogue to Libris or just start fresh and new?
Phyllis Graber Jensen, Bates College: We decided to start adding in from October 2014 when we hired the first Photo/Video Fellow. We have a student working on that but it is lowest priority and we still have a long way to go.
Bernard Brzezinski, UF: We did an initial transfer of an old site. Soon after, we decided it would be easier for us to start from scratch.
Q: Who is responsible for entering the data (player names)?
Phyllis Graber Jensen, Bates College: The photographer, but we may be tweaking our system and have a student add names after the game.
Q: Does it matter what resolution you upload your image to Libris?
Bernard Brzezinski, UF: Yes. Upload the highest resolution file you can. Images can always be downsized.
Cover photo: University of Florida / Lyon Duong.