Photography assignments

For best results, photo shoots need to be well organised. Important factors include:

  • description of assignment and identification of target group
  • selection of photographer
  • quote(s)
  • briefing
  • practical arrangements
  • agreements on delivery and processing.

The assignment

The description of the assignment forms the basis for the shoot. This involves the following aspects:

  • What are the photos for (recruitment, report, accompaniment to an article, testimonials, etc.)?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Where will the photos be used (printed matter, website, etc.)?
  • Do you need a single image or a photo reportage? Is the shoot thematic in nature?
  • What specific requirements must the photos meet (style, approach, portrait/landscape format)?

Be sure to formulate these aspects as clearly as possible prior to your first discussion with the photographer.

Selection of photographer

For photography assignments, UM works with selected preferred supplier photographers. These photographers are aware of our guidelines and have fixed agreements with UM on image and portrait rights.

Click here for more information and the contact details of our preferred supplier photographers. You can request a quote from each photographer through the central image editor.


You can ask one or more preferred supplier photographers to provide a quote based on the description of the assignment. Be sure to explain the assignment accurately and thoroughly to enable the photographer to make the best possible estimate of the time and costs involved. During this conversation, the photographer may also share his/her professional insights or ideas about the assignment.

The quote can be drawn up on the basis of a fixed order price or—in the case of a more extensive photo reportage—an hourly rate. In the latter case, be sure to clearly indicate the budget in advance, and never issue an open-ended assignment. For large projects, ask the photographer to send you a regular update on costs.

Always check and compare written quotes carefully before commissioning an assignment. The central image editor can help you with this.


A clear written briefing is a precondition for the success of a photo shoot. We have created a standard briefing form on which you can specify times, locations, points of interest, contact details and delivery terms. This provides clarity for all parties.

 Download the briefing form (ENG).

Practical arrangements

Planning and organising a good photo shoot is often more time-consuming than the shoot itself. Make agreements in advance as to who will do what. Consider the following aspects:

  • selection of location(s), prior viewings
  • permission from building/location managers
  • contact with lecturers, researchers, receptionists, other parties involved
  • student models
  • time (re. activities at the location and natural light)
  • room decoration
  • transportation (of people and equipment)
  • clothing, props
  • catering.

Some photographers like to perform some or all of these tasks themselves to keep the lines of communication short. This can be an advantage, but be sure to ask in advance about any financial consequences.

Delivery and processing

UM has fixed agreements with its on the rights for the commissioned photos. UM may use these photos royalty free in all on- and offline communications, including our social-media channels, outdoor advertising, stands, promotional material, advertisements, etc.

The photographer can only charge royalties if a photo is made available to a third party outside UM. This is only possible with the permission of the university client. For more information, please contact the central image editor.

Make clear agreements about the delivery of the photo files. Images or photo reportages that you wish to use quickly are usually delivered by means of an online file transfer. In the central UM agreements, the photographer is always asked to supply a CD or DVD before an agreed deadline.

Ask the photographer to make a pre-selection from the raw material and then choose which photos are to be edited and delivered digitally. An online gallery is a useful tool for previewing the photos.

Ensure that all photos are delivered with a high resolution, so there are no restrictions on using the images at a later stage. You can always reduce large files to smaller (web) format without loss of quality, but not the other way around.

The photographer is responsible for the technical aspects of the photo, such as colour, contrast, crop, resolution, etc. Any edits in Photoshop must be performed by the photographer before delivery. Do not edit the photo yourself if you think you have spotted a colour deviation; most such deviations are caused by the quality or settings of your monitor. Photographers work with professional (calibrated) monitors that display the exact colours.