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Why should you take profile photos of your gym members

Why should you take profile photos of your gym members
Written by COSMIN Published on 2021-01-13 7 minutes read

One of the simplest methods of validating members' access to the gym is with the help of profile pictures. Regardless of the check-in method you use in the club, it is useful to have a photo of each member with an active subscription or service package in your management system.

After all, if the front desk team doesn't know each member very well, anyone can show up at the gym with another member's membership card or wristband.

While not everyone may want to have their picture taken, it is important for your business and other members' safety. That's why you need to enforce this aspect on every member with an active membership. If you manage these photos correctly, you won't have any problems from a GDPR point of view or any other data protection law.

Why should you take pictures of members?

Very simple: to ensure you know who is entering your fitness club and avoid fraud. If you don't have an access control system based on fingerprint, retina, or face scanning, your front desk team must correctly identify each person entering the club.

Otherwise, any member can lend their card to everyone they know to get into the gym, and the front desk has no way of knowing if they don't know that member personally. Conversely, if the front desk has access to the member's photo when they check in, they can immediately confirm their identity.

This way of validating access is very simple to implement and more affordable.

If a stranger uses another member's membership, this is a financial loss for your gym and a security issue. Also, if that person causes an incident, it will not be easy to identify them since they entered the club with a different member card.

How to take a picture of a member

The easiest way to take pictures of members is with a web camera linked to the computer at the front desk.

Ideally, the club's management system would allow a photo to be saved in each member's profile. Thus, when a member checks in, their profile opens automatically. Therefore, the receptionist can see the picture on the spot without wasting time searching for the image. That way, the check-in process wouldn't be more difficult or take longer.

At the same time, it is important that when you take a picture of the member, you explain to the member the reason why you need the picture. Under no circumstances should you take the photo without the member knowing about it.

What rules do you have to follow when taking pictures of members?

Members' photos are considered personal data, so it is important to comply with GDPR rules or any other data protection law in your country.

First of all, it is good to include in the member contract a clause according to which members must agree to have their picture taken, but the club will not use that picture for other purposes without the member's consent.

The legal argument is that the picture is a set of personal data without which you, as a gym, cannot provide the purchased services to the member.

This means you can save the member's profile picture so your staff can verify their identity when they come to the gym. But, under no circumstances are you allowed to publish that picture on social media pages, on your website or in other places online or offline if the member has not given his express consent.

It is also good to explain all these aspects, in detail, to members who do not want their picture taken.

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Remember to delete the pictures of members who no longer have active memberships

The Personal Data Protection Regulation says that you are not allowed to store personal data that you do not need. This means you have no reason to continue saving the profile picture for someone whose membership has expired and who has yet to purchase another service. So, remember to delete the pictures of inactive members from the database.

For example, automatically deletes photos of members who no longer have an active subscription 30 days after it expires.

A quick catch-up...

Although it may seem like a non-essential aspect, it is very important to ensure that you have a picture of every active club member in your database. That's the only way you'll be able to confirm the identity of those checking in if you don't already have an access control system with biometric data.

Otherwise, the member may lend their card to everyone they know, and your business may lose potential revenue. In addition, the safety of other members is put at risk if unknown individuals have access to the premises.

The simplest and most affordable method to solve these headaches is to have a profile picture for each member. Such a picture can be taken very easily with a web camera connected to the computer at the reception desk.

And if you comply with all data protection rules and include a clause to this effect in your member contract, you won't have any problems, even when members aren't too keen to have their picture taken.


Cosmin has the unique ability to provide not only the best solution for his clients but also to help them make the most of the tools they have. He spends his time in gyms and fitness centers, not only training but also observing and researching every operational aspect of this business.

Fitness Business Romania
Fitness Business Romania

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