Photo Release Forms

If you are publishing photographs in print or on the web, it is important to have the recognizable subjects in the photo sign a release form. For further guidelines on release form usage, see the verbiage under the release form downloads at the bottom of page.


Online Photo Release Form

* Please note: a current GVSU Faculty, Staff or Student login is required to access the online form

QR Code that leads directly to the online photo release form.

Open the camera app on a cellphone and hold it over this QR Code. A link to the online form will appear. 

Printable Forms

Photography Release Form Procedure & Notes

Photo permission procedure: 

  1. Always ask permission to photograph an individual person when at all possible even if you don’t have a release form with you. 
  2. Release forms:
    • If you have a release form with you and are able, have the person sign the form. 
    • If you do not have a release form but have a minute to get their contact info, send them a release form via email for them to fill out later, or to at least read and agree to via email. 
    • If you are not able to do either of the above, verbal consent is better than nothing.


Notes about Right to Privacy:

There are different kinds of areas where people have more or less of an expectation of privacy. The more of an expectation of privacy a person should have in a particular space, the more important it is to get permission, and a release form. 

  1. Outside in a crowd, there is no expectation of privacy and so the probability of there being a legal issue with a photo of a group of people out in a crowd is minimal.
  2. Inside in places like KC or the Library are semi-private, so there is a medium level of expectation of privacy. Wide photos of several people are okay, but if you are focusing on one or two people, a release form would probably be best.
  3. In the classroom or in a living center are considered private and you should not photograph people in those spaces without permission. 


Other Notes:

In general, if you are photographing one single person (no matter where they are), you should get a release form or at the very least, verbal permission to take their photo. Potentially you could still use a photo of a single person taken in a public space (like the football arena) without a release or permission, but if you are going to use their name and/or state their location, you need to get permission from them. This is not just from a legal perspective but could also have safety implications for some people, such as those dealing with domestic violence or other such issues where they don’t want someone to be able to find them. 


If you know a photo is going to be used for publicity purposes (i.e. Marketing type things), you ALWAYS need a release form signed. 


Even if a photo is being used for news purposes, you need to be cautious. If you are using the person’s name in a news story, you still need to get permission and ideally a signed release form. 


Other department’s release forms do not apply to our photos, they are specific to their own department. For instance, if you are photographing something for Nursing and they say you don’t have to worry about forms because all of their students signed the nursing photo release form, that is incorrect and you still need to get release forms.


As of now we do not need to get release forms for most event coverage, unless it will be used in future marketing materials. This may change in the future. When possible, post this event sign: PhotoConsentSign.pdf


Questions? Email [email protected]

Page last modified February 21, 2024