345. Photo and Video Release Forms

Updated July 1, 2019

Obtaining Permission for Publication Release versus Informed Consent

Permission for Publication Release

University and affiliate investigators are required to obtain permission to use images of study participants for research. A release form may be used for this purpose. (A template for the form is available in the researcher libraries in IRBNet.)

The release form requires the signature of the person whose image will be obtained and used for the research (or the parent if the participant is a child). The release form provides participants with information about how the images will be obtained and gives the participant the opportunity to specify how the images may be used.

Possible uses for images obtained for research relate to who will have access to the images and the reasons for that access:

  • The researchers may study the images and record information that relates to the study purpose.
  • Along with a report or manuscript describing the research findings, the images may be submitted for publication in scientific journals, presented at professional conferences, or presented in presentations to non-scientific groups.
  • The images may be used in classrooms to teach students about the research topic.

Informed Consent to Record and Use Participant's Images for Research

Informed consent refers to the process by which an investigator informs a participant about the research and obtains her/his agreement to enroll in the study. Depending on the level of risk, the participant's agreement may be documented by asking her/him to sign a consent form. Generally, when a participant signs a consent form, she/he is agreeing to all components of the research, as described in the consent form.

The informed consent document, because it describes the research to prospective participants, must include information about the recording and use of photo images and video images and sound. This information should

  • describe the setting in which the recording will take place (e.g., participant will be seated in front of a computer); and
  • provide general information about the types of images that will be obtained (e.g., face, full body, hands, back of the head).

IRB Review of Research Involving Images of Participants

University and affiliate investigators planning to obtain and use participants' images for research must provide the IRB with information about how the images will be used and why the images are necessary for the research. The IRB will assess this information to consider both

  • the risks associated with obtaining and using the images for the research and

the research benefits of having the images available.