Consent Preferences

Sharing images/ photos

Sharing images/ photos = consent – press photographers, getting outside photographers in to take pics- do they have their own forms to complete? Who owns the images?

Within this module we will be discussing the contentious area of sharing images within your organization. The society that we live in today is a very visual platform and every organization that you are part of encourages the use of images and shared photographs to accurately reflect the activities, members, and benefits of their organization.

We are all used to seeing personal images across social media and different groups also as well in local newspapers. We regularly see photos of organizations where they could be out for a day trip, an award show, class photographs, religious ceremonies, and other events that take place in our locality and these are always common practice in local newspapers.

Who Owns What?

Whilst images taken by parents are covered under the Household exemptions clause of GDPR it is what we do with these images that can be questioned. If you share images of other children in a post then always be prepared to take them down if contacted by the other parent. If you don’t know the other children then maybe consider blurring the images of other children as a best practice protocol.

Whilst these pictures are fantastic to see under GDPR you always have to look at the issue of sharing personal data and question the following criteria:

  1. Who owns these images is it the person who was taking the picture, is it the photographer who has captured the image, or is it one of the parents who has shared the image in an open environment and can you ask the image to be taken down if you object?
  2. How long are these images stored for and if they are on a public platform how can you withdraw consent and ask those images to be taken down?
  3. If images are uploaded of children’s’ sporting events and parents and children are tagged in the social media pictures, think of that information is being shared. Parents can take images of their children in normal everyday events and share them on social media but be prepared to action any requests to take the images down from other parents if their children are included.
  4. Also as your children get older how can they withdraw consent of these images being shared on social media. Who do they go to to ask for the images to be taken down?

Images of Children

You must be aware but when you share images on social media of groups of children together you do not know the implications of the images that you are sharing. There have been cases where children who have been wards of course old images and identities have been protected due to poor cases have had to leave schools, environments they’ve been living in, because their location has been disclosed.

A note on Professional Photographers

Another area to consider is when photographers come into schools and take pictures in public environments. Have you given consent to the photographer to share images of these pictures on their social media account or on their website? This can also be applicable for school sports days for GAA matches, pony clubs for gymnastics. Once these images are photographers then own these images for a lifetime. The school can ask for consent at the start of each school year to cover any images that are ‘normally’ captured but if anything takes place out of the ordinary and images are captured maybe think if consent is needed for that event.

Consent for Everyone

Whilst I have focused primarily on children in this section it is important to remember that everybody has the right to consent to where their images are being shared. If you are copying and sharing images of people but you do not know whether they consent to their images being shared then you need to ask before you either tag them or you share their images. Again the Household exclusion under GDPR covers ‘personal or household activity with no connection to a professional, business, official or commercial activity”.

Community and business organisations would need to question the use of sharing certain images and confirm the reason they are being shared and if they would fall outside of the Household exclusion.


it should be the responsibility of somebody within the organization to manage the images and social media that are being captured. They need to make sure that they have got the consent of everybody involved whose images they are sharing. Both parents, children and other members should have the freedom to opt-out of consenting to their images being captured. If they choose for their image not to be captured, then their faces should be blurred, and they should not be tagged at any time. Remember if anyone withdraws their consent they are only withdrawing for the future use of that image.

Family Sharing

It is also worth remembering that any images that you share with family members can then be shared and copied on other platforms and shared with other areas that you are not aware of. It would be strongly suggested that you should only be sharing images of your own children or family members or yourself where you are confident that consent has been agreed and that they are not shared on an open platform.

Photo Release

If you work within an organization where you capture images on a regular basis you must make sure that you are getting a photo release from the people, whose image you are displaying on your website and that reviews you should review that every year to make sure the person is still happy for their image to be on your website. This is relevant especially to children if you have captured an image of a child when they are for example 8 years old, and you review it again when they are 10 they may not want their image to be stored on your website.

Always review the images you are storing on your website on a regular basis and make sure that you have consent at all times. If that consent is ever withdrawn it must be made easy for that person to withdraw their consent ie they can e-mail you to tell you to take down an image and you must then take that down.

We have to remember that all times that the website is worldwide unwanted image can be shared in Ireland it could end up anywhere within the world and it could be used for any purpose.

It is worth every organisation reviewing the DPC guidelines on taking images of children.