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:

1. 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. 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 time, lighting is even and gentle and won't cause the subject to squint.

       Face Light

2. 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.

  Image against window 

3. Keep the background simple, avoid busy backgrounds. Consider using a wall or a natural setting for a background.

  Image busy background  

4. 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.

Image not centered 

6. 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."


7. 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.


Thumbnail Photo ID and Profile Photo ID

The photo you submitted will appear in two different places, as thumbnail Photo ID, which will appear on the faculty / staff / graduate student list, and as Profile Photo ID.