The Personal Data Act and taking pictures of people

Last changed: 07 April 2017
Studenter på Ulls hus innergård. Foto: Jenny Svennås-Gillner

When taking pictures of people, at work or outside at the campus areas, which different terms apply? How are you allowed to use these pictures afterwards? Do you need a written permission from the people you photograph or is a verbal permission enough?

If you plan to use the pictures for marketing purposes, the answer is simple: you must ask for permission to use the material. More precisely, the producer of the marketing material (for example a video clip, broschure or powerpoint) must ask the people in the pictures for When using pictures for marketing, you must collect permission from the copyright holder & the people featured in the pictures.permission to use the pictures for marketing purposes. And they must give their permission for every new way of usage.


You are free to take pictures of people and use these pictures in exhibitions. No need for permissions. (But it is polite to ask anyway!)

Books and newspapers

As long as it's not advertising material it is perfectly ok to publish pictures of people in newpapers and other editorial material. You need to ask for permission from the copyright holder though.

Blogs and Social Media

Names and pictures of people are OK to publish on blogs and in social medias, as long as the material is not offensive in any way.

Do I need a model release?

Verbal permissions are valid, but of course written ones are safer. It's harder to prove your mutual agreement with a verbal permission.

Writing a model release that allows you to use the pictures for all purposes and for unlimited time might cause you trouble. It's better to be clear on where, when and how you plan to use the material. Otherwise the person in the pictures might claim that he or she never understood the purpose of the pictures.

Page editor: