GDPR?  PECR?  DPA 2018?  The Human Rights Act? …

For Photographers and/or Journalists – it could be all of the above!

Knowing what you can (and can’t) photograph or report and when and why could be key. There is legislation around that can trip you up when you least expect it and, on occasion, they seem to contradict or fight against each other…. contact us for more help.


Are photographs personal data? – Photographs of identified living people are personal data and therefore fall under the Data Protection Act and GDPR and must be treated accordingly.

Are photographs sensitive personal data? – Sensitive personal data is information about a persons racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union activity, physical or mental health, sexual life etc. Sometimes, photographs can contain or show some of this information. When they do, the photograph is sensitive personal data.

Crowd(s) photography? – Photographs of crowds are not (generally) classified as personal data, providing no one person is the main focus of the photograph. Crowd photographs that are cropped to focus on one individual or person will become subject to the Data Protection Act / GDPR. There will be times when ‘consent’ is required and times when it won’t. Read Tim Musson’s blogWhat about photography at eventshere.


The DPA and GDPR will apply whenever media organisations collect, use or keep any information about a living person – even if it’s not ‘private’. There are eight main principles of the DPA and 6 of the GDPR that organisations should comply with but these should be flexible enough to accommodate many day-to-day journalistic practices. The journalistic uses of personal information could be exempt, if publication is in the public interest and compliance with either the DPA or GDPR would be incompatible with journalism.

The data controller is legally responsible for processing of personal data which would normally be the media organisation, not the individual journalist. However, freelance journalists still have obligations to get things right. Individual journalists can commit a criminal offence if they obtain personal data unlawfully (section 170 of DPA 2018 refers)

Further Information

Computer Law Training has already provided training sessions to many freelance photographers and journalists on behalf of the National Union of Journalists that have yielded excellent results for the attendees. For further information regarding GDPR and photography, GDPR photo consent, GDPR event photography or areas of photography and journalism, please feel free to get in touch and a training package can be arranged for you. Our ‘standard’ training package for the sector is a 3 hour presentation, inclusive of time for questions / argument.

We can bring our training to you, the benefits in doing this are:

  • Convenient – Programmes can be presented at the location of your choice, at a time that is suitable for all your participants. This also means less time out of the office!
  • Confidential – Your opportunity to openly discuss real issues in order to produce real and applicable solutions with our training team.
  • Tailored – Programmes designed to meet the specific requirements of your company or organisation.  We can design a programme for you and ensure the content is specific to your sector or needs
  • Team Work – Greater interaction and enhanced learning experience.
  • Cost Savings – The costs to your organisation are considerably less than sending a large number of participants to a course held in a hotel or conference centre.


We’re only a ‘click’, call or e-mail away – so get in touch.

Update 26th October 2021:  The ICO has released a draft version of its new draft journalism code.  I am planning to run a course on this new code.  If you would like to be kept informed about it please get in touch.