1. Andrew Mitchell

    IMHO photos are a must. I even disagree with the “opt out” option. It needs to become an accepted part of the culture that everyone gets their photo included because it is so valuable for the business and social connections. Our informal policy is that anyone can get their photo re-taken at any time and this addresses vanity issues.

    I also believe that consistency is important. (E.g., B&W, head and top of shoulders, same background, same half profile). Many of our staff photos are also used for external marketing and so they are consistent but it is difficult with the rest.

    • Don

      I must disagree with you on the lack of an Opt out option, there are some people like myself that do not want their digital image out there, it can be grabbed by anyone and eventually make its way into a google or some other search engine. Some people like their privacy and say with regards to incidental use of their digital likeness. I have a rather criminal family member that has not seen me in a very very long time and I do not want them stumbling onto my current image. I do not want them finding me, or being able to quickly point me out in a crowd some day. IT is my right to say no to images. It is a very real issue. It trumps any and all business reasons to have a photo op day just to put my face out there.

      Sorry your just wrong.

  2. Michael Harris

    I concur with Andrew. I’ve always taken the line with our staff that as you work for us, we as an organisation are well within our rights to posses and use images of yourself for any responsible and legal purpose.

    Issues of vanity, legality or privacy are a moot point.

    We have also employed the ID pass capture method. As photos are supplied for use on authority or identification cards, these are uploaded to the directory. Photos are identified by the users unique network login, the simplest and most common identification method outside of an employee ID within an organisation.

    In terms of clear guidelines – there’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. Just grab a copy of the Passports Australia guidelines for photos (, and you’re set.

    Additionally, we put the responsibility for the photo back on the staff. If we’ve sourced a photo from another location (say ID card production) and they don’t like the photo, then the onus is on them to supply a suitable replacement.

  3. Except for very small organizations, I agree that photos for intranet staff directories are a must. Preparing for an upcoming meeting with people you haven’t met yet is probably the biggest reason in my opinion. Also, especially for very large organizations, you may have multiple people with similar names (even in the same building) so the photo can help make sure you’re communicating with the right person.

  4. Richard

    “…you work for us, we as an organisation are well within our rights to posses and use images of yourself for any responsible and legal purpose.”

    Wow. I’m glad I don’t work for your company.

    Giving the option of opting out is a very nice feature, and says a lot about your culture even if you encourage employees not to take advantage of it.

    • James Robertson

      I think it’s about having social and peer pressure on the right side of things. By this I mean:

      If you have “opt-in”, then few people will want to be the ones that stand out, and photos don’t take off.

      Instead, if you put up photos by default (from the security passes, etc) and offer an “opt-out”, then peer pressure will discourage people from being amongst the few who don’t have a photo.

      It is worth having a photo, so it’s worth getting the process right from the outset.

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Published November 24, 2009

Catherine Grenfell
Catherine Grenfell is the manager and full-time facilitator of our Intranet Leadership Forum. She is also a senior member of the consulting team, with a particular focus on mentoring and supporting intranet teams.