Our intention is to obtain permission for photographs and video that are used on the church website, social media pages, and other publications, with the following exceptions and variations:
A simple method of announcing our intentions will be to have a statement like this in the bulletins:
We often take photos and videos for use online or in print. If you don’t want recognizable images used of you or your child, please tell us or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are taking photos or videos of church events, please don’t share them online unless you get the okay from recognizable people in the images, or their parents in the case of children.
There is a 1998 federal law which is meant to protect the online data regarding children and to give the parents control over it. While churches are not technically subject to this law, it is prudent to be careful about what images and information we use. For children’s events, we require a release form before using photos or video. Alternatively, a line can be added to any form that parents fill out before the kids take part in an event.
Photographs taken in public places (such as parks, streets, and sidewalks) can by law be used without signed permissions. The interior of a church is sometimes but not generally considered a public place in this context.
The website committee has an informal list of church members who would rather not be shown and we strive to honor that. But if such a person is a small or unrecognizable part of a group photo, we may use the picture.
When people are identified in photographs we use, we often use the last names of clergy, vestry, and staff. For people in the congregation, we typically use given names or no names at all.
We can’t control the media activities of people who attend our church services and activities, but we can ask them to use their phones and cameras judiciously and to follow these guidelines. A signed release only applies to media taken specifically for the church, not to pictures that these people might take.
Photographs taken before this policy is adopted are part of the record of church activities. Often, many of the people are no longer reachable to ask for permission. We will use these photos at our discretion.
We began videotaping our services recently, but we have not put videos up on the site. We are likely to use the sermon parts initially as sound files for a podcast, but if we also use visuals on the site, we think the indented statement above, in the service bulletin, would be adequate.
Adopted by the Vestry, May 2018