Photography and Video

Guidance for where to find our photography, and tips for creating videos, including branded graphics and slides for download.

On this page:


Ask Steve Sturman (video) or Sarah Watson (photography) for assistance.

Finding and Capturing Photos

UB's Photo Database offers eye-catching images of campus life, iconic UB locations and traditions, and much more. You can search by keyword, location or year. Please make a note of the image caption for use in publications or as alt text for web accessibility.

Taking photos yourself?

  • Follow the rule of thirds.
  • Fill the frame. When in doubt, use a horizontal angle. 
  • Don't cut off limbs when photographing people and look for elements behind your subjects that will be difficult to crop later. 
  • Take a test photo to check your lighting. Then take two or three photos quickly in a row to limit photos with eyes shut. 
  • Avoid posed photos when possible. 

Consent for Filming

General Release Form

Always obtain consent for the use of an individual's photo, video, voice, etc. on the School of Social Work's various platforms. Download the form below for this purpose:

Photography Notice for Events

At events, it's impractical to secure a signed release from every attendee. In these situations, post one of the following signs to let attendees know that photos or video will be captured during the event.

  • Notice for small events (PDF) - Encourages attendees to consult with the photographer/videographer if they do not wish to be filmed
  • Notice for large events (PDF) - Simply advises attendees that they may be filmed (used for events where it may not be logistically feasible for attendees to lodge requests to avoid filming)

Video Production

Video is a critical tool for communication across social media, websites, advertising and more. To ensure your message is clear, compelling and on brand, review these best practices and guidelines. University Communications offers video templates to get you started. 

If you are going to shoot video on a phone, please turn the device so that you are shooting in a horizontal manner, unless you're filming a vertically oriented video for Instagram Reels or a similar platform.

If you are recording a presentation or speaker, request a copy of the remarks to help the future captioning process. 

Download the School of Social Work outro slide

UB School of Social Work logo with

Video Captioning

To comply with university’s web accessibility policy, the School of Social Work requires all videos to have captions.

  • Videos will be set to private and will not be publicly accessible until custom captions are provided by the unit requesting the video.
  • Custom captions must be 99.5% accurate (training or instruction can be provided on this). Captions must:
    • Convey background information — which communicates key contextual content that isn’t spoken, such as who is speaking, the music playing, when something is inaudible, etc. — through the use of square brackets.
    • Include any words displayed visually in the video, such as graphics or PowerPoint slide details, through quotation marks inside of square brackets.
    • Use proper punctuation.
    • Caption spoken words verbatim.
    • Identify the speaker with full name and/or title the first time they are on screen. 

There are three ways to get videos captioned:

  • Obtain a caption file (e.g., .srt) from a service like (will contain time stamps). Please note: This company will only caption spoken words and obvious sounds (like applause, a dog barking, an airplane), but will not describe important visual elements, such as slide details. You will need to add those items.
  • Get access to YouTube, via a request to Steve Sturman, to go in and edit the auto-captions the platform generates. 
    • YouTube auto captions will not suffice, as they are only 80% accurate (at best), with frequent misspellings (such as "you be" for "UB"). In addition, you will need to manually add references to music, speakers or text that is seen on screen but not spoken.
  • Provide a custom-captioned, time-stamped Word document. You can request a copy of the auto-generated captions from YouTube to edit those.

For questions, please contact Steve Sturman or Sarah Watson.

Music for Videos

Music is a great addition to videos to help increase interest and excitement. Please note: You must follow copyright guidelines and have permission to use any music included in a file. A recording of a live performance does not necessarily protect us from copyright flags. If your video is flagged, it will be unpublished. 

Free music files are available from YouTube and from these vendors: