How To Organize Yearbook Photos

Image of Organizing Your Yearbook Photos

Getting organized is a sure way to successfully manage and complete any project. It’s also one of the hardest disciplines for us humans to master. When it comes to collecting photographs for your yearbook, unless you take the time to tag photos and organize them into folders, you may find yourself looking for a needle in a haystack down the road.

To help you avoid that dilemma, we’ll cover some of the basics on how to organize yearbook photos. To get some insider tips, we asked Clara Wallace, yearbook advisor at Lisa J Mails Elementary, to chime in from time to time. Let’s start with the basics.

How TreeRing Photo Folders Work.

At TreeRing we’ve created a folder system to easily and intiutively organize your school’s yearbook photos. There are two different types of folders to work with: personal folders and shared folders.

Personal Folders

Create personal folders to keep all of our content neatly organized. Only you will have access, so if you are expecting your yearbook team to contribute, it’s best that you add shared folders (covered below).

Shared Folders

Shared folders provide an excellent opportunity to create centralized folders that your yearbook team or entire school community can access and contribute to. That way, when it’s time to create pages and sections of major activities and events of the school year, you’ll have a plethora of content to choose from.

Creating A System.

By starting early, you can plan out the different events, programs and activities that you’ll want to include in your yearbook, and create separate folders for each. This way, when you’re building those pages, you’ll easily be able to locate their corresponding photos.

Whether you’re like me and prefer to use an Excel spreadsheet, or would rather use the back of a napkin, create a list of the different activities and events you’d like to gather photos for. Now, create folders for those categories in your TreeRing account that are shared with your yearbook team. Simple, right?

Naming Your Folders.

When labeling your folders be certain to choose a naming convention that is easy to understand. There is no value in creating folders and organizing photos, only to forget their contents later. My advise: be obvious.

Choose the first word carefully, and make sure it clearly describes the folder. If you are creating a folder for the annual student art contest, name that folder Art Contest 2014. If it’s for the homecoming dance be clear and label it Homecoming Dance 2013. This may sound like common sense, but I’ve seen many folder systems that are difficult to navigate due to an unclear naming system. This is not the time to be clever, save that for your captions and headlines!

When I asked Clara how she handles it at Lisa J Mails, this was the advice she gave me:

We have a lot of different PTA events at our arts focused school. When we’re planning our yearbook, we create individual folders for the major events, and then one folder, called PTA Events, for all the smaller activities throughout the year.

Tagging and Labeling Photos.

Carefully tagging your photos will make them much easier to search for once you amass a large amount of content. The easiest way to give you the ability to search your photos quickly, besides placing them in folders, is to tag each with relevant keywords. Keywords are words that can be used as reference points for finding information. In this case, it’s recommended that you add at least one keyword that identifies the subject of your photo. For example, if you have photos of the outside of your school that you’ll want to include throughout the yearbook, perhaps using the keyword “building” will help you find them.

You can also tag people in your photographs. This can be useful for quickly finding all the photographs of your school principal, or the football coach, even if they are in separate folders. With both of these options you can tag your photos as you upload them, or you can tag them later.

Community Sourced Photos.

If you haven’t noticed it already, your parents, students and teachers are snapping a lot of photos from their smartphones and digital cameras. With Facebook’s claim that 250 million photos are uploaded daily to its site, it’s obvious that digital photography is a pervasive part of our 21st Century culture. This provides a new opportunity for you to collect photographic content from your entire community. And it’s easy with TreeRing.

Remember that back of the napkin planning we did earlier? Take a look at those events. Which yearbook pages would be better with photos taken from 100 different perspectives? That’s the power of crowd sourcing.

To put it into play, you’ll need to create a new shared folder (remember to label it clearly) and make it accessible to your entire school. Now spread the word via email, Facebook or school announcements, letting your school know they have a chance to get their captured school moments in the yearbook.

I asked Clara how she plans to handle shared folders this year:

We are going to set up a couple of folders like, Kids on Campus and a School Events folder for the school community to upload to. If there are specific things that we need parents’ photos for, such as choir events outside of school, I try to connect with the choir teacher and a parent who is going to the event and ask them to take photos for the yearbook. I can create a folder in our TreeRing account so they can upload them directly. It makes the hand off much easier.

Suggestions for Shared Community Folders.

You’ll likely come up with many shared folder ideas for your school, the majority being activies and events from throughout the year, but we thought it would be fun to give you a few suggestions.

1) Funny Faces

Ultimately, the yearbook needs to be fun for your students, and what better way than giving them a page filled with their faces. Create a shared folder and have your students submit photos wearing their most priceless expressions.

2) Parent Participation Days

Parents will surely be snapping away when they attend school activities. It’s a great source for additional content and perspective.

4) Spirit Days

I recently spoke at a school assembly on spirit day, and talk about inspiration. Students were dressed up in school colors, and they were incredibly excited for the Friday night football game. This would be an amazing source of photos.

Use Your System.

By creating a photo folder system early in the process, and teaching your yearbook team and school how to use the folders and tag photos will help make finding the content to build your individual pages quick and easy. Being able to pinpoint where to find photos will save you a lot of headaches, and give you more time to do the thing you love: creating beautiful yearbook pages.

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