Crowdsourcing Yearbook Photos


Great yearbooks need great photos. But ensuring that you have enough coverage of key events and activities throughout the year can be a challenging task. Thing is, today’s schools are filled with camera carrying parents, staff and students, snapping away shots from hundreds of different angles. So, how do you tap into all of that creative content? Crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing (in this case yearbook photo crowdsourcing) is the process of gathering content by asking a large group of people (your school community) to contribute their content (photos). So how do you go about crowdsourcing yearbook photos? We’ve created a simple process, and asked yearbook adviser Clara Wallace to tell us how she is handling it at her school this year.

Set Up A System

You can always accept photos by email, Dropbox or through some other online service, but this can be a cumbersome process for you and for your school community. By using Treering to create your school yearbook, you can quickly set up shared folders, to which parents and students can add photos from events throughout the year. Be sure to label the events clearly, so there is no confusion. For more tips, read our post about organizing photos.


How is Clara doing it?

Our school recently had a camp field trip for 5th graders. It was a 3 day/2 night camp and a much anticipated school tradition that I knew we wanted to cover in the yearbook. I spoke to teachers and parent chaperones and let them know that the yearbook team wanted them to take photos and submit them for the yearbook. We then set up a shared folder in Treering titled “5th Grade Camp” so parent chaperones would easily be able to find where to upload their photos.

Invite Your School Community

There is one simple thing to recognize with crowdsourcing photos: If your community doesn’t know that you want their photos, you won’t get them. Getting the word out is critical. Let’s cover the key elements:

1) What – Create clear messaging. Consider headlines like, “Have great photos? Yearbook team wants them!”

2) When – If you have a deadline, tell people what it is.

3) How – Let people know how to deliver their content to you.

Here is how Clara is getting the word out:

• We’ve made flyers and plan to post them on bulletin boards throughout the school.

• We’ll also create posters or banners and post at entrance points, the library and the office, for example.

• We always leverage existing channels, like the school newsletter, morning announcements or weekly assemblies. Ask your principal or school secretary for help.

• Relying on teachers and room parents is important for us. A good way to do this is to email all the teachers so that they can just forward the email to their room parents.

• Finally, we’ll use the school website and our Facebook page.

Use Facebook for Crowdsourcing Yearbook Photos

Provide Instructions

To ensure you’ll be able to utilize the photos your community submits, you’ll want to offer suggestions on how to take a ‘good’ photo. What’s important, is not that it’s a National Geographic award winning photo, but that it has good lighting, focus, and resolution. Mention the following keywords in your messaging to give your school photographic guidance: focused, good lighting, close enough so we can see faces, high-resolution.

Clara offered the following advice:

An idea that we are putting into place this year is offering an after-school workshop on taking great photos. Through networking at school, I have met a couple of parents who are photographers and have offered to help other parents with some basic photography tips. The idea will be to cover basics like taking good photos from a smartphone, fundamentals of lighting, and composition.

Create Some Buzz

It can often be helpful to provide your community with inspiration when it comes to contributing photographs. We all do better with structure. I asked Clara what she plans to do at Lisa J Mails this year to get her parents and students snapping more photos. Here are some of her suggestions:


To get your school excited about contributing content, sponsor a photo contest. The prize can be as simple as getting the contributed photo published in the yearbook. You could come up with a theme for photos, such as candids, funny faces, or crazy socks.

Photo booth

Setting up a photo booth with props at a school event will encourage your community to have fun and contribute more photos.

Photo Challenges

More from Clara on her idea for a school photo challenge:

We’re doing a ‘30 Day Photo Challenge’ where I’ll post a list of photo challenges for people to follow along with. This is a good way to get people into a habit of taking photos for their custom pages. You can find a few examples of photo challenges that I posted on the Treering Pinterest page.

As you can see, there are many ways to get your community involved in sharing their photographs and snapshots. I’d love to hear your feedback on how you’re crowdsourcing photos at your school? Write your comments and feedback below.

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