Photography Guidelines for the HHS Brand

Photography should communicate the HHS commitment to improving the care and well-being of Texans through the Champion archetype.

Original and stock photographs should follow the HHS Champion brand, showing HHS staff championing for the people of Texas and how HHS services improve the lives of Texans.

HHS photography should evoke feelings of authenticity (not look staged), action, confidence, professionalism, empowerment and engagement. These guidelines apply to original photography and stock photography purchased.

Selecting Champion Photos

Ensure photographs used for HHS materials adhere to copyright laws. Images found online must have clear information about usage. If the image copyright is unclear, do not use the image.

  • Models in photos should look natural.
  • Lighting should appear natural to the scene. Avoid photos with harsh or high-contrast lighting or photos taken at unusual angles or with altered perspective.
  • When possible, choose models with a positive demeanor; models do not have to be smiling but should look confident.
  • Don’t use photos of people conveying emotions outside the Champion brand, such as overly ecstatic or sad, as appropriate for the audience.
  • Avoid cropping off faces from the frame.
  • Avoid extreme close-ups of people’s faces or hands.
  • Use high-resolution images without pixelation.
  • Don’t use stretched or skewed images.
  • Find photos with the subject in focus; a blurred background is fine.
  • Whenever possible, show diversity.

Taking Champion Photos

When taking photographs, HHS staff and vendors must secure signed releases, especially if the photo will be the centerpiece of HHS communications and campaign materials. Staff can email the HHSC Office of Communications for further guidance.

It is not necessary to get releases for adults photographed at public events if the image will not be the centerpiece of HHS communications and campaign materials. Signed releases are required for children.

In all cases, photographers should not capture images of anyone who does not want to be photographed.

  • Shoot photos in an appropriate, live environment where the subject appears natural and engaged.
  • Have the Champion brand conveyed by the photo’s main subject, preferably an HHS employee.
  • Show HHS employees being champions for the people of Texas when appropriate.
  • Follow the essential HHS color palette.
  • Take photos in a well-lit area with accurate white balance that does not alter the skin tone of the subject.
  • Have a clear focal point.
  • Shoot at a low f-stop to produce photographs with a shallow depth of field.
  • Shoot photos at eye level or slightly below the subject when possible to create the feeling of confidence.
  • Incorporate diversity when choosing models.
  • Shoot photos in RAW format.
  • Shoot with plenty of space around the subject to give designers flexibility in cropping.
  • Avoid capturing logos or brands on clothing or clothing with repetitive patterns that can cause the moiré effect (lines, dots, etc.).

Champion Photographs – Examples

Use images that feature people looking natural and engaged, in confident stances that convey Champion. Full light is used without creating harsh shadows or soft edges and blue tones dominate.

Do not shoot at odd angles, use harsh shadows or show emotions not in line with the Champion brand.

Selecting Photos for Sensitive Topics

For sensitive topics, photos can be of a subject that is pensive or have a neutral or slight smile. Do not select photos that are overly emotional or show the subject in a negative way. Examples of sensitive topics include mental health, postpartum depression and human trafficking.


Do not select photos that are overly emotional or show the subject in a negative way.

Cropping Techniques for Champion Photos

  • When cropping faces, leave breathing room: Don’t crop a subject’s face too close to the edge. Don’t leave too much negative space surrounding a subject.
  • Don’t crop off limbs or heads: Crop images at the subject’s torso, waist, thighs, shin or upper arm. Avoid cropping images at the subject’s chin or neck.
  • Don’t overcrop photo to focus on main subject.


Find photos with the subject in focus; a blurred background is fine.
When cropping faces, leave breathing room.


Do not cut off limbs or heads to focus on the main subject.
Do not crop your subject’s face too close to the edge.