Sharing Photos Online

Back to Customer Education

Say Cheese!  Do Your Photos Jeopardize Your Privacy or Safety?

The convenience of posting photos with friends and family has become more fun and convenient than ever.  Social networking sites make it easy to share pictures with grandma and grandpa, your coworkers, your childhood friends, or anyone who has an interest.  Still, it is important to consider a few simple tips pertaining to copyright, privacy and safety issues.


  •  Disable the GPS technology before taking pictures with a smartphone or other location enabled camera if you plan to post them online.  Otherwise, the coordinates of your exact location are recorded with the photo.  This could publicize your home address or other places you visit
  •  Read the Terms of Service on photo sharing websites and other social networks.  Otherwise, you may inadvertently give permission to websites or their users to use your photo as their own.
  • Check your privacy settings on any websites where you may share photos.  When possible, select the option that allows you to keep photos from being found by search engines.  In addition, the best way to keep pictures private is to limit those who can view them.
  •  Know who your friends and followers are.  If you have hundreds of friends on Facebook or any other social media sites, perhaps you don’t know them all too well.  Decide whether you are comfortable with those people having access to your photos.  If not, it may be time to review and narrow down your “friend” list.  If your settings allow “friends of friends” to see your posts, your pictures could potentially be seen by thousands (or maybe more).
  • Consider photo sharing sites that allow invitation-only access with password protection for viewing.
  •  Avoid sharing identifying information, such as full names, schools or locations of your photos.
  •  Watch out for lower-tech ways of sharing information.  Maybe the photo was taken in front of your home or children’s school.  Maybe your t-shirt has a school logo.  These scenarios and others could tip off information that you would prefer to keep private.
  • Use common sense.  Don’t post a photo that could be embarrassing in 10 years or more.  With facial recognition technology, pictures will potentially be available for years to come.  That means that your toddler’s potential employer could know quite a bit about his or her childhood!
  • Awkward!  You may have a tough decision to make if a friend or relative posts photos of you or your child online.  Do you ask them to take it down? After all, you won’t know who has access to or the picture.
  • Consider a watermark.  Imprinting a watermark on your photos can make it harder for someone to misappropriate the image.