This is probably my umpteenth blog on campus photography, but as a creative, it is truly one of my soapboxes. Or perhaps I should say apple boxes.

Picture this…an institution with a lively campus – it’s a place to be. Students creating a dynamic campus experience through events and traditions and the burgeoning spring and >poof!<


“Well, we don’t have pictures of that,” says the beleaguered campus design/art/creative director.

It’s time to change that situation. Spring is almost here.

Now is the time, as February comes to a close, to plan for a spring photoshoot (if you haven’t already).

While having organic photos captured on your campus, submitted by staff and students, is a vital source of ongoing content, your image library will be at its healthiest if it is receiving a steady (and that means at least twice annually) dose of new, professionally shot images. Not grip-and-grins, not the same pictures or perspectives captured year-and-again, but images that capture the campus that you want to share with prospective students to help make the experience come to life.

I’m passionate about this subject for multiple reasons. I’ve worked inside the academy and done the budgeting, planning, scouting, and coordinating for shoots. It’s tough to make the stars all align for weather, students, sites, and budget. H·A ThirtyOne conducts campus shoots and the same challenges are there — trying to get as many inspiring images on behalf of an institution as possible in the smallest amount of time.

But both of these scenarios are well worth the effort to avoid the frustration felt by enrollment officers and communications pros and counselors when an image library doesn’t do the institution justice. It’s an ever-more visual world, and your prospective students need to see your school. Capturing the image is the first step.

So start planning. Carve out some budget. Go to contingency if necessary or consider asking another division if they would partner on budget in exchange for specific images they need for their purposes. Get creative.

But bottom line, get the picture(s).

We’re ready to talk photoshoot planning with you. Email or call 336.688.5314

Karyn Adams, principal and creative director for H·A ThirtyOne, works closely with the enrollment leadership and strategic communicators on campuses across the country. She is a frequent presenter and speaker on campuses and at higher ed conferences, including NACAC, SACAC, AMA, and UCDA. Have some dots that need to be creatively connected? Contact Karyn at