Get Permission to Use People in Pictures and Videos

get permission before taking a customer's photo or video
Get Permission from People in Pictures & Videos

We all know that using pictures and videos when marketing on social media works. Especially action shots, video testimonials, customers using product (See UGC below). If you use their likeness (face) in promoting yourself or your company, you must have their permission in writing. A verbal “sure” is not enough. That person may change their mind later on and sue you for using their picture or video in your marketing or advertising. Even children need to have a model release signed by a guardian.

You have to get permission to use people in pictures and videos.

Ruth Carter, an attorney in Phoenix, explains why…

Here a sample model release you can edit for your business. Make sure you have everyone who is going to be in the picture or video sign one.

Another tip to get pictures of people without permission is to get them from behind so their faces don’t show. Or you can later blur their faces, but that would take some editing skill.

Oh, and you can’t just grab any picture off Google or Bing images either — there’s a thing called “copyright infringement” if you use a photograph or any intellectual property without express permission from the artist or photographer. You may be sued. Here are some free-use graphic sites for you:

User Generated Content (UGC)

User generated content is the one of the best testimonials you or your company can ever receive.

When a customer is so happy with your product or service, they may just take a picture of them using the product or using your service and send it to you. They may also share it on a social network and tag or mention you or your company in the post. If they send you the picture directly, you should ask them if you can use it your marketing so you have express permission. If you see it on social media, contact them to ask them if you can use it.

A way to get around all this is to hold a contest. Many major brands do this. A few years ago, Cabela’s, the sporting goods store, held a contest for National S’mores Day. They asked fans to share their favorite s’mores recipe on Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook and tag the post with a custom hashtag. The winning recipe would become a new flavor of Cabela’s fudge.

When holding an official contest, you have published rules. Within those rules, specify that any photos may be used in future marketing. You’re covered.

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