Your Yearbook Photos: "Can you use my Instagram shots?"

As the world has become a more digital place, Instagram continues to gain attention as the best place to visually document life. More and more, the photos that capture little moments of life are taken and shared via the social media app, instead of a camera. This makes Instagram an essential piece of your yearbook. Not only are these images the best way to get a full view of life on your campus from the eyes of parents and students, but the sheer number of people who are capturing everyday things translates to a lot more yearbook photos for you to choose from! Below, I’ll walk you through exactly how you can use parent- and student-sourced Instagram pictures on the pages of your publication, and how to gracefully return the shots that just won’t fit within your features.

Crowdsource Your Content

To turn all of your parents and students into photographers for your content, they first need to know that you’re accepting crowdsourced images. Use the morning announcements, or send out an email to your school once a month, letting everyone know where they can send their Instagram photos for consideration. By regularly making contact, you’ll remind your audience of the opportunity to get their photos featured. As you’re planning your campaign, add the dates you want to send out the messages to your  yearbook calendar.

Make it easy for the parents and students submitting photos by setting up one email account that operates as a hub for collecting all of these images. You can also create a special social media tag, such as #ourschoolnamephotos, for individuals to add to their images when they post them on Instagram. This way they don’t even have to take that extra step of emailing you their potential yearbook photos! Just make sure you let everyone know that in order for you to actually see their images, their account needs to be public.

How to Use the Images

There are dozens of ways you can use the yearbook photos that are submitted by your campus. Typically, parents will have great shots from helping with classroom parties, track and field day, or big fundraisers. These images can fill out your more professional content, and offer a “behind the scenes” look at some of the fun events that happened on your campus throughout the year. If you get enough of these pictures, you could even create a spread with your book that’s dedicated to all the ways the parents volunteered throughout the year! This is an especially great idea for preschool and elementary school yearbooks, as parents are just as interested in what you add to your final publication as the students.

For older classrooms, students will be able to submit great pictures from field trips, club meetings, and away games. This can offer awesome yearbook photos that supplement what you’ve already gathered for your features on specific teams, groups, and clubs at your school.

Unused Instagram Yearbook Photos

Once you start to spread the word, you’ll get a lot of crowdsourced Instagram images submitted to your committee. Obviously, you can’t use every photo across the pages of your publication. So choose some of the best shots that fit within the articles and content you’ve created, and then encourage students to include the unused images in their custom yearbook pages! Create a quick form email that you can copy and paste to return the pictures you don’t use. For example:

Dear [parent or student name],

Thank you so much for submitting your photos to the yearbook committee! We love seeing how everyone at our school gets involved from unique angles.

Unfortunately, we can’t use every photo in the school yearbook. But that doesn’t mean this picture needs to go to waste! We would love to see you use this shot on the custom pages of your yearbook. Just log into your Treering account, upload the photo and add it to a page. It’s super easy!

If you have more images to submit, we’d love to consider them! Keep sending your Instagram photos to this email address until [deadline for Instagram pictures].

Happy yearbooking – and thanks again!

[Your name] and the [school name] yearbook committee

Offering a nice note will encourage the students and parents from your campus to continue submitting Instagram shots for yearbook photos, and also give them some ideas as to what they should include on their custom pages. This supports your committee’s need for unique photos, while making sure individuals don’t feel excluded if you don’t use their pictures. And that will help everyone to get a copy of the yearbook that reflects their own school experience this year!

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