Five Fun 'No Photo Available' Filler Ideas

Make sure every student’s photo is included.
Photo Credit: Flickr CC user Simonov

There’s nothing more awkward on a yearbook page than a white, empty space with the words “NO PHOTO AVAILABLE” across the area where someone’s school photo should be. Where are they? Why didn’t they make it to picture day? How will anyone remember what they looked like 10, 20, 30 years down the line? If there’s no photo of said person, did they ever really exist?

Okay, so the last question might be a tad dramatic, but seriously, a ‘no photo available’ sign is no fun for any of the parties involved. That’s why it’s up to you, the yearbook staff, to fill that dead, unflattering space with something a little more interesting and memorable.

Just because a kid misses out on school photo day, doesn’t mean they should miss out on having their mini-moment in the yearbook – even if the new image in their space doesn’t quite look like them. Here are some ways you can make sure every student’s mug is included somehow:

Avatar Me!

If there’s no actual photo of the person in question to be found, you can always make a funny avatar just for them. If you know they play trumpet in the band, you can add a fun emoji of the instrument to show this side of their personality. You can also create thought bubbles, stars, and backgrounds to their newly-created mug.

Artistic Expression

You can once again ask the artists on the yearbook staff to work their magic. Whether they decide to sketch their version of the person in question or can fill the space with fun, school-friendly doodles, you can brighten up the empty space with help from the creative artists at your school. If your yearbook has a theme, ask them to incorporate it into their renderings.

Cute Puppy Alert

Nothing turns everyone’s frowns upside down quite like a cute puppy. Substitute all of the absent student photos with adorably cute photos of puppies and everyone’s hearts will melt. You can also use cats, hamsters, and other furry pets as well. Paste one into the empty box and see the smiles start to appear.

Throwback Photos

If the student went to your school the year before, use the photo from the previous year and post “Throwback” across it to let everyone know it’s an oldie but a goodie. You can also ask the person for a baby photo if they don’t have a school photo to submit and do the same thing across the print.

Stick figure fun

Start a short comic spread that follows a plot from one absentee photo to another. Turn the person into a stick figure with a talk bubble and have a running joke go across the pages and overlap with one another. The punchline is revealed in the final ‘no student available’ box.

More Design

yearbook student sketching potential modules for th academics and sports sections Design
What is Modular Yearbook Design?
Read Article
Board game pathway to illustrate the yearbook journey Design
10 Reasons We're Excited About TRL
Read Article
Comparison of popular san serif (Arial, DM Sans, Helvetics), serif fonts (Times New Roman, Garamond, and Courier) with OpenDyslexic Design
Making Yearbooks More Accessible with OpenDyslexic
Read Article
Trophy graphic to denote winner of social media voting Design
Winners of the 2023 Custom Pages Contest
Read Article