Photography and sharing images Guidance for photographing and recording children during events and activities

Children playing with beanbagsIt's important that children and young people feel happy with their achievements and have photographs and films of their special moments. Family and friends also want to be able to share the successes of their children when they have been part of a special event or activity. 

However, it's also important to be aware of child protection and safeguarding issues when people are taking photos or filming at events. The potential for misuse of images can be reduced if organisations are aware of the potential risks and dangers and put appropriate measures in place.

Risk factors

Some of the potential risks of photography and filming at events include:

  • children may be identifiable when a photograph is shared with personal information
  • direct and indirect risks to children and young people when photographs are shared on websites and in publications with personal information
  • inappropriate photographs or recorded images of children
  • inappropriate use, adaptation or copying of images.

Developing a photography policy

Schools, clubs and organisations should develop a photography policy to use for images of children and young people that are going to be used in publications, websites and social networking sites. The policy can also be used to help children, parents, staff and volunteers understand how photographs can be shared more safely.

The policy should include the following:

  • do not use children’s names in photograph captions. If a child is named, avoid using the photograph.
  • use a parental permission form to obtain consent for a child to be photographed and videoed
  • obtain the child’s permission to use their image
  • only use images of children in suitable clothing to reduce the risk of inappropriate use. Some activities, for example swimming and drama, present a much greater risk of potential misuse.
  • address how images of children on an organisation’s website can be misused. Images accompanied by personal information, such as the name of a child and their hobby, could be used to learn more about a child prior to grooming them for abuse.
  • state written expectations of professional photographers or the press who are invited to an event. These should make clear the organisation’s expectations of them in relation to child protection.
  • do not allow photographers unsupervised access to children
  • do not approve photography sessions outside the event or at a child’s home.

The school or club will need to ensure that parents, carers, family members and others understand the policy. Many schools and clubs also have an acceptable use policy for using photographs, which may include asking parents not to share photos on social media.

Seeking consent for children and young people

Illustration of a cameraChildren should always be consulted about the use of their photograph. This ensures they're aware that the image is taking place and understand what the picture is going to be used for. This could be recorded on a child's permission form.

For young people under 18 get parental consent to use an image for promotional purposes. Make sure parents and carers are aware of your school or organisation's photography policy. Ask parents to sign a consent form for use of their child's images and keep a record.

Storing images securely

Illustration of a fileImages or video recordings of children must be kept securely. Hard copies of images should be kept in a locked drawer and electronic images should be in a protected folder with restricted access.

Images should not be stored on unencrypted portable equipment such as laptops, memory sticks and mobile phones.

Avoid using any personal equipment to take photos and recordings of children and use only cameras or devices belonging to the school or organisation.

Organisations who are storing and using photographs to identify children and adults for official purposes, such as identity cards, should ensure they are complying with the legal requirements for handling personal information. Further guidance on the Data Protection Act and other privacy regulations can be found on the Information commissioner's office website.

More safeguarding resources

Safeguarding in the performing arts

Advice and guidance for keeping children safe in music, drama, dance, TV and theatre.
Find out more

Safeguarding children

What organisations and groups that work with or come into contact with children should do to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.
Find out more

Safeguarding deaf and disabled children

How organisations can protect deaf and disabled children from abuse and neglect.
Find out more

Safeguarding and child protection in schools

Learn more about the information, advice and training we offer to help schools keep children safe from abuse.
Find out more

Safeguarding children and young people within faith settings

Watch 7 short films of people talking about their faith and how safeguarding is central to their beliefs and work.
Watch our films

Recommended adult to child ratios for working with children

Guidance on staffing and supervision ratios for organisations and clubs working with children and young people.
Find out more

Support for professionals


Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.

Sign up to CASPAR

Sign up to Case reviews update

Subscribe to our Case reviews update. A monthly update about case reviews added to the National collection of case reviews in the month and learning from case reviews briefings.
Sign up

Get online safeguarding training

Learn how children use the internet and how you can keep them safe from abuse.

Find out more

Information Service

Our free service for people who work with children can help you find the latest policy, practice, research and news on child protection and related subjects.

For more information, call us or email

0808 800 5000

Submit an enquiry

How safe are our children? Growing up online

Our annual flagship conference is for everyone working in child protection.

Find out more

Follow @NSPCCpro

Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.

Follow @NSPCCpro on Twitter

Library catalogue

We hold the UK's largest collection of child protection resources and the only UK database specialising in published material on child protection, child abuse and child neglect.

Search the library

New in the Library

A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.

Sign up to New in the Library

Helping you keep children safe

Read our guide for professionals on what we do and the ways we can work with you to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.

Read our guide (PDF)

Impact and evidence

Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.

Our impact and evidence

Training and consultancy

Grow your child protection knowledge and skills with CPD certified courses delivered by our experts nationwide and online.
Get expert training

Sharing knowledge to keep children safe

Read our guide to the NSPCC Knowledge and Information Service to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.

Read our guide (PDF)