Students in a science lab framed by the BenU banner


Photography is a compelling tool for portraying the diverse and dynamic nature of our community. Our photography captures the Benedictine experience and connects with people in ways that words can’t.

Photo Style

Photography plays an important role in our communications because it visually tells our story. The images should highlight faculty, students and the community, both in the classroom and on campus.


Portrait photos should have an authenticity that comes from real emotion. The photos below are stock images are not owned by BenU, but the style is what we should work toward. Our portraiture can range from lighthearted and warm to more serious and academic. It’s important to maintain a balance of these moods in communications.

Examples of appropriate portraiture photo style


Our slice-of-life images document peer-to-peer collaborations and interactions between faculty and students. Balance these group shots with photos of individuals who are engaged in their activity or area of study. These images should feel candid, natural and in the moment, never posed or generic. The subject should not typically be looking directly at the camera. Representing people in their natural, everyday environments is important. Depictions of students in a classroom or working environment should feel intimate and authentic. Natural light should be used whenever possible. Outside the classroom, it’s important to show people in an energetic setting, whether that’s on campus or abroad.

Examples of appropriate slice-of-life photo style


By portraying our campuses authentically, our readers can better imagine themselves experiencing our people, places and way of life. When possible, images should include the sky and rich foliage, highlighted by natural light. Campus images should convey an appropriate level of energy and movement, and should feel genuine to the on-campus experience.

Examples of appropriate campus photo style

Duotone and Light Leaks

Use duotone and light leak effects to help portray our driven and welcoming environment. Duotone work best with portraiture. Try to use portraits with a simple background, like a wall or studio backdrop. Light leak photography works best when using natural light to leak through the photo. The photos below are stock images and are not owned by BenU, but the style is what we should work toward.


Examples of duotone photo style

Light Leaks

Examples of light leaks photo style

Using Photography


Carefully crop images to focus on the subject and communicate with the audience more effectively.

Example photo shown before and after cropping to focus the subject


Follow these steps to create duotone images.

Photo converted to black and white

Step One

Convert the image to black and white in Photoshop and save it as a TIFF file.

Photo with background set to light blue from color palette

Step Two

Place the image in InDesign and change the bounding box to PMS 5513, 4525, 7752 or 7416. Do not use any color from the palette other than the ones listed here.

Final duotone photo

Step Three

Select the image and change the color to PMS 540. Do not use any other color from the palette.

Layering Type and Graphic Elements

Text and graphic elements should never be placed over faces. Always make sure that the text is legible over a photo.

Example of photo framed by banner with text overlaid

Light Leaks

In photography, light leaks are created when light seeps in through the cracks in a camera’s body or lens. Normally this is an unwanted effect, but when it’s used deliberately, it can add character to photographs. Use this technique to lighten an image and give it a bright, warm feeling.

To simulate light leaks, follow the steps shown here. The technique can range from strong and obvious to light and subtle, but it should never obscure important subject matter.

Example of a stock light leak

Step One

Purchase a light leak from a stock website.

Photo to which the light leak will be applied

Step Two

Choose an image from our photo library.

Photo with light leak added

Step Three

In Photoshop or InDesign, place the light leak over the photo and set it to Screen in the Effects Palette. Add a gradient feather to the light leak to add more contrast. Then adjust the settings until the desired effect is reached.

Photography Misuses

Example of inappropriate photo use with text over subjects' faces

Don't place text over faces.

Example of inappropriate photo use with a crowd photo with no focus point

Don't use images that lack a point of focus.

Inappropriate photo use example with photo stretched out of proportion

Never stretch or distort images.

Example of inappropriate photo use with a photo filtered to be pixelated

Never pixelize images.

Example of inappropriate photo use with a color filter applied

Never apply artistic filters to images.

Example of inappropriate photo use with a blurry photo

Never use soft-focus or out-of-focus images.