Image Use

Using WWU Images

Western Washington University uses still images and video footage of campus life, events, ceremonies, and other activities to advance the mission of the University.

Images and footage taken for WWU are available for non-commercial use by WWU staff and faculty. Media outlets and publications may use images and footage with WWU's approval. Photos should be credited “Western Washington University/photographer’s name” in all instances.

To view our libraries of Western Washington University images and videos, visit our Media Libraries page.

FERPA and Image Use

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is designed to protect confidential student records. Some photographs and videos of students are considered a form of ‘student record,’ and thus subject to the limitations imposed by FERPA. Typically, unless a student consents (or a FERPA exception applies), Western will not disclose information from a student’s education record to third parties.

If you are planning to photograph or video a student, or collect a statement, you are required to acquire their permission via Western’s Permission/Release form.

Learn more about FERPA-related guidelines on our FERPA page.

Public Spaces and Sculptures

Generally, releases are not required to take a photograph or videotape of individuals in public spaces, as there is a minimal expectation of privacy in such spaces. However, the use of the materials may be limited if a release has not been obtained.

Examples of public spaces at Western are sporting events at Harrington Field, Commencement, Red Square, and even at times non‐sensitive invited events.

Images that feature campus sculpture as the subject of the photo rather than a background image should not be used for commercial purposes or business purposes on behalf of the university. Limitations with regard to specific sculptures are outlined in the artist agreements.

While some public figures, such as elected officials, celebrities, and prominent speakers have a less limited expectation of privacy than members of the general public, consent should still be obtained and intended usage should be discussed with guests to campus prior to taking photo or video.

It is important to use your best judgement when captioning or describing those depicted i.e. listing those photographed as members of a crowd of observers versus assuming they are participants in the event. Clarity of descriptions is particularly important when photographing demonstrations, protests or other sensitive events.

Copyright and Digital Photos

In addition to privacy issues it is important that individuals remain mindful of potential copyright issues that pertain to communication on behalf of the University. Typically, Western owns the copyright in photos and videos taken by Western employees as part of their employment duties. Payment to an independent photographer/videographer does not convey copyright rights to images or video unless Western obtains a written agreement from the photographer/videographer stating that Western will retain copyright as a part of the contract. Western’s use rights may be limited to those purposes specifically communicated during the written agreement at the time the photographer was hired. For this reason, it is important to have a written agreement with the contractor that states what ownership or use rights Western will have with respect to the photos or videos produced by the contractor and what rights, if any, the contractor retains. As digital photos and videos can be used repeatedly and for different purposes, it is important to document the nature and scope of releases or permissions at the time of the initial contract.

Photography/Website Image Standards and Guidelines

Images are encouraged throughout Western’s websites as they provide value and visual interest to the pages. However, presentation is important when choosing the images because they reflect the college, its programs and departments.

Images that do not meet the following standards will not be displayed or will be removed. Questions about specific images may be directed to

Resolution and Size for Drupal Websites

Use this list to determine if your images are formatted correctly for the web.

  • Images should be used at 100 percent of their size at 72 dpi to provide the best loading time for the page.
  • Images should be added to the Media folder then linked correctly to display responsively for mobile devices.
  • The size of the image should be such that any wrapping text is still legible. Images that are extremely horizontal or vertical are more difficult to fit in the format for the website.
  • On pages where there are multiple images (such as a group of cards, or a directory listing), the images should be the same size and quality.
  • It is important to keep the file size as small as possible to ensure that the page loads quickly. In most cases, this can be done by making sure that the physical size of the actual file is the same as the size it should be displayed on the screen.

Note: While it is possible to resize an image using HTML code, it is not a best practice, as it dilutes the quality of the image and often results in a longer page load.

Preferred Formats

Images should be used in a format most technically suited for the image type.

  • JPG/JPEG: The preferred format for posting photography online. JPG/JPEG images can contain millions of colors and can be compressed to your desired size. These sizes are recommended:
    • Photoshop Quality level 80 - small images.
    • Photoshop Quality level 60 - large images.
  • GIF: Generally used for non-photographic images of 256 colors or less, such as logos, icons and arrows.
  • PNG: Non-compressed images that should be used if their file size is comparable to that of a JPG.

Rules of thumb:

  • Images used on the website must be less than 1MB. (30-80kb is preferred).
  • Most images used in blocks can be cropped and resized 4:3 ratios, or 600px x 400px.
  • Header images should be sized 1500w x 350t with the action taking place in the center third of the image, both horizontally and vertically. The average header image saved at 72dpi is approximately 300k in size. Avoid images of text when possible, as often text is not legible when the image is displayed on a phone or other small device.