June 15, 2009 / Idea File Supplement

Photo ethics- what would you do?

Written by Idea File Staff

The article in the spring 2009 issue of Idea File magazine, “Photo ethics – a blurry line,” had interviews from four yearbook advisers with differing views on photo ethics. As technology continues to evolve, the question of what is right and wrong regarding digital imagery is always being asked. So ask yourself, ethically, what would you do in these circumstances?

1. In the best image you have of the girls track team, a light pole appears to be growing out of the head of one of the girls on the back row. Should it be removed?

2. A staff member notices that the president of the Community Service Club is missing from the group picture. Since there isn’t enough time to take another group picture, he wants the photo editor to take a picture of the missing student and add her using Photoshop.

3. Would changing a few facts in the previous scenario affect your decision?
The president of the Community Service Club is missing from the club’s group picture. She missed school that day because she was in the hospital and, eventually, she died. The mother has asked that you take her image from another club picture taken earlier in the year and add it to the other group. It is important to the mother because her daughter was devoted to this club and believed strongly in its purpose.

4. Acne is a common teen problem. Consider these scenarios.
A. Should acne and other blemishes be removed from student portraits?
B. Should acne and other blemishes be removed from the senior portraits only?
C. If you do not agree that acne and other blemishes be removed from all senior portraits, would you do it at the request of a parent whose daughter, who does not usually suffer with acne, happened to have one large zit the day the senior portrait was taken?

5. A student is killed when the car he is driving hits a light pole. Within hours, students begin bringing cards, balloons and stuffed animals to the site. A student photographer, in an attempt to show the massive amount of items brought to the site, rearranges them slightly before taking pictures. Should photographers move items to improve scenes?

6. Your school’s cross country team won state this year. The designer of the spread of the state meet wants to use COB images of runners on the team as artwork. The COB images came from images taken earlier in the season. Is it OK to use them on this spread?

7. A staff photographer goes to several fast-food restaurants to take pictures of students enjoying meals in some of the favorite local establishments. As the photo editor, you are looking through the images the photographer brought back, and notice that the editor-in-chief’s boyfriend is eating out in a back-corner booth with another girl. What do you do?

Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.