The Power of Instant Images, Part II: 8 Ideas to Safeguard A Personal Image

Taking Digital Photos

Guidelines to Help Avoid Misunderstandings and Unintended Consequences

  1. Ask if it is OK to take a person’s picture, especially in unconventional settings.
  2. If you snap a picture of another individual, you own that picture, but you do not own that person’s image. You can’t automatically post a friend’s image online or in public without permission.
  3. Avoid e-mailing, texting, or posting silly, inappropriate, or embarrassing pictures. Your lighthearted intentions may cause unexpected or unintended consequences. No one wants to be embarrassed in public, and this is the biggest way people get in trouble with digital photography. Sometimes this can even lead to accusations of cyber-bullying.
  4. When person you know is upset or in distress, do not take a picture unless an image will help solve a problem or keep that person from getting hurt.
  5. Carefully choose your own personal pictures for online posting. Once uploaded or e-mailed, a picture lives somewhere out on the web forever. You never really get it back, even if you delete it from a site or throw away the e-mail.
  6. Do not modify someone’s image with Photoshop or other image editing program without that person’s permission.
  7. Always honor the requests that an individual makes about a personal picture.
  8. Remember that “a picture is worth a thousand words” — but you have no control of those words once an image is in cyberspace via e-mail, text, chat, or website.

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