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Comprehensive Guide to Photos in Your Yearbook

Type: All  |  Category: Yearbooks  |  Date: 3rd April 2017


It’s time to get your cameras out, and lurk through those photo archives for pictures of your school, students, and fun times shared. Leavers’ Books’ latest blog is all about getting the most out of your leavers’ yearbook, filled with lots of advice and know-how.

Fun ideas and examples for creating and taking photos for an end-of-school yearbook for students, children and teachers

If you’re still looking for that perfect end of school year present for your students to congratulate them on all the hard work they’ve done over the past year, sitting their SATs, or even to commemorate the end of a fantastic school journey and reflect back over the past few years, a yearbook from Leavers’ Books is the treat for you. A fantastic utility that can be used to help keep the students’ creative skills at bay, whilst they unload from the heavy studying routine, lesson planned around content creation for a yearbook is something students will enjoy.

I’ll be looking at one of the key elements used to comprise a yearbook in this column, and it could be argued it’s the most important – pictures. Most books need an attractive cover to lure you in; comic books have to have a colour explosion for you to be enticed; and when you think back to those annuals you would get for Christmas, the ones with the most drawings, colours and fun would always get more attention.

So how can you get the most out of your yearbook?

Like with any project, seek inspiration elsewhere. Saying that, I would also recommend taking a look at our example yearbooks to get the ball rolling, but if you really want to add that unique flair to your yearbook, to make yours stand out and have the children excited, look at annuals, look at magazines, take a look at pamphlets and brochures, even photography blogs will instil some inspiration and get those juices flowing.

Of course, you can never neglect the basics. Let’s have a look at some of the recommended staple shots to get you going.

Judge a Book by its Cover Photo

Examples of covers for an end-of-year yearbook for schoolsThis is the first thing everyone is going to see – so it’s got to be memorable! Depending on the cover design template you have selected, you have the ability to upload anywhere between one to three different pictures for yearbook cover.

We’ve seen many different covers over the years, and schools in the past have used a wide variety of images including:

  • School logo
  • School building
  • Class photo
  • School mascot

Whilst they are the core images most would go for, several other suggestions include the playground, photos of a sporting event or the school’s team, a big art project everyone joined in on, photos of the teachers together, the classroom (either empty or filled with life), class productions or plays in action, fancy dress, and photos from activity days or school trips that meant something special.

If you’re feeling a bit ‘out there’, and really want to stamp your individuality, look further afield. Seek out album covers and DVD covers for unique inspiration and finishing touches – what sort of images have been used that really draw your attention or you think looks visually magnificent?

Think also, what relevance does this picture have? If it’s of a bench, is that bench special, and presented for a reason, does it house many incredible, sentimental memories, or is it just a regular bench in the playground?

Of course, you do not have to use photos on your cover if you do not wish to, but there are some ideas of what you could use if you wanted your cover to have more of an eye-catching identity!

That is a Class Photo

A group shot of all students in those traditional three rows with the teacher sitting in the middle on the bottom row is always loved. It’s a staple to any school experience; it’s also what we love to see when we’re older and reminiscing. There’s always one child blinking, and one with the biggest smile in the world. Not only should it take up an entire page of your yearbook, but you have many options thereafter with this feature.

Examples of school class photos for an end-of-year yearbook for schools

We here at Leavers’ Books love the idea of comparison. For example, including a class photo from reception or year 1 to see who has come and gone, how the children have grown, and how friendships have developed is always bound to have people staring at for awhile. Another idea is, after the serious photo, to have a silly one! Everyone jumping in the air, or pulling funny faces, can show the other side of the students and the juxtaposition works really well in making you smile. If the students went away on a class trip, sometimes a group photo of them in outdoor gear or their PE kit from sports day is always an option.

You may now be asking, how do I take a good class photo?. So just some reminders for you: they always look better taken outside on a sunny day or inside, and remember to use somewhere that is well lit as this will prevent your image from becoming grainy. You will need to ensure that the photos you take are landscape, as these will fit into our book templates easiest, but also there is no wasted space!

Examples of funny school class photos, comparisons, through-the-years and outtakes for an end-of-year yearbook for schools

The Hardest Working Part of the Eye

Now we’re looking at pupil photos, if you’re still following since that terrible pun. One thing to always check before going ahead with pictures of students is to ensure that the parents are happy for their child’s photo to appear in the yearbook. Usually, this should never be a problem, but it’s always recommended to get permission. To save you some time, we’ve already produced permission slips for your school to print off and hands to parents to allow your children to be included!

Taking fresh, new photos for this is always a winner. If they house a similar style, it will create a sense of unity and no one will feel left out. Remember to make a list of every student and make sure those off on photo day still get their picture taken in the same fashion down the line!

A second tip is, if you were to include more than one picture, select one of their own; that shows them expressing their individuality. If they’re in casual clothes, the better, or better yet, doing an activity they love – be it swimming, reading, playing football, horse riding or taekwondo.

Examples of student photos and pupil profile pages for an end-of-year yearbook for schools

Is it ‘the Staff are’ or ‘the Staff is’?

Regardless, they need their photo taken! To help break things up, we also suggest that whilst you may have had three students to a page, to have two per page of staff. These are the people that helped influence us growing up, so we’d like to see a nice picture of them, a little bit bigger than others.

Due to their role and what they represent, it’s wise to have them looking smart and well presented – be it on the same background for each teacher, or a natural picture in their environment; teaching a class, standing in the gymnasium or playing field, sat at a computer, etc. Rule of thumb, this is preferred over photos outside of/away from school – so the less snaps from holiday or nights with friends at the pub the better.

We’ve seen some brilliant, unique ideas over the years – themes such as photos taken in a photo booth can be great visually.

As we get older, we forget what our teachers look like, so by capturing them in their prime is a lovely addition to the yearbook.

The Engine of the School – Ensuring Everything Runs

We class this as a space for you to include photos of additional members of staff or areas of you school. But what kind pictures could you include? School’s use a variety of images to include within their Engine of the School pages, you could add staff members who may not be included in your staff pages, this includes classroom assistants, canteen staff, the office team a maintenance manager, learning mentor or even staff from the school.

However it is not only staff that you can include in your Engine of the School, you could include images of the school buildings, playground area or an area which the children usually play with toys. It may even be worth including resources such as the computer room, learning area such as a reading space or library, and perhaps there is an area that the children enjoy being creative. You could even use this page to include an image of a display or an area you are particularly proud of.

Never rush with taking these pictures, try and experiment with different shots and angles and don’t be afraid to scrap the photos completely if you’re not happy with them. Remember that their purpose is to be visually exciting and spark memories.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to the Engine of the School page, it is up to you to decide what is appropriate to include and decide what images to use.

A Collage Before College, a Montage for Monday

The final idea we’ll explore today will be a fantastic filler and wonderful story teller – a visual pop and bang. A collection of photos from the same day, or even of completely random fun moments, seem to fair very well in yearbooks for leavers’. It’s a sudden burst of excitement and silly memories. For example, you can collect photos from events such as these:

  • Sports day
  • School trips away
  • Summer fêtes
  • Non-uniform days
  • School plays
  • School discos

One thing we’ve noticed becoming more popular over the last few months is the introduction to a selfie page. Everyone takes a cheeky picture of themselves these days, and it’s time to exploit that and make the students cringe when they’re much older looking at how they posed or how they dressed – the selfie page is perfect for that! It’s a great way to get the students involved in the project too but selecting their favourite selfie to include.

Remember: You do not have to use a caption if you do not wish to; sometimes a photo is instantly recognisable for what it represents and speaks for itself.

Hopefully this blog has given you a few ideas and got the ball rolling for you; you’ll have some idea of how to get started and what to look at including. We’ll also be adding fresh ideas to the site, so always check back – and if you’d prefer a more personal touch, feel free to contact us directly! Now, what’s stopping you? Get started and begin creating your school’s yearbook today!

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