GDPR – A minefield for professional photographers 

With GDPR fast approaching, all photographers are gearing up for the changes it’ll bring to their profession. As we understand it, as long as you’re working towards the GDPR goal, the ICO will be quite lenient for the first year and instead of fining you for non-compliance, they will offer guidance to put you on the right track. Of course, if you’ve done nothing at all, you can expect a hefty fine for being lazy! 

As a photography company which covers many events with hundreds of people in attendance, GDPR may force us into limiting our photographic coverage due to the hoops that we would need to jump through in order to comply. 

GDPR for photographers

Take for example, a charity event that we recently covered. The event was attended by hundreds of people and we donate our services to this particular charity every year. It really helps them to raise their profile with professional coverage of everybody having a good time. The photographs taken by us would be edited and handed over to the charity for their use in future publicity. Of course it is impractical for the photographer to ask each and every person for their permission to be photographed, over 150 photographs were taken. One suggestion was that an area should be cordoned off with a big sign saying “You may be photographed for publicity in this area, if you don’t want to be photographed, don’t enter this area”. But this particular event area covered 5km? 

For our portfolio, we would like to capture some photographs this year of the English Half Marathon runners, a fantastic event to be held in our home town of Warrington on 14th September. Now if you’re a member of the public, you have nothing to worry about. Snap away to your heart’s content without fear of GDPR coming down on you. Post as many photos as you like on your social media profiles.  As a professionals however, hot sweats and sleepless nights?

GDPR for Event Photographers

These two scenarios cover just a small percentage of the types of event we cover. As professionals, we want to comply with GDPR, we understand that people’s data should be protected. That said, it is our belief that if you are in a public place, what you are doing, who you were with and the time that you were there IS public! 

When a striker scores that fantastic goal and the camera cuts to the cheering crowd, only to see Joe, Ted and Alfie, who all threw a sickie off work to go to the match with their mates, jumping for joy like men possessed, is it the photographer who the ICO will be coming down on if any of them complain? 

Wedding photographers beware! Guests have to “Opt In”. If you want to use any of your wedding photographs for publicity, permission must be granted by each and every person in that group photograph and you must be able to show proof when asked. 

If GDPR goes ahead in its current form, we may see events such as these not being covered by professional photographers. 

If you would like some advice on GDPR, we know of a fantastic chap that can tell you all about it. The trouble is, we can’t tell you his details after May 25th 2018!