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University of Wollongong Australia

Digital Storytelling: Ethics

Ethical considerations for use of images in Digital Stories

Gathering Images for your Digital Story:

Images should only include participants from whom informed consent has been obtained.

 Gaining consent to use Images in your Digital Story:

Informed consent should be obtained from all participants captured in all images. Informed consent ensures that a participant knows all that is involved in participating in the digital story. It is important that the participant knows: what a digital story is, the process of creating a digital story, what they are asked to contribute (e.g., voice, image), and who will be able to access the story once it is completed. This information must be provided to participants in appropriate language before informed consent can be given.  For children informed consent should be obtained from a parent or legally designated caretaker.

 Manipulating Images for your Digital Story:

Ethically appropriate:

  •  Brightness/contrast control
  • Burning and dodging to control tonal range
  • Colour correction 
  • Cropping a frame to fit the layout 
  • Retouching of dust and scratches

 Not ethically appropriate:

  •  Adding, moving, or removing objects within the frame

  •  Colour change other than to restore what the subject looked like

  •  Cropping a frame in order to alter its meaning

  •  Flopping a photograph (left/right reversal)

  •  Printing a photograph in other than "true" orientation

 Presenting your Digital Story

Participants must be aware of prospective audiences for their images.  It is important that images are shared only in these contexts.