A New Focus for Visual Services at Pitt

With the rise of smartphones and social media, vibrant photography and images have become baseline expectations for strong communications. As the use of visuals has evolved, the Visual Services department in the Office of University Communications has begun to evolve as well.

When the department was located in the Center for Teaching and Learning (then the Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education), photography historically focused on commemorative events.

In 2017, Visual Services became part of University Communications; looking ahead, photographers will now communicate and align with the office, with a focus on the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Provost and University departments and units working on strategic projects with University Communications.

“Many people still think of our department as part of the Center for Teaching and Learning,” said Don Henderson, director of the visual services department. “But we’re now strategically working with the Office of University Communications and focused on how to best capture the inspiring images that promote Pitt and showcase the University’s impact.”

Visual Services has five full-time staff members, including a digital asset management coordinator who helps organize and tag all photographs. The digital asset management system makes it easier for Visual Services to collaborate with departments and units across campus on communications work. 

Visual Services will continue to offer studio portraits on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Bellefield Hall. Advance appointments are required.

If you need a photographer for an event in which the photos are intended for historical archives, gifts or mementos, Visual Services provides a list of recommended freelance photographers on its website. Photography provided by the Visual Services team will be focused on news, marketing or magazine materials, as well as brand identity.