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Photo Release Guidelines

When using photographs of individuals in your promotional materials and media, it is important to consider if a release/consent form from the photograph's subjects/models is required before the photograph is published or otherwise made publicly available.

These general guidelines were developed by experts in Purdue Marketing & Media and the Office of the Registrar. If your college, school, or program has established more stringent requirements than what is listed below, you should observe your area's requirements.

When a Release is Not Typically Required

A release is generally not required if students or others are:

  • photographed in a public space or at public events, such as sporting events, Boiler Gold Rush, and concerts. These types of photographs are often considered "campus scene" photos.
  • the photograph is taken in a non-public environment and the primary focus is not recognizable, such as when a silhouette, posterior/dorsal view, or out of focus shot is taken
  • Purdue faculty or staff.
  • invited to attend a group activity/event and chose to participate of their own free will.

When a Release is Typically Required

A release is generally required if students or others (except Purdue faculty/staff) are:

  • the primary focus of a photograph taken in a non-public space, are recognizable, and have been recruited specifically to serve as subjects/models.
  • Minors (i.e., anyone under age 18). It is very important to obtain a release/consent form for minors.
  • current students, identifiable, and in a location for a specific purpose other than being photographed. For example, if a group of current students is studying in a Purdue library and you want to take a photograph of the group studying, a release/consent form should be obtained from each subject/model.

As a courtesy to subjects/models, you are encouraged to obtain a photo release/consent form in instances where an individual can be identified and is the primary focus of a specific photograph.

A sample release/consent form is available.

Questions about the use of photographs in promotional materials at Purdue may be directed to Purdue Marketing & Media.

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