Use coloured lanyards to let people opt out of photographs

Not everybody likes having their photograph taken, and coloured lanyards make it easy for people to opt out.

At any conference, there will be some people who don’t want to appear in photographs. That’s fine, and you should give them a way to opt out. Approaches like “talk to an organiser” or “put a sticker on your badge” don’t really work – they scale badly, and if you take a picture of a crowd, it’s hard to see if anybody has the badge sticker.

Instead, some conferences use coloured lanyards to show whether you want to appear in photographs:

The key is having a bright colour that means “no photos please”. It stands out in a crowd, and makes it clear if you’ve accidentally snapped somebody who didn’t want their picture taken. It should stand out at a distance, and to somebody who’s colour blind.

Flash photography is a particular issue for some people (e.g. with epilepsy). It’s also distracting if you’re on stage and a flash goes off at the back of the room! You may want extra opt-outs for that; I know a few people who learnt that the hard way.

If you have children at your event (e.g. a young coder’s workshop), give all of them the “don’t photograph me” lanyard to avoid red tape around photographing children.

The three colours of lanyard at PyCon UK 2017. Yellow if you didn't want to appear in photographs, blue if you were happy to appear in photographs, red if you were an organiser or volunteer. Photo by me.