Release Forms

  • Release forms should be used when necessary to obtain proper permission to use a subject’s image in any and all University communications.
  • Release forms are not needed for photos, video or images of people in public places where a reasonable expectation of privacy is not possible.
  • In general, if minors are featured in photos or video, written permission from the respective parent or guardian should be obtained before a shoot begins.
  • If photographing or capturing video in a school, the photographer/videographer should check with the administration about media releases for the children. If students do not have a release signed by a parent or guardian, they must not be used in any way in a video or photograph.
  • Link to release form [PDF]


  • The Assistant Vice President for Communications handles media requests for photos and videos.

  • Photos and Videos should not be removed or copied from the archive without permission from the above party or the Digital communications coordinator.

  • Original video files (examples: .mov, .m4v, etc) should never be distributed to any outside party unless approved by the Digital communications coordinator. We typically distribute only links to videos via social media platforms or direct link to YouTube / Vimeo.

  • Aside from official media usage, images should not be distributed to parties outside the University. Exceptions are made for subjects of photos and videos. See below.

  • Distribution of photos or videos to subjects is permitted only after the images have been published by the University or presented as originally intended.

University President

  • The president is the public face of the entire University and all imagery of him/her should be clean, well-thought out and campus-neutral when appropriate.
  • When possible, use professional lighting.
  • Photos used in social media should be properly lit and photographed with a professional camera when possible. Cell phone photos should be avoided.
  • If video is used in social media, video should be properly lit and filmed with a professional camera when possible. Cell phone video should be avoided.

Distribution of Photos and Videos

  • As the bearers of the visual identity of the University of Tennessee, we strive to share our University-generated content with constituents, the media and those featured in the photographs when permissible.
  • Original photo files (JPEGS, TIFF or RAW) should never be distributed to outside parties.
  • Heavily edited photos for use as illustrations should not be distributed without permission of the Digital communications coordinator.
  • When distributing images, only those with complete metadata should be distributed to parties outside the UT System Office of Communications and Marketing.
  • By releasing a photo to any outside party, including our constituents, you acknowledge that you are releasing a photo “into the wild” and cannot ultimately control its use or publication in the future. Keep those implications in mind before releasing an official university photograph.
  • Photos in our archive that were not made by or for the University – as in, those originally belonging to outside parties – especially in situations involving copyright protection, should not be distributed in any circumstance without permission from the copyright holder.
  • Photos may be distributed to parties outside the UT System Office of Communications and Marketing if they are one of the following:
    • Campus constituents: we strive to share all photos with our campuses and their entities when needed.
    • Media: photos may be shared with the media only after approval from the Assistant Vice President for Communications. Special attention should be given to the look of the photo and the subjects therein before distributing. Photos MUST be properly credited to the University and the photographer when that information is available.
      • Ex. (Adam Brimer / University of Tennessee)
      • OR (Courtesy of Jane Doe’s Family) when permission is granted to distribute
    • Photo subjects: photos may be distributed to the people or families of those featured in the photos with the permission of the Digital communications coordinator ONLY after they are published as originally intended.
    • Commercial / political purposes: no photos, under any circumstances, generated by or for this office may be used in a commercial or political setting or for commercial or political purposes.

Other Campus Resources

Need photos of UTC?
Contact Chuck Cantrell

Need photos of UTM?
Contact Nathan Morgan

Need photos of UT Knoxville?
Contact Nick Myers

Need photos of UTHSC?
Contact Thurman Hobson