Ideally, we would get a written permission from every person whose photo appears on our website. Practically speaking however, most churches focus on getting the consent of parents and guardians for posting images of their children.
The easiest way to do this is to include a short notice or opt-in on registration forms for church school or youth groups in the fall. The language could be something like this: “Pictures of my child taken during church events may be used on the church website and/or social media.” This will help you identify parents who may have reasons for not wanting images of their child to be used. You may want to give parents the option to approve all-group images (a posed group photo of all the kids at a particular event, for example), even if they opt out of photos more generally.
When holding a public event, you can post prominently in a public place near the entrance that photos or videos that are taken at the event may be used on websites, social media or advertising. Be sure you take photos of the notices to document that you have posted them.
You should have your own attorneys vet the statement you use, but here’s an example of the text that has been used:
“Upon entrance to [name of event], today, [day of week, month, day, year], you hereby give [name of hosting organization] and anyone authorized by such, the irrevocable right to use your name, picture, portrait, photograph and/or video clip in all forms of media, and in all manners, including composite or distorted representations, for advertising, trade, publicity, social networking or any other lawful purposes, without further notification or compensation. You waive any right to approve the finished product, including written copy that may be created in connection therewith. All video, raw footage, and photographs shall constitute [name of hosting organization]’s property, solely and completely.”
This may not solve completely the issue of folks who need to not have photos posted, but at least it goes a little way toward alerting folks that they may need to be vigilant.
How do you deal with photo permissions in your organization? We welcome your comments and stories!