Tango photography and GDPR: new rules for photographers & organizers?

GDPR for (tango) event photographers

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.


GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the new set of rules concerning the processing on control of personal data of EU subjects, will come into action on the 25th of May 2018. A lot of photographers in my niche, that of tango photography, have expressed their worries on its repercussions on their activity. Are we still allowed to take pictures of people dancing on milongas, marathons, tango festivals? This article expresses my view on the matter, after numerous discussions with other photographers and GDPR professionals.

Tango photography and the law

Multiple laws touch upon the activity of taking pictures of people dancing in public/private events. And these laws can differ per country. These are the most important ones:

  1. First of all there is ‘copyright law‘. The owner of the copyright in the photograph is the photographer, except if some other agreement has been specified in a contract (e.g. between the photographer and the organiser).
  2. Then there is the “portrait right” or personality right of the subjects. This means that, normally, the photographer needs (written, verbal or implied) consent of each individual before publishing a photo where they are recognisable.There are exceptions to this portrait right (in some countries): news-gathering/fair use; public figures; group photos; public places. However, laws regarding photographs of identifiable people are different per country, even within the EU! E.g. Spain, Greece and Switzerland require consent before even taking a picture, let alone publishing. Tango photography operates mostly in the “group photos/public places” zone. In a lot of countries, this is allowed. Where tango photography is specific, is that we often take abrazo pictures or 2 people dancing, with 1 or both persons clearly recognisable, so not ‘group pictures’.
  3. and now there is the General Data Protection Regulation for privacy rights. GDPR touches upon the right of the subjects to opt-in (consent) to data collection, the right to consult and be deleted/forgotten, the right to know with who the information is shared, and the right to be informed upon data breaches.

The new rules for photographers

1. Taking pictures


Opt-out marker

2. Processing pictures

3. Publishing pictures

4. Selling pictures

TangoToIstanbul 2015

2018-03-29: first draft
2018-04-03: included remarks from CM
2018-04-04: published
2023-08-06: updates some links
💬 photography 💬 gdpr 💬 tango 🏷 europe 🏷 privacy