Obtaining Permission to Take and Use Photographs for Commercial Purposes

As stated in the accompanying article "A Picture’s Worth....", obtaining permission to take and use photographs of campers and staff is an important step in risk management. While right of publicity and invasion of privacy laws vary from state to state, camps must make deliberate decisions when using photos for commercial purposes. (Camp recruitment tools such as brochures, videos, Web sites, and the like are usually considered "commercial" purposes.)

Camps should, therefore:

  1. Implement a plan to obtain permission to photograph individuals and use those photographs for commercial purposes
  2. Establish procedures to assure that pictures of campers/staff for whom no permission is obtained are not taken; or, if taken, are not retained
  3. Establish procedures to maintain (and be able to find!) the permission forms
  4. When planning videos, ads, brochures, etc., use ONLY photos for which permission has been obtained

Sample Photo Release Language

Many camps utilize language similar to the following in camper registration materials.

I give permission and consent for [camper’s name] to participate in all activities, and to allow photographs, videotapes, and interview to be taken during the camping session. I further give permission and consent for any such photographs, videotapes, or interviews to be published and used to illustrate, report, promote and advertise the camp . [If the camp might share these photos with ACA to be used in our publications, web site, etc., please add to the previous sentence: ". . . advertise the camp, and/or the American Camping Association and their respective camping activities.") Use of any such photographs, videotapes, or interviews may include, but is not limited to, use of the photographs, videotapes and interviews on Internet Web sites promoting or reporting on the camp (and/or the American Camping Association).

Signed __________________   Date _________

Note: The above release is a sample only and is not intended as legal advice. Be sure to contact legal counsel familiar with the laws in your state regarding these matters.


Originally published in the 2000 Fall issue of The CampLine.