Taking photos at community events
A guide for community groups about how to respect people’s privacy when taking photos at your events
It can be really useful to take photos or videos at your events. You can use them afterwards to publicise your activities, and people often like to see photos of their community having fun together. However, you should make sure the people you are photographing know they are being photographed and understand how the images will be used. Remember that people might have their own reasons for not wanting themselves or their children to be photographed, and it is important to respect this.
How will you use the images, and why do you need them?
Images in which people can be identified are a form of personal data. Personal data is protected by data protection legislation, which sets out how organisations should treat people’s personal data in order to respect their privacy. For more detailed help with data protection, see our page on Data protection for community groups.
The most important thing to remember about all forms of personal data, including images, is that you should only collect, store and use data that your group needs for a specific purpose. You shouldn’t collect, store and use data just because you might want it at some point in future. This means that you should only take photos if you know why you need them and how you will use them. You should delete photos once their purpose is done. You shouldn’t store them indefinitely “just-in-case”.
Tell people you are taking photos
Before taking any photos or films, you should ensure the people them are aware that they are being photographed, who is taking the pictures, what they will be used for, and who they will be shared with. You should also tell people who they should contact if they do not want to be photographed, or if they want their images deleted later. Display clear signs at your event which specifically explain all this. For example:
Sunny Street Community Association will be taking photos at today’s street party. These images will be used by Sunny Street Community Association to share news about the street party, and to publicise our next street party.. Images may be used in press releases, printed publicity and published on Sunny Side Community Association’s Facebook Page. They will be stored securely until the next street party, after which the photos will be deleted. If you would prefer for you or your child not to be photographed, please speak to Jane (07123 456 789). If you would like to see your images, or would like us to delete them, please email the group on firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
Make sure your signs are clear and big. Community groups in Sussex can print posters at the Resource Centre. Also make announcements, telling people to read the signs. It is important that everyone is aware that photos are being taken. Here is a template notice which you could edit:
Sharing images with members of your group
Sometimes, when you take pictures at an event, people ask to be given copies. It is fine to share photos so long as everyone knows this will happen. You should make it clear on your signs. For example:
Little Town Community Association will be taking photos at today’s jumble sale. These images will be used by Little Town Community Association to share news about the jumble sale, and to publicise our future fundraising events. Images may be used in press releases, printed publicity and published on Little Town Community Association’s website. They will be stored securely, and we will delete them after they are no longer needed for publicity purposes. We may also share photos with members of Little Town Community Association for their personal use. If you would prefer for you or your child not to be photographed, please speak to Joe (07123 456 789). If you would like to see your images, or would like us to delete them, please email the group on email@example.com.
When you share photos with people, you need to make sure they understand that they are for their personal use only, and should not be shared more widely (e.g. should not be put on Facebook). You could ask people to sign something to say they understand this. For example:
I have received images from Little Town Community Association. I understand that these are for my personal use only, and I will not publish them or post them online anywhere.
Sharing photos with third party organisations
You may wish to share photos with other organisations, such as your funders, supporters or suppliers. For example, groups sometimes share photos with the Resource Centre of our equipment in use.
Make sure people know if this will happen. You should tell people who the images will be shared with, and for what purpose. For example:
Localplace Neighbourhood Group will be taking photos at today’s summer fair. These images will be used by Localplace Neighbourhood Group to share news about the jumble sale, and to publicise our future fundraising events. Images may be used in press releases, printed publicity and published on Little Town Community Association’s website. They will be stored securely, and we will delete them after they are no longer needed for publicity purposes. We may also share photos the Resource Centre (www.resourcecentre.org.uk), who we have hired games from, for use in their printed and online publicity. If you would prefer for you or your child not to be photographed, please speak to Ali (07123 456 789). If you would like to see your images or would like us to delete them, please email the group on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before sharing photos with a third party organisation, make sure the organisation understands what they can use them for. The photos should only be used for the purposes you have told people about. You should also check that the photos will be stored securely, not kept for longer than needed, and that the organisation will delete the photos in future if you ask them to. Keep track of which photos you have shared, because if someone asks you to delete their picture you will need to pass this message on to any third party organisation you shared it with.
Photos and films of children
Before photographing or filming children (aged under 13), you need to make sure that their parent/guardian is aware of why you are taking pictures, what they will be used for, and how to contact you to ask for them to be deleted. Parents/guardians should have an opportunity to tell you if they do not want their children to be photographed.
At one-off events, the person taking photos should check with an accompanying adult before taking photos of children. If a child’s legal guardian is not present, you should not photograph their child.
If you run regular activities for children, it is a good idea to get consent in writing, using a simple consent form. Parents/guardians can sign this to say that they give permission for their child to be photographed/filmed, and for the images to be used in certain ways. The consent form should include the name of your group, why you are taking pictures, what they will be used for, how long they will be kept, and how to contact you to ask for them to be deleted. If you will share the images with third parties, you should make this clear too. For example, if you will share the images with individual members of your group, or with another organisation, you should say so.
Together Multicultural Children’s Club take photographs of children at our activities to use in our group publicity (including our Facebook Page and website). Once we no longer need images for publicity purposes we will delete them. You can ask to see a copy of images we hold of your child(ren), or ask for them to be deleted, at any time by emailing us on email@example.com.
Please sign below to give consent for us to photograph your child and use the images as described above.
- Name of child:
- Name of parent / guardian:
Copyright rules mean that photos, films and other media can only be used with the permission of the person who created them. So, if someone takes photos at your event, those photos are the copyright of the person who took them, and should only be used with their permission. This applies even if the person is taking the photos on behalf of your group, as a volunteer. (However, if the person is a formal employee of your organisation, and the photos are taken as part of their job, the copyright belongs to the organisation unless there is an agreement to the contrary.)
Updated May 2018