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Photography and Video Guidelines

Representing Clarke Through Videos and Photography

As part of the university community, we want to empower you to share all the good things that are happening here at Clarke. For many projects and events, videos and photographs can be excellent tools to help raise awareness and support your efforts.

The following guidelines will assist you in obtaining quality videos and photos of internal campus events, classes, and activities. If you have questions on any of these guidelines or you need help obtaining videos and photos of events held on the Clarke campus that are open to the public, please contact the marketing team at



  • Avoid busy patterns on clothing and backgrounds for the best imagery.
  • Avoid photos that show clothing with logos of other colleges.
  • If using headshots, keep face sizes consistent.
  • Cartoons, line drawings, clip art, etc., are not appropriate for our visual system.
  • Photos should communicate a personality that is inviting, real, and honest.
  • They should be intriguing, simple, and always chosen with the purpose of telling a story.


  • Photos do not necessarily need to be centered.
  • Use the rule of thirds and keep the sharpness on the focus point of your image. If the background doesn’t need to be included, shallow your depth of field to be just the central focus.


  • Blurry/over pixilated shots
  • Avoid clearly staged photos
  • Do not over process the editing and coloring stages
  • Avoid poorly lit locations
    • Not enough natural light
    • Back lit by a door or window



  • When shooting an interview, it is important to make the shot look nice. Either put the subject in the center, or off to the left or right, but make sure to leave space. Use the rule of thirds.
  • Find an interesting, but not overly distracting, background. Make sure there is not anything there you do not want. Make sure nothing appears to be sticking out of your subject in awkward ways.
  • Pay attention to the amount of space between the subject’s head and the top of the frame (called head room). Eyeball this, but it should be about 10% of the total height of the shot.


  • Video for web viewing should be no longer than two minutes. Statistics indicate that people stop watching after 2:20. Ideal timing for event videos is five minutes or less.
  • Everything that is long-form (not TikTok or Reels) is shot in widescreen, so hold your camera/phone horizontally. Or, if you want to think about it this way, how would your shot look on your TV at home?
  • Avoid busy patterns on clothing and backgrounds for the best imagery on screen. Solids are best!
  • Avoid filming in heavily trafficked or noisy areas to ensure good-quality sound.
  • The college logo should be included at the end of any video.
  • Please see design and web brand guidelines for the appropriate fonts, colors, and graphic standards.
  • Best Practices
    • Create a storyboard so you know which shots you are looking to get. Learn tips for creating a storyboard.
    • Create a script if the video needs it.
    • Compile questions together to get the best talking points.
    • Quality test before shooting.
      • Will the window throw off lighting?
      • Are there other sounds nearby that will make it hard to hear the person speaking?
      • Is the mic on?
      • Is it recording?
      • Is it on the correct memory card?
      • Is the lens cap off?
      • What marks is your focus person hitting?
    • Ensure footage is free of copyright with apparel and music.
      • Reach out to the Marketing office for information on licensing music


  • Audio
    • Move slightly away from crowds.
    • Move in closer to your subject.
    • If they are a soft talker, ask them to speak up.
    • Consider purchasing a cellphone microphone or microphone adapter.
  • Lighting
    • Is the room bright enough? If the light seems dim to your eyes, it is too dark for your camera. Move to a brighter room if possible.
    • Don’t backlight your subject—avoid placing bright lights, windows, or other light sources directly behind your subject.
  • Camera Operation
    • Video Quality Settings
      • Cell phones have either HD (1280 x 1080p) or Full HD (1920 x 1080p) options.
      • Choose, at minimum, the HD settings for a good-quality video.
    • Crop Settings
      • To ensure a seamless video, stay consistent with your crop settings.
      • Wide (16:9)
      • Regular (4:3)
      • Square (1:1)
    • Video format
      • QuickTime (.mov)
      • MPEG (.mp4)
    • Audio
      • Music should be around -20dB when being used where the focus is speaking.
      • When no one is speaking, music should be around 0dB.
      • Genre of background music should fit the video mood, content, and style.
      • No cuss words or negative thoughts when picking music.
      • Reach out to the Marketing office for information on licensing music.
  • Stabilization
    • Hold the camera steady.
      • Tucking your elbows into your body and using a “defensive stance” will turn your body into a natural tripod.
        • If you can, use a tripod, monopod, or gimble for stabilization.
  • Orientation
    • Keep your phone flipped to landscape (horizontal) mode, not portrait (vertical), unless the video is for vertical, social media stories.
      • Filming in the portrait orientation will create “black bars” on either side of your shot.


  • B-roll is supplemental or alternate footage that gets intercut with the main shot in an interview or documentary film. B-roll covers the details of all the stuff around your subject—shots of crowds, landscapes, or anything to give reference.
    • Here are a few guidelines:
      • You can never have too much b-roll.
      • Shot length should be at least 10 seconds, longer if action directs.
      • Try different camera angles when shooting b-roll. Shoot low, high, close-up, then get closer.


  • Avoid zooming in and out with your camera.
    • Your cell phone camera likely only has digital zoom. This means it is not actually zooming, but is simply magnifying the pixels, which results in poor image quality later. Zooming in and out during a shot can make the viewer uncomfortable.
  • Avoid walking/moving shots as much as possible, as they create shaky, unusable footage. Gimbles help remove unstable footage.
  • Avoid capturing any logo or brand that does not fit Clarke’s atmosphere.
    • Avoid other college logos
  • Avoid focusing on all men, or all women, or all of one race. Be sure to diversify the video.
  • Color correction should only be attempted by a professional with experience.

Video Editing Software

Great video editing software can help you produce high-quality video for a variety of channels. There are a number of easy-to-use editing programs that can help you create the perfect video, and here are a few we recommend for ease of use and accessibility.


  • Adobe Premier Pro – Premier is the preferred video editing software for the most professional-looking video. It has all the necessities for creating high-quality, professional-grade videos: the ability to crop videos to any size,  easily cut clips to the perfect length, an extensive “Help” feature, and add-in effects for color, stabilization, or audio. Premiere is part of the Adobe Suite and does require a purchase or free one-month trial, but is worth the investment if you find yourself editing frequently.
  • Final Cut Pro – Final Cut Pro is an Apple-based editing software. Similar to Premier, it has a cost to purchase. Final Cut Pro runs very similar to Premier and offers a lot of tools. If you are more familiar with Apple products, this may be a good choice.
  • iMovie – iMovie is a free editing software made by Apple. Users are able to import footage and edit clips with visual and audio cues. As a free product, services such as effects and essential graphics are limited, as is the workflow process. This is best for simple edits.
  • CapCut – CapCut is a free service that was made for mobile devices and recently transferred over to the world of desktop. CapCut offers easy-to-use editing functions with limited effects. For those who don’t use Apple, it makes a great free editing software.


  • CapCut – CapCut is the newest mobile editing software. If you want to create content for social media such as TikTok or Instagram, this is the most up-to-date software. Features include text-to-speech, stickers, trending effects or filters, and music and sound effects. It is free to download and available on both Android and iOS. You are able to upgrade to a paid version with more options.
  • InShot – Similar to CapCut in editing software, InShot can handle basic cut and trim videos on your mobile device. It is free to download and available on both Android and iOS. You are able to upgrade to a paid version with more options.
  • Splice – Created by the makers of GoPro, it lets you import, trim, and edit video clips. Unlike other mobile apps, it lets you add multiple audio tracks to one project. It is free to download but only available to iOS devices.