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Consent forms

Photo/Video Release Form

Is a consent form needed?

When considering whether or not a photo needs a consent form (often referred to as a release), we recommend taking the better to be safe than sorry approach. Always get a release form signed including for faculty, staff, and students, and in the case of a minor a parent/guardian must sign. The only exception is journalistic documentation of public events (more on this below).

The main question to ask yourself: Did I do a reasonable job, based on the circumstances, to let people know they were in a photo that might be used publicly?

It's also important to store signed photo releases in a central office location so they can be found if ever needed.

Guidelines offered by University Relations:

If the subject of a photo or video is under 18, you need a release, unless it is a crowd at a public event. Public events with tickets sometimes have language for release on the tickets.

In a closed setting, one where people are required to be there, like a classroom, always try to announce what you are doing and release everyone in the room. Allow a comfortable opportunity for people to tell you they may not want to be in the photo.

In a very large group that does not allow time for releasing, make a very specific announcement and allow an opportunity for people to tell you if they do not want to be photographed.

In a public place, try to look conspicuous so people realize it is a professional photo being taken. In other words, try not to sneak a photo off without being seen.

Some ways you can inform individuals about being photographed/videotaped and capture their permission:
  • Put signs up stating your intent to record
  • Request people to sign group release forms (you can do this at a check-in table, for example)
  • Request people to sign individual release forms
  • Recorded the video producer asking permission to record and getting the individual's or group's permission on tape.