GDPR and its impact on photography


The GDPR makes life difficult. Unfortunately, photographers are not excluded. Above all, those who photograph people in their pictures, have to make some thoughts on data protection due to the GDPR. We clarify today and summarized the most important information in a compact form.


The right to one’s own image

Since the GDPR came into force on 25.5.2018, photos of people are legally “personal data” and are therefore subject to data protection law. If one wants to process personal data, then one must be able to argue legally why these data is collecting. If it is possible to deduce the identity of the depicted person on the basis of the picture, this is subject to the GDPR.

Explicit consent

The safest way is the explicit consent of the person depicted. In practice, however, this is not always feasible because, strictly speaking, consent must be obtained before the trigger is activated. This theoretically does not have to be done in writing, but if necessary the photographer is obliged to provide proof, which is probably only possible in writing. Another problem here is that the person depicted can revoke his consent at any time and without justification. Although a revocation does not make illegal use until then, the affected photos may no longer be used.

If no consent is given even though personal data has been processed, the data subject has the right to delete the image. The worst case scenario, penalties worth millions or, in the case of a company, of up to 4% of its total worldwide annual turnover in the previous financial year may also be at risk.


The impact on the practice

Cameras and cell phones store a lot of information about the captured image, such as the time and location. According to the GDPR, photos and film recordings on which persons are to be recognized may only be stored, processed and passed on with their consent. Attention: A smile in the camera is not considered consent! A contract must be signed with every person to be photographed. The person have to also be cleared exactly what happens to the image and what the data is used for.
In all areas where intentionally or unintentionally people are depicted, in the future you will be exposed to considerable administrative work as a photographer.

The GDPR does not concern employees in the classical press and the radio, similar photographs, as well as pictures of the deceased. Important for amateur photographers: The DSGVO also does not apply to personal, family activities and private photos. Only in the moment in which the recording leaves the privacy, it falls under the GDPR.


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