Summer is a great time to reflect on how the previous yearbook season went, and decide what you want to do differently in the year ahead. One thing that can really affect how successful your yearbook season goes is access to the right equipment. Assessing everything from whether you had the software your team needed to create a great spread to if you had enough cameras to go around is an important piece of your preparation for next year. Below, I’ll walk you through how to discern what yearbook resources would make the work easier for your team, how to determine what fits into your budget, and how to address any lacking resources before the fall.
Reflect on the Season
To begin your assessment, think back on what went well during the school year, and what did not. Did missing yearbook resources contribute to frustrations or roadblocks? When you first consider the needs and wants of your committee, include everything under the sun that you could use to make next year’s publication a work of art. To begin your list, think about a few core areas of your process:
- Photography: Excellent photos are an essential aspect of your yearbook design. Were there enough cameras to go around? Was your committee forced to skip certain events because of a lack of cameras? Would extra camera equipment, like new lenses or tripods, contribute to better pictures for your book?
- Editing: The editing and design process are much easier with the right software. Did your committee have the right tools to effectively edit your copy and images? Would more advanced software, like Photoshop or InDesign, be ideal for building a more modern look and feel into the pages of your book?
- Technology: As your yearbook resources become more digital in nature, your committee needs the right technology to access them. Some schools give each student a laptop or tablet to use throughout the year, others do this on a need-only basis. Does your team need updated or additional computers, or other technology, to make your process successful this year?
Prioritize Your Needs
Once you’ve listed out all the tools that would make your yearbook a smashing hit, you need to come back down to the budget. Unfortunately, tighter school budgets mean you’re probably not going to get every want on your list in one year. To pare down your requests, compare your list of wants to the money in your budget. As you’re considering what line items will fit into your monetary allotment, prioritize your list of needs. Identify the yearbook resources you most need to help your process run seamlessly.
For example, a new camera might be essential for sending two teams out to separate events. Or perhaps you broke a tripod this year, and need a replacement. A new computer for your team to work off of could be a necessary expense, but software may be a little further down the list. Mapping out what resources on your list will most support your success will help you submit a budget request that gets approved. And remember, keep your list in a safe spot for next year–when you can request some of those leftover line items on that budget!
Find Free Yearbook Resources
Before you finalize what you’ll ask for, look around for free yearbook resources that can replace some of the items on your list. This will be easiest with any software you request. There are dozens of free apps on the internet that are available for editing photos, many of which offer the tools you’d access in more expensive software.
There are also ways you can make your equipment work on a limited budget. Plenty of online blogs (like ours!) can offer ideas for everything from photography hacks to using outside resources to supplement your images. Peruse these resources as a way to supplement the new tools you request from the school, and you can really balance out your high-tech equipment needs with some low-cost solutions–and have everything you need for a great book for next year!