Photo and Video Policy
It is important to remember that photography and videography may be viewed differently in your host country and culture. While you are preparing for your program overseas, research the policies of the countries and area(s) you will visit and do the following:
1. Talk to administrators in the organisation or university you are visiting to fully understand their policies regarding photographing in their environment and the people they work with. They will provide the best advice regarding specific religious, legal, political or cultural issues you need to consider.
2. You must obtain consent from all clearly identifiable people in your photos/videos. You can do so by gathering written or verbal consent. If a photo or video features a child or youth under the age of 18, you must obtain consent from the child’s parent or guardian, as well as the organisation. If you do not have the materials needed to gather written consent, or you are in a situation where it isn’t appropriate (in such cases where people may find it too formal, intimidating or uncomfortable), explain the potential use of the images and make a detailed note of the conversation in your field journal or diary.
You must explain the possibility of how the images may be distributed (via print, the Internet or digital and online media), regardless of the way you obtain consent.
If consent cannot be obtained, do not include the person in the photograph. If you have already taken the photo, either delete the photo (in some cases it may be appropriate to show the person you have deleted it) or be sure it isn’t included in your distributed photos or videos.
When creating and distributing visual content that represents CISaustralia, we ask that you uphold an appropriate level of conduct by featuring positive aspects of your experience (interactions between people, cultural and educational engagements), and avoid any material that features prohibited activities, drugs, alcohol, violence, nudity, etc.
Child Protection Policy
When capturing photos or videos that involve or highlight children, you have to be extra cautious about how this material is being recorded and distributed. Keep the following in mind as you proceed to create photos and videos that feature children:
- Avoid displaying personal information regarding place or residence details
- Do not name children in your captions
- Avoid typical photos that showcase Westerners hugging babies and children
- All children must be fully clothed, including tops on boys
- Try to show more than one adult in photos with children
- When photographing adults with children, be sure it is relevant to the activity and work being done with the child and that the image clearly illustrates such
- Reduce the ability to download images from websites (lock images on websites)
- Refrain from displaying information about hobbies, likes/dislikes, school, etc., as this could be used against the safety of the children
Here are a few good resources that will help you familiarise yourself with child safe practices and the Australian federal legislation regarding the depiction of children and young people:
- Australian Institute of Family Studies – Images of Children and Young People Online
- Australian Sports Commission – Guidelines on the Use of Images of Children (PDF)
- ThinkUKnow Australia – Cyber Safety Program
Tips for Producing Good Visual Content
A good thing to keep in mind for both photography and videography is that you must have your camera with you to get the content. The saying “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” applies here as well. Carry your camera with you even when you think you won’t need it.
- Think of the story you are trying to tell and how your audience will perceive your image
- Capture the moments you want to remember most, especially ones that provoke an emotional response
- Take photos of how you see the world you are in and document how it makes you feel internally at the time
- Try to capture more candid moments of your friends. These always help you recall more genuine memories of what was actually happening at the time
- Show people your camera and photos. This is a great way to interact with people, and kids especially like to see themselves on a screen. It helps some people feel more comfortable with the process
- When possible, exchanging photos with the people you take photos of and with can help you create lifelong friendships. Get their mailing or email address and send it to them when you get the opportunity
- Combine different kinds of shots (close-ups and wide angles)
- Change up your stance. If you stand in the same position and always photograph people in the center of the frame with a landmark or historical building in the background, you will have several redundant photos and the memory of each place will start to blend together. Don’t hesitate to be creative
- Try to capture local details, especially signage, signature objects and other elements of your day-to-day experience
- Get photos of locals and the people you meet on your trip, not just yourself. This will help trigger memories of the place and environment in years to come, rather than just having proof that you’ve travelled
- The best zoom a photographer can have is their feet. Move closer to the objects you photograph when possible for better quality shots
- If you’re going to shoot buildings or landmarks, think about whether or not it is famous and is likely to be on a postcard. If it is, save your memory space for the detailed things that speak specifically to your experience
- If you want to take your photography to the next level, learn to pay attention to detail and see visual effects like colour symmetry, line, size, lighting and framing
- Take photos of your meals. It may seem cliché, but you will want to remember the details of the cuisine you had while in country
- Use simple gear that you know how to utilise and wear it out. The more you use it, the more familiar you will become and the more likely you are to have print-worthy photos
- Charge your battery after use. This may seem like a no-brainer, but running out of battery is very common if charging immediately after use isn’t a habit
While some of the same basic advice can apply to creating videos and photos, producing a good video can oftentimes require more thought and planning.
- Plan your production. If you know you are going to an event, think about the order of the event and be sure to be present and ready to record before the moment starts, but don’t forget to take candid shots too
- Use a tripod or stabiliser when possible. It may be a hassle to carry around and set up, but it makes a huge difference in the quality of your production. Think about it, no one enjoys watching a jerky video on a still screen
- Think about the editing process and try to start and stop recording a few seconds before and after the shot you are recording to allow more editing room
- Check sound and make sure you are actually recording
- Don’t forget to shoot B-roll. Stationery photos are often used in videos, but your production will have a more natural flow if you include moving video B-roll shots instead of still photos