Photographing Children & Young Adults

Aim: to protect and safeguard children (under 16), young adults (under 18) and vulnerable adults by avoiding misuse of the photographs. Maintain the privacy of the children and if needed the parents.

  • Avoid photographing unidentified children in the first place. If you wish to do so then obtain consent from the legal guardian or the parent on a written consent form. Photographs submitted for publication where young people are recognisable and there is insufficient evidence that their consent has been obtained should not be published. Permission should not be assumed.
  • You don’t need special permission to photograph children in a public place (so long as the pictures are not intended for commercial or illegal purposes), but you are advised to seek consent regardless2. Read more at
  • Avoid inappropriate photographs, hence only use images of children in suitable clothing to reduce the risk. Some activities, for example swimming and drama, present a much greater risk of potential misuse.
  • Avoid inappropriate use, adaptation or copying of images hence state your intentions preferably in writing to the Schools, clubs and organisations about the use of photographs.
  • Children may be identifiable when a photograph is shared with personal information, hence do not use children’s names in photograph captions. If a child is named, avoid using the photograph unless it’s for promotional purposes but make sure you obtain a parental and children consent forms.
  • If you have worked on the behalf of an organisation to produce some professional pictures then ensure that the organisation has a policy and guidance of photographing children. Ensure you stick to it, try and use their equipment and finally the storage of the pictures must comply with the Data Protection Act (encryption).
  • If photographing sports then choose images that present the activity in a positive light, and promote the best aspects of the sport and organisation, only use images of children in suitable dress or kit and avoid images and camera angles that may be more prone to misinterpretation or misuse than others.
  • Children in the background who are not the primary focus and have appeared in the photographs unintentionally risk being identified even without being named so be cautious before uploading or sharing.

Remember the words Privacy, Dignity and Protection (written consent with a legal and ethical purpose to photograph, share and store)


Photograph children intentionally without consent and think before sharing or posting including the Clubs competition website. If children appear in the background without themselves being the main focus please do not identify them.

(Adapted from NSPCC and AP websites)