What You Need to Know About a Piano Lesson Photo Release
If you take pictures or videos in your studio and plan to include them in publications or on the internet, it is imperative that you inform parent of this and get their consent in a piano lesson photo release. Every policy should include some kind of statement that includes all of the uses of a student’s name or photo that you may use in a public setting. Here is an example of a piano lesson photo release statement as a part of a policy:
Pictures and videos of my students may be posted on my studio website or included in studio publications with no names attached.
The “with no names attached” is a commitment you can make with your families to help them feel more comfortable with the posting of their child’s pictures. However, if you will be posting names (student of the month, schedules with last names especially, etc.), then you will need to take this phrase out and be aware that you may have fewer parents willing to sign your agreement.
Why won’t some parents sign a piano lesson photo release?
Privacy is important to most everyone, and especially important to our most vulnerable: children. Besides the general protection that some parents may want to give their children, some families may have an even more compelling reason for not wanting their children’s pictures or names anywhere on the internet. If you are accustomed to sharing your own children’s pictures on social media, then this may seem over-protective. But here are just a few important reasons that parents might want to keep their children’s photos and names private:
- Adopted children may need anonymity and need their location protected.
- Foster children are especially vulnerable and their identity, photos, and location sensitive information may need to be protected.
- Many parents simply want to protect their precious children from unnecessary exposure and at worst, internet predators.
While most of our students will not have these issues, it is not our place as piano teachers to judge whether parents are being over-protective or permissive in their handling of their children’s privacy. The most important thing we do is teach piano to the student from whatever family they come. Whether or not we are able to post all of our students’ pictures on our website or their videos on our YouTube channel should not be a deal-breaker.
What about allowing parents to “opt-out” of a piano lessons photo release?
This is actually the best and most considerate option you can give your families. Instead of placing a blanket statement in your policy about what you plan to do with photos and videos, asking them to indicate yes or no regarding the use of pictures and videos is much more considerate of their parental responsibility. This is how many schools and child-care programs handle this issue. It truly gives the parents a choice in an area that should be their choice!
On your registration form, you can include the following:
I give permission for you to use:
__ A photo or video of my child with no names attached
__ A photo or video of my child with names attached
__ Only group photos with no names attached
__ None of the above
So how do you handle those that opt out when taking group pictures?
In the example above, you can see that the third option allows parents to indicate that they would allow a group photo (like a recital photo), so many times this takes care of that issue. However, especially if you have adopted children or at-risk children and the parents are adamant about no pictures, you will need to discuss this with those parents and ask if they will talk to their children about the after-recital-picture that you want to take but will need to take with (for your own reminiscing) and then without them (to be able to post this). Perhaps they will give you alternative ideas about how to approach this without making the kids feel left out. Keep an open mind, but in the end, if there are no other options that they can give you, taking the picture without them or not taking it at all are your options.
Summary: Here’s your plan for an effective piano lesson photo release
- If you have a website or want to post any pictures to social media, decide that you are indeed going to have a piano lesson photo release.
- Decide how you are going to use the pictures and videos.
- Decide if you want to state your intentions as a blanket statement in your policy (easier) or as an opt-in or opt-out (more considerate) in your registration form.
- After families sign your yearly agreement to terms, make a list of all your families and what each family has chosen. You will need this to reference if you want to post pictures or take pictures at your recital.
- When you get annoyed, just remember that parents have a tough job and they are just trying to protect the privacy of their children. In the end, our job is to teach piano, so don’t let their decisions about this stress you out!
What do you think or what do you do? I’d love to hear! Don’t forget to download your FREE Complete Piano Policy Guide to make sure you’ve covered all the bases!