A lot of yearbook advisors try to solve the problem of needing more yearbook photos by asking parents and students who aren’t part of the yearbook committee to share any photos they have from the school year. And the reason is simple: If you can get your school to share yearbook photos, it’ll increase your photo options, give you more layout choices for your pages, and help you get more people excited about the yearbook.
The catch here, though, is “if.”
It can be tough to get parents and students to share yearbook photos until the absolute last minute. So, we’re focusing this post on answering a question we hear a lot: How can I get more yearbook photos from my school community without beating down people’s doors?
The short answer is this: Be better about asking, and make it easier to say yes. Read on to find out how to do just that.
How to Ask Parents to Share Yearbook Photos
When it comes to collecting photos, where you choose to store them is secondary to how you go about collecting them. So, whether you’re using a dedicated email address, a Dropbox account or TreeRing’s shared folder feature, let’s set that aside for a second. Your first order of business getting your school community to send you their photos.
Email is the way to go.
Since most people are taking photos and reading emails on their phones, you’ll be asking them do something on the very device they’re most likely to be using to complete the task. (How’s that for easy?)
When you write your email, make sure it contains four parts: why you’re writing, what you’re asking, how that ask benefits the person, and how the person receiving your email can take action. You should aim to do all of this in less than three sentences or 75 words.
Here’s an example email that we’ve seen work really well:
So, what’s good about this email?
Mary makes it immediately clearly what she’s asking of Walter, but she takes the extra effort to explain the benefit of sharing those photos. See, it’s not just something that will help Mary; it’s something that will help Walter, too. (Who doesn’t want to make sure their kid is in the yearbook a bunch of times?) Immediately following that, Mary jumps right to instructions on what to do, giving Walter a clear path to take the desired action.
Short, simple, focused. Not too hard right?
How to Make Sharing Yearbook Photos Easier
In the example above, Mary’s email is great because it does all four things we mentioned. In some cases, though, it’s the last one—how the person receiving your email can take action—that’ll be most important.
For parents in your school community who aren’t highly motivated to share yearbook photos, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to do it. That usually means collecting photos in ways that your community is familiar with.
Platforms like Dropbox, Flickr, and Google Drive are good places to start. They’re tremendously popular, free to use and offer easy-to-follow instructions to help you:
(TreeRing, by the way, has a similar solution built-into our free yearbook software. It also integrates with Dropbox, Flickr, Google Drive, Facebook, and Instagram, so it’s easy to bring photos in from outside sources. But that’s enough about us for now.)
Quick side note: If you use Google for Education, you can create a Google Form that allows students and teachers to upload photos. This feature lets you collect photos and important information about those photo, like who’s in it and when it was taken. Check out this article for details.
Bottom line: The less frustrating the process is, the more photos you’ll get. So, it benefits you to make it easy.
As you ask your school community to share yearbook photos, think about those pages where you’ll need help with photos. Focus on trying to get more yearbook photos for those sections first. And when you do, remember this tip: Be clear in your purpose for writing, be direct in what you’re asking, and make it easy for someone to take action.