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FERPA Rights and Privacy

Photo Release Guidelines

Personally identifiable photographs of currently enrolled students is not Directory Information under FERPA and as such can’t be released without written consent from the student. 

When using photographs of individuals in your promotional materials and media, it is important to consider if a release/consent form from the photograph's subjects/models is required before the photograph is published or otherwise made publicly available.  

These general guidelines developed by the Office of the Registrar. If your college, school, or program has established more stringent requirements than what is listed below, you should observe your area's requirements.

When a Release is Typically Required

A release is generally required if students or others (except WSU faculty/staff) are:

  • The primary focus of a photograph taken in a non-public space, are recognizable, and have been recruited specifically to serve as subjects/models. The photographer has manipulated the scene for the desired photographic results.
  • Minors (i.e., anyone under age 18). It is very important to obtain a release/consent form for minors.
  • Current students, identifiable, and in a location for a specific purpose other than being photographed. For example, if a group of current students is studying in a WSU library and you want to take a photograph of the group studying, a release/consent form should be obtained from each subject/model.

When a Release is Not Typically Required

A release is generally not required if students or others are:

  • Photographed in a public space or at public events, such as sporting events, and concerts. These types of photographs are often considered "campus scene" photos.
  • The photograph is taken in a non-public environment and the primary focus is not recognizable, such as when a silhouette, posterior/dorsal view, or out of focus shot is taken
  • WSU faculty or staff.
  • Invited to attend a group activity/event and chose to participate of their own free will.


You should obtain a photo release/consent form in instances where an individual can be identified and is the primary focus of a specific photograph.

A sample release/consent form is available.

FERPA Rights and Privacy