How to Search the Image Database


Using the Illinois Image Database can help amplify the Illinois brand. The Illinois Image Database is a curated collection of strong, dynamic photographs taken by the photographers in Strategic Communications and Marketing. These images represent the Illinois experience and provide accessible imagery for campus communicators to tell the Illinois story in an authentic way. 

Target Audience 

  • MarCom staff who have Illinois Image Database access.  

PhotoShelter User Tips

Use Modifiers to Specify Searches

  • Use “&” (ampersand symbol) to find files that contain both words. Example:  alma & snow
  • Use “” (minus sign) to narrow your search. Example: alma – snow
  • Use “|” (vertical bar – found above the enter/return key) to find files containing either word. Example:  alma | statue
  • Use “()” (parenthesis) to group modifiers. Example: (alma + altgeld hall)
  • Use quotes to match a phrase. Example: “Fighting Illini”

Use Metadata as a Tool

Every photo has an embedded caption that is displayed when you click on an image. 

  •  The same metadata is also embedded in the downloaded image file. 
  •  Most desktop photo browser programs found on Macs and PCs can be used to display the embedded info in your downloaded images. 

Learn about the Information in File Names

Add context to your usage by examining the file name structure. Codes included in file names: 

  •  “UI” is for University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
  •  “231207” is the date the photo was taken. In this case, Dec. 7, 2023.
  •   “FZ” is the photographer’s initials.  A full credit is embedded in the image metadata.
  • 014” is a sequence number for multiple images for a group of related images.

Use Search Filters to narrow down your results.

Tighten up your search results by using the “Filters” tab on the left side of the page. Options that are helpful:  

  •  Image Orientation to narrow to certain image shapes (vertical, horizontal or square).
  • Set Date Ranges to limit search range. (useful for selecting current imagery)

Download Multiple Images 

  • Hover your cursor over an image you want to download.
  • Select and click the “circle icon to “checkmark” a desired image. 
  • Hover over and “check” other images to download at the same time.
  • Click the download “arrow” icon at the bottom and select your desired image size.
  • Click “Download.” A folder of images or zip file will now download to your device.

Download the File Size You Need

Images are uploaded as full-resolution jpegs.   

This allows for the highest quality for all possible campus uses. However, you might not need the full-size image file if your needs are for web, social media, or PowerPoint presentations. However, it is easy to download a smaller version of any image file from the database. 

How to Downsize on Download:  When you click Downloaduse the “Image Format” pulldown to select alternate sizes. 

  •  “Original file”: Best for extra large prints, banners, or large-scale media.
  • JPEG – original size”: Same as above. 
  •  “JPEG– XL (4800 px)”: Best for 8×10 prints and double-truck print treatments.
  •  “JPEG– L (2400 px)”: Best for print sizes smaller than 8×10.
  •  “JPEG – M (1200 px): Best size for social media, Powerpoint, and web pages.
  •  “JPEG – S (600 px): Best for thumbnail images for web, email, and blogs.

Crop on Download 

PhotoShelter provides an option to crop images upon download. 

How to crop on download:  

  •  Click the Download photo “arrow” icon underneath a single image.
  •  Select the “Crop” button at the bottom right corner of the dialogue.
  • Original” will keep the original aspect ratio consistent when cropped tighter. 
  • Custom” will allow cropping the image to a new shape without constraints. 
  • 1:1” will create a square crop. 

Social Media Crop

Use this powerful tool to automate your crop to standard social media shapes. 

  • After clicking the “Download” arrow, click the “Crop” box again.
  • Use the “Social Media Sizes” pulldown at the top of the dialogue.
  • Once you’ve chosen a setting, adjust the crop boundaries using the crop box.


Photography Services, Strategic Communications and Marketing,