Housing Photo Contest

Have an eye for interior design or photography? Interested in a room makeover? Columbia Housing is crowdsourcing room and suite photos from its undergraduate residential community. Stellar shots will be used on the Housing website to enhance residential pages, and two standout photo submissions will be given a room or suite design consultation from Bed, Bath & Beyond and a $250 gift card toward a shopping trip there. Read on for submission guidelines and instructions!


Please follow these suggestions when shooting and staging your photo(s):

  • Before photographing, clean or tidy the room or suite location.
  • In addition to bedroom photographs, suite photographs featuring kitchens and common areas are welcome and may be submitted for consideration.
  • Be attentive to lighting. Daytime/natural light is preferred in photos, with room lights on and blinds or curtains open. If photographing at dusk, during the evening or in rooms with limited natural light, be sure that room lights are on. 
  • Capture a wide pan of the room; panorama shots are OK.
  • Take multiple shots from multiple angles in order to select from the best of a given shoot.
  • No camera filters/treatments, please (i.e. black & white photos, Instagram filters, etc.) 
  • Staging of residents/subjects in photographs is welcome. Stage any residents/subjects who appear in photographs appropriately with the setting (e.g. reading, studying or conversing in bedrooms and/or common areas).
  • For photography samples, feel free to have a look at the photos below.
  • Winning photo submission(s) will be selected by the Columbia Housing team and Student Housing Advisory Committee based on the following criteria:
    • Balance
    • Lighting
    • Color quality
    • Room presentation and/or creativity of room staging 


  • Contest is open to undergraduate residents who reside in Columbia Housing. For a complete list of Columbia Housing residences, please see Residences on this website. 
  • Limit one entry per individual or group of Columbia Housing roommates/suitemates. Group entries will not be accepted from Columbia Housing residents who are not roommates/suitemates.
  • Room or suite photo submissions may only capture the room or suite to which entrant(s) are assigned, and entrants must obtain roommates(s) or suitemate(s) consent before photographing shared living spaces.  
  • Entrants and/or residents featured in photos must be 18 years old or older or have written parental consent to participate in the photo contest and/or appear in photos. 
  • Photos must not feature items or contents that are in violation of the Guide to Living, the University’s essential policies or the laws or regulations of New York State.
  • Any and all photo submissions become property of Columbia Housing. By submitting photo(s), all entrants grant Columbia Housing royalty-free license to their usage for official communications, including the right to public display. Entrants also grant Columbia Housing the right to use the names of all photographers in promotions and other official materials.
  • Any and all photo submissions are subject to editing in order to comply with the above criteria, Web or print usage requirements, and/or to integrate Columbia Housing branding. 
  • Columbia Housing reserves the right not to select a winner if no photo submissions received meet the above criteria and/or quality standards. 

How to Enter

  • Submission timeframe:  Monday, October 21 - Friday, November 22
  • To enter the contest, complete the submission form on the Columbia Housing website. Upon submission, you will receive a link to a Google Drive folder to which you can post your photo submission(s).  
  • Up to 5 jpg or gif photos may be submitted per entry for consideration, but only one photo per entry, per individual or group entrant is eligible to be selected a winner.
  • For identification purposes, please include your building name and room or suite number in the file name, e.g. Ruggles_239_1.jpgRuggles_239_2.jpg, where the last digit indicates the photo submission number. If your building does not have a name, use the building address instead, e.g. 600W113_208_1.jpg.
  • If a winning submission from an individual entrant is selected, s/he will be given a bedroom design consultation from Bed, Bath & Beyond and a $250 gift card to the store. If a winning submission from a group entrant is selected, the group will given a suite design consultation from Bed, Bath & Beyond and a $250 gift card to the store.
  • Winners will be notified before winter break; consultation to take place upon start of spring term.
  • For any questions regarding these guidelines, feel free to email housing@columbia.edu or call 212-854-2779. 

Sample Photos