How to build a website, use Email & ICTs

Using images

You can select images for your website from the UNESCO's photobank, which displays thousands of photos on the Organization’s activities and covers a wide range of domains where UNESCO and its network of National Commissions for UNESCO organize projects on a regular basis, thus illustrating the rich variety and volume of the activities undertaken.

All photographs on this site can be exploited, published, reproduced, distributed, communicated to the public in any form and on any support, within the sole context of the promotion of UNESCO's programmes, activities and ideals. These photographs do not reflect the Organisation's opinion on the political, social, economic or cultural aspects of the subjects covered.

It is essential that all photographs always be accompanied by the legal copyright notice, namely UNESCO/Name of Photographer or just by the notice UNESCO when no name is mentioned in the "Photographer" column. In the case of a "PowerPoint" presentation, the copyright can figure on the final frame. It is also advisable to identify the images as often as possible with a short caption, to give your message more weight.


When you select an image for a text, whatever the medium, you can either illustrate the general gist of the text or a specific example. The image can show an objective reality or a symbol. You may also wish to make a pictorial statement by assembling two or more images with a visual or a content link, or by repeating the same image or some of its details or both. When possible, the opening photograph should be in tune with the title.

The impact of the photographs can be enhanced by an appropriate lay-out: the text should appear or be displayed at a certain distance from the photographs to allow them to "breathe". It can, however, also be integrated into the image, for example: on a blue-sky background. The background of the photograph can also be blocked out and the text can run along the contours. These are only a few suggestions – some of them only apply to paper publications, the structure of websites being pre-established. The aim of visuals is to liven up a page, attract as many readers as possible and awaken their interest in what is presented to them. A gripping photograph can go a long way and move far beyond the written word.

How to Contribute to the UNESCO Photo Library?

The more pictures the UNESCO Photo Library has, the better it will be able to fulfill your needs and the ones of UNESCO's partners. Pictures of every country are not available at the Photo Library. We invite you to provide us with some, in order to complete our Photobank. We would be grateful if you can contribute to our archives by sending pictures of your most interesting project. Here is the necessary information to take your own pictures or to obtain some for us.

The UNESCO Photo Library has a large collection of slides, black and white as well as colour negatives and digital images. We have a preference for slides. They can be enlarged, duplicated and scanned at various resolutions and are less fragile than negatives which are easily scratched, bent and marked. However, as the world is going digital, we are also happy to receive digital images -provided they are in an adequate resolution.

Criteria for Photos

Technical Criteria: technical quality, sharp definition and correct exposure, neatness

Aesthetic Criteria: composition, angle, use of light and colour

Communication Criteria: immediate ‘readability' and relevance to both the overall subject and the chosen theme

A balance between horizontal and vertical photographs would be appreciated. Cover of books and magazines as well as posters are more often than not in a vertical format.

Please identify all photographs: the name of the photographer and the caption should appear on the mount, print or on a separate sheet. The name of the photographer will be mentioned alongside UNESCO whenever his/her work is used.


Images must be in one of the following formats:

  • 35 mm slides
  • Colour (paper) prints and their corresponding negatives
  • Digital

Guidelines for Digital Image Sizes

Files for our archives should be at 2360 x 3540 pixels, 300dpi resolution and a final weight of 1.5 Mo to 2 Mo.

An example of camera set-up to achieve images of this quality:

  • A (minimum) 4 million Pixel camera - compact, bridge or reflex –
  • The images must be saved as JPEG format
  • The image quality (or file compression) has to be set on "fine" or "high", i.e. the largest of JPEG settings
  • The resolution should be set on "medium"

Comment: the words "resolution", "image quality", definition" or "compression" are often used at random by the manufacturers. If you have any doubts on the specific set-up of your camera, you should consult your user's manual.

In the case of slides, the Photo Library will scan a selection (in 300 dpi - A4 format - for printing and thumbnails, in 72 dpi for the Web) and send a CD-ROM with the scanned images back to you (only the selection will be scanned). We will then need the author contact details to sign with him/her an agreement granting non-exclusive rights.

All images of the Photo Library are used to promote UNESCO's programs and ideals. The further reaching and more eloquent they are, the better. Our partners and the media should be able to use them for eventual publications, exhibits, poster campaigns, Web and television.

For more information, please contact:

Audiovisual Section
Sector for External Relations and Public Information
Division of Public Information