Portrait Photography Guide



Each COLA faculty, graduate student, and staff member can submit a digital photo of themselves for use on their COLA web profiles. 

Follow best practices to achieve professional-quality portraits using your cellphone.  

Guidelines to Follow:



Partner up

Having a partner take your photo will make it possible to have enough distance between you and the camera so that you are properly framed in the composition. 



Back-lit photos or photos with the light source directly behind you should be avoided because this causes the face to be in the shadow. Choose a place with good lighting. It is best to have even lighting across your face, so there are minimal shadows on your face. You can achieve this by facing directly towards the source of light. Outdoor lighting is best between 7:45 pm and 8:30 pm in the summer, lighting is even and gentle and won't cause the subject to squint.



Keep the background simple and avoid busy background, consider an interior wall or a natural setting.



To avoid any part of your portrait being out of frame, ensure that your face is centered and that the entirety of your head, chin, and ideally shoulders are visible.


Have a natural facial expression, smiling or neutral face expression.

In-Camera Effects

Please do not colorize or use a filter on your photos.
The one exception is maybe using the bocca blur option for blurring out the background if your phone or digital camera has this option, however, this effect is not necessary.


Ensure that the photo you submit has a dimension of at least 200x300 px. Most cameras (traditional cameras and smartphone cameras) will provide photos that exceed this threshold. Here is how you can check this.

  • Mac: in your Finder, right-click on the image and click "Get Info."
  • Windows: in your Files, right-click on the image and click "Properties."
Submit your photo to Please keep in mind the naming convention LastName_FirstName_UTEID_role_mm-dd-yyyy.
  • Role can be shortened to fac or g-stdnt.
  • Date is the date the photo is uploaded.

The photo you submit will appear in two different places:

Thumbnail Photo ID (Appears on the faculty / staff / graduate student list)

Thumbnail photo

Profile Photo ID

Profile photo