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Data Protection Considerations for Images and Footage

When taking photographs or filming for University purposes, such as at events, it is likely you may capture, or want to capture, images of people, there will therefore be Data Protection considerations to be given thought to. Below, we provide some guidance on the most common considerations to be made when planned or unplanned photography or filming takes place, however, if you have a query which is not addressed please contact to discuss.

Access the Image Release Forms webpage here.


Wide shots that do not focus on individuals:

Generally you will not need to obtain explicit consent, via an image release form, for wide shots that are not focusing on specific individuals, for example shots of a crowd or large groups of people with no specific focus on any individual, and where no-one is clearly identifiable in the photograph or clip. Images should be taken from the least obtrusive angles available, for example; good practice at a large event or conference, would be that photographs are taken from the back of the auditorium as opposed to the front. Even in this example it is likely you will not have everyone facing away from you so we advise you exercise some discretion. Context will need to be considered, for example; a wide group shot of students queuing to join a Reading University Students' Union sports society may have different privacy implications to a wide group shot of people wanting to speak to our welfare or financial support teams.

Informing people that photography or filming is taking place:

In all circumstances, you will need to make sure attendees know that photography or filming is taking place, ideally ahead of, and certainly during the event. Ways to inform people include using notices at the venue in the areas you’ll be taking photographs or video clips, notices should be prominent and in simple terms advise people that photography is taking place along with who make aware if they do not want to be included in the photographs. Notification should not include reference to consent because realistically they have no freely given choice with regards to wide shots, so do not allude to consent in the messages. However, if they have concerns or want to avoid being photographed or filmed, they can raise this with the appropriate contact. Whilst photographs or videos are being taken, the photographer should ideally be clearly identifiable to event attendees, a prominent lanyard or ID label may help with this.

Posed for photographs:

If you take photographs or videos of specific individuals, or people that are facing onto the camera and posing for pictures then our general advice would be that an image release form would be appropriate, especially, if you are intending to publish the images or videos (for example; on our webpages, or social media accounts). Additional considerations should be given if you are going to capture further information (for example; their name on a name badge, company logo, or any identifiable materials they may be holding), or if you want to use the photograph along with a bio (for example; “Sarah said she’d found the information on social activities run by the school very useful”), as above the context is important.

Staff photographs or videos:

If a photograph is taken of a colleague for the purpose of displaying it on a staff noticeboard board, in the staff room, school corridor or similar, then the form would not be required, however, you will need to tell them where the photograph or video will be used. Colleagues would still have the right to object to their photo or video being included or to ask for it to be removed later but we don’t require the image release form to be completed. The best approach is to notify staff on arrival that your department like to display their pictures to help students, and to give them a route to raise any concerns. If the photograph or video is intended to be published on a University or other webpage or social media platform then this should be made clear and the appropriate image release form should be used. Some staff may be happy to have their image on display internally, but not to the world at large via an internet search. If the photograph was initially taken for the purpose of pinning to the internal notice board and now the school would like it made available on the website, the colleague will need to be asked and the colleagues agreement given in writing, ideally on the image release form.

Completing the image release form:

All sections should be completed, with Section 1 Project Details used to specify as appropriate how the photograph or video will be used, this will help reduce any risks of misunderstanding where photographs or videos will be made available. Forms should be submitted to the Copyright Officer, Room 222, Whiteknights House. The form should not be used as a blanket agreement approach, we should be clear how images will be used and if the intended use significantly changes then you may need to contact that person. If you have any queries regarding the above or that are not covered by the above then please, contact the IMPS department for advice at

To find out what form you need to complete click here.

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Contact IMPS:

0118 378 8981

Access the Image Release Forms here.