It happens every year: there are always a few students who miss school picture day. And if you’ve seen the pages of a school’s yearbook design, where blank spaces take the place of where a student’s smiling face should be, you know exactly why this is an important topic for yearbook advisors. Blank spaces and missing faces on the basic pages of your publication just don’t translate well, especially when you’re trying to incorporate every kid at your school into your publication! Below, I have a few great ideas for you to use that will make sure those empty slots are filled before your book goes to print. And I think you’re going to love them!
Promote School Picture Day
Picture day always used to take place within the first month of school in the fall. But these days, many schools have changed their process. Many have a school year orientation day at the end of the summer, where students explore their new classroom, meet their new teacher, and get their school portrait taken, all in one fell swoop! If your school doesn’t already do this, encourage your administration to make this change. Orientation is exciting, and since it falls in the middle of their relaxing summer, it stands out more. This means more kids will show up prepared to take a great photo. And that means way better photos for your publication!
If your school just isn’t in a position to transition your picture day to a summertime schedule, make sure you’re promoting the big day with posters, parent emails, and school announcement reminders as soon as the school year starts up. Within your picture day marketing tactics, remind students that their school picture will live on in the yearbook. The more you keep picture day front-and-center in their minds, the more likely they’ll be to show up and dress for success!
Even with your best promotional tools working to encourage your campus to be present on picture day, there will be a few stragglers who just don’t show up. From student illnesses to family vacations, there are roadblocks you’ll have to work with. That’s why picture retake day exists! Most schools plan for student absences on picture day, and have an option for retakes a few weeks (or sometimes months) later. Promote your retake day just like you would your original picture day, with posters, announcements and parent emails. The more aware your students are of the opportunity to get their picture taken, the more likely they’ll be to take advantage of it. And that means fewer blank spaces in your final publication! Depending on the number of students in your school, you could even send out personalized reminders to those who missed the first day.
If you still don’t have an image for everyone on your campus after retake day, utilize some of your camera equipment to take a few of your own pictures. While they won’t look completely consistent with the rest of the images, you’ll fill up any blank spaces left within your yearbook, making the overall design look better, and ensuring that each student has an opportunity to be seen. To take a great portrait, find a nice backdrop in your school. A neutral color and pattern will work best, so it doesn’t pull focus from the subject. While the final image you use will be a student close-up from the shoulders up, don’t be afraid to go a little wider with your lens settings. After all, you don’t want to wind up with pictures that are too close up! Then simply edit your images to be as close to the rest of your yearbook portraits as possible. Your students will definitely appreciate being incorporated like all of their friends!
School Pictures and Your Yearbook Design
School picture day can have a big impact on your overall yearbook design. It’s often the first place students look to check out their own yearbook photo, and share a little more about their class with their parents. As they get older, this is where the kids on your campus will look back to when they’re remembering all of the fun times they had throughout the school year. So do your best to make sure all of your students have a portrait that winds up within your yearbook. Your publication will look stunning when there are no random blank spaces. Plus, this is the first step towards a totally inclusive yearbook design!