Photos of individuals and small groups can be considered personal data by the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018, especially if they are published or stored with personal details.
Images are not regarded as personal data when a person is included in an image from a busy open day or street scene, and where they are clearly not the focus of the image.
You must ask a subject to complete the University’s image release form before taking photographs. The form is the best way of ensuring you are collecting consent in a legal and transparent manner, and giving the subject a chance to opt-out.
Group and crowd photographs
Where an image of a crowd does not focus on one individual or group of individuals, the photos will not be regarded as personal data.
For groups, the Data Protection Act does not specify that consent should be in written form but it’s strongly recommended to seek written consent if possible.
In most cases for a large group the photographer or member of staff can seek verbal consent before taking photographs. This will give individuals the chance to opt-out.
When seeking verbal consent from a small group, it is best practice to inform individuals about the use of images to give an opportunity for opting-out.
If you wish to film or take photographs or video at public or private events, you must inform attendees in advance. We recommend that you include a statement on the invitation or event booking confirmation, and also place notices in a prominent place at the venue entrances.
Storage of images and release forms
You should contact the University’s Data Protection Officer to ensure the secure and legal storage of images and consent forms.