Do You Need Permission to Post Photos of Church Members?

We recommend consulting a lawyer when dealing with photography permission and photo consent forms.

In most cases, if a photo is taken in a public space, it is believed to be fair game.

However, just because something is legal, doesn’t mean it’s right. One survey says that 83% believe it’s common courtesy to ask permission before posting photos of them on the web, so here are a few tips to help you navigate through this:

  • Always be ready to remove a photo if someone asks you to.

  • Always ask permission to use close-ups of people.

  • When taking photos of children, get permission before taking it.

  • Use discretion and always use photos of people looking their best.

  • If it’s a funny/goofy/silly photo, ask before using it.

Remember, once you’ve used a photo online, it’s really hard to insure that it’s been completely removed. Photos can be copied and downloaded easily, so it is better to error on the side of caution.

Of course when you’re taking photos of a large group or activity, I think the rules change a little bit. If you’re taking a photo of 30 kids, getting permission is going to be tough. If it’s a large church event, most people understand that there’s going to be photos flying everywhere, but if you’re doing a general photography session of your Sunday school program, you might want to announce it the Sunday before—that way most of your Mom’s will make sure little Bobby gets his hair combed.

In some cases you may want to have church members sign a photo consent or photo release form for the photos you put of them on your website.

An Example of a Form That You Could Use:

Individual Consent and Release

On behalf of myself or the child identified below for whom I am the parent or legal guardian, I hereby:

1. consent to the use of my/my child’s name, photograph, voice, statements, image and likeness (the“Materials”) by The Presbyterian Church in Canada for any promotional, publicity, programming or communications purposes, in any media, in perpetuity, without compensation or notice;

2. waive my/my child’s right to the integrity of the Materials, the right to be associated with the Materials and other similar rights in favour of The Presbyterian Church in Canada;

3. release The Presbyterian Church in Canada, its administrators, partners, affiliates, employees, representatives and agents from any liability or claims that relate in any way to the use of the Materials in the manner described above; and

4. represent and warrant that:

(a) I have all of the rights in the Materials and that The Presbyterian Church in Canada’s use of the Materials will not violate or infringe upon the rights of any third party; and

(b) I have reached the age of majority in my jurisdiction of residence.

Name (please print)

Child’s Name (if applicable)



Signature of Witness

Name of Witness (please print)

*Please note that we recommend consulting a lawyer when dealing with contract and consent forms.