Yearbook Contest Idea: Award Creativity for 'Best Photo Shoot'

hockey group shot

Discovering the best way to integrate all of the sports team and co-curricular photos into your yearbook is a common challenge. Finding new yearbook page ideas for showcasing these different groups throughout your spread will keep your yearbook fresh and well-organized. While the classic group shots certainly work, they can also be outdated and might not reflect as much of your school’s personality as you’d like.

As the fearless leader of not just any yearbook — but the best that your school’s ever produced — you’re probably saying it’s time to change things up a bit. Which is why I’m going to share with you my favorite way to inspire different school groups to instill a little creativity into their yearbook photos this year: a best photo shoot contest!

The traditional team photos have been used for years. Use a contest to inspire more creative pictures – and a more unique yearbook – from different groups at your school!
Photo Credit: Flickr user BiblioArchives/LibraryArchives

Planning a Contest

While it might sound a little outlandish, there’s nothing that students love more than a fun contest. And since it’s team-based, getting individuals from each group to participate will be a lot easier. The goal of this particular contest is to encourage everyone — from the soccer team to the debate club — to come up with something beyond the traditional team pictures. You know the ones…where the whole team is lined up nice and neat, and the coaches are planted on either side of the students like bookends? Classics are classics for a reason, but this photo style is still a pretty stale way to showcase every individual team. Instead, invite students, coaches, and advisers to pitch new ways to showcase their team personalities through a photo.

To do this best, set up a time for a yearbook photographer to capture each group’s vision. This creates a natural deadline for everyone to brainstorm their photo concepts. You’ll probably have to run your contest once a semester or trimester — because depending on how your school’s calendar is set up, different sports teams and groups meet during different times of the year. But spreading some of the work out across the school year makes your job easier, so it’s a win-win situation. Make sure you let everyone know who they’re in competition with, as it can create a fun rivalry between different groups and spur more creative thinking in the process!

Choosing Winners

So what’s the best way to choose contest winners? I’ve found that a small group of impartial people — in this case, likely some of the faculty — is the perfect fit. Of course, keeping in mind that all faculty participating in the contest should be disqualified as judges. Ask eligible faculty members to vote via secret ballot on their favorite photo and then announce the winner, making sure to highlight the achievement as a big deal at the school. Put a notice in the campus announcements, put the award-winning photo up in the hallways, and share it on your Treering social media site. Building excitement for the winning pictures can help spread anticipation for the release of your publication, and help build yearbook sales at the same time.

Don’t Forget the Prizes

As with any contest, you’ll need to offer a special prize for the winners. What that prize is can depend completely on your budget. It could be an extra page with fun photos from their season in the yearbook. You could give a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop to each team member. You could have special medals made up for the winning students to wear for the day. Or maybe each of the coaches or advisers will get a special gift from their group (that you purchase for them). Whether it’s bragging rights or something bigger, make sure to advertise contest prizes from the start. This will get all participants engaged and ready to share some creative ideas!

Although it’s one of the best yearbook page ideas right now, I realize that getting a great team shot takes a little bit of extra hard work up front. But when it comes down to it, the more creative a group shot is, the more the students’ personalities will shine through, making both those photos and your yearbook spread more unique. Not only that, the more creative the photos, the greater the chances of encapsulating important student memories that made the season great. These are the photos that we all look back on; years later, they remind us what was so awesome about our time spent outside the classroom. And they’re the photos that put a smile on my face all these years later!

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