Commissioning photography

Before you commission photography

Review what’s already available, it could save you time and money:

  • The University image library contains thousands of images.
  • External image libraries, like iStock or Shutterstock offer thousands of professionally shot images.
  • Discuss your requirements with your faculty marketing team or with the Communications Production team – something similar may already exist or be planned, or we may suggest we jointly commission the photography.

If you decide to commission new photography, please share your best images at the end of the project via the University image library. This saves the University money, avoids duplication and give us all more choice. Find out how to use the University image library.

Choosing a photographer and organising payment

Legally, you must use one of our approved photographers, unless the photographs are being taken outside the UK. Our suppliers were selected through a rigorous process and in line with University purchasing policies. Read our Photographers pricing information (Word document download).

Your next steps depend on how much the photography will cost:

  • Less than £5,000 – you can approach one of our approved photographers directly for a quote. If you want to get quotes from two or more photographers, you must let them know that they are competing for the work. Once you have chosen your photographer, follow the University procurement process on the Purchasing website.
  • From £5,000 to £25,000 – you must get quotes from at least three of our approved photographers and save the quotes for audit purposes.
  • More than £25,000 – follow the University financial procedures on the Purchasing website.


If you cancel a photoshoot at short notice (less than one week before the shoot) the photographer has the right to charge you a percentage of their fee. They usually charge this where they are unable to fill your timeslot with alternative jobs. The photographer can usually tell you at the time you cancel if a fee will apply and how much it will be.