There is no law prohibiting the taking and publishing of pictures in Ontario, although there are laws about copyright, slander, libel, defamation of character, trademarks, national security, trespassing, and reasonable expectation of privacy (such windows). People in the photo do not own copyright to the photo. On the other hand, there is nothing to prevent them from suing if they do not want you to take the picture or do not approve of how you use it, or, if you profit from it, for control or a share of the profits.
This is my personal policy. If a client violates this policy, I may terminate the contract. They will still owe me for work done, even if the website is not completed.
Pictures of adults do not require written permission as long as the picture will not hurt the person and represents them accurately. However, it is ethical to ask permission and whether they want to approve the picture before it is published. Use your best judgment when choosing photos, which is often asking other storytellers if an expression is a great part of the story or simply unflattering.
Pictures with identifiable children under the age of 18 or mentally-disabled adults require permission from a parent or guardian. Backs are allowed, as long as there is no other identifying information.
Pictures from groups such as schools, Scouts, or churches needs to have written permission from the Principal or equivalent. Teachers and onsite leaders might not know the group policy.
If another group is supplying the venue (even for hire), hosting, visiting, or helping with the event, get and follow their rules. It is safest to get written permission from a senior representative of the group who is familiar with the relevant policies and legislation, including, if applicable:
- The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), which applies to all provincial ministries and most provincial agencies, boards and commissions, as well as to universities and colleges of applied arts and technology.
- The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA), which covers local government organizations, such as municipalities, police, library, health and school boards, and transit commissions.
- The Federal Privacy Act, which applies to information held by the Federal Government.
- Any policies for the group or venue.
Evidence can be another picture in the sequence, or written. It can be kept by the client or on a password-protected page of the website.
Photos that exist and show good expressions and action, and everyone having a fun, are better than technically perfect photos. Unidentifiable people in action (Yousuf Karsh) are often more interesting than faces (Mikaël Theimer).