Videovoice Guidelines

It is critical for videovoice projects to take as many precautions as possible to ensure that participants, subjects, and any other individuals involved are safe and assured of their rights. Working with youth raises particular ethical considerations. It is important to obtain written consent forms that allow youth to participate and allow subjects to be photographed, and to discuss issues of privacy and the representation of communities and their members with youth. It is essential that parent or guardian consent be obtained if the youth participating in videovoice is a minor. Included is a list of video ethics, ground rules, and guidelines for the Our Voice Our Time Project.

Invasion of Privacy

  • Taking a video of someone without permission is a violation of privacy.
  • The participant is not required to receive a signature when taking a picture of a group of people where individual faces are not recognizable or if the photographer is taking a photo of something and a person just happens to walk into the shot.
  • Some people may not want their video taken, and the participant must respect this.

Representing Community and Their Members

  • Taking a video of someone doing something risky or incriminating would go against the values and goals of this project.
  • It is important for the participant to consider if the subject in their video would agree with the video taken and the explanation that accompanies the video.
  • A camera gives the photographer a lot of power to create a message that is visually loaded with meaning and the photographer’s values and message. It is important to represent the image and the subjects within the image in an accurate way.

Videovoice Ground Rules

Stay Safe

Don’t take any risks

  • Don’t go anywhere you wouldn’t usually go, or do anything you wouldn’t usually do
  • Take a friend
  • Be aware of what’s around you

Be Respectful

  • Always ask first, even if this means missing the perfect shot
  • You must have permission before taking pictures of people

Large Crowds, Landscape, or Scenery

  • You do not need a consent form if people are too small to be recognizable
  • It is still a good idea to ask permission before taking a picture of private property (for example, someone’s house or yard)

For Pictures with People

  • Have your subjects sign a consent form before taking any pictures
  • Be especially careful when taking pictures of children. Talk to their parents first, and a parent sign a release form
  • Do not take photos of people who are “in private,” such as through a window into their home
  • Ask yourself, “Would I mind if someone took a picture of me in this situation?”
  • Remember to offer the person a copy of the picture.