Getting yearbook tips from experienced advisors is like getting head starts in races: It’s rare that you get them, but, when you do, you’ve got less work to do than you did an instant before.
Find an advisor who’s willing to share his or her yearbook tips with you, and you’ll end up with advice on everything from how to encourage creativity and increase confidence in your reporting team to keeping the size of your yearbook committee manageable and finding the best ways to introduce design concepts.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a 20-year advisor or a first-time parent volunteer: Good yearbook tips can make your year a little easier.
The challenge, though, can be in finding the right people to give you the right advice.
That’s why we’ve created this post: Keep reading, and you’ll get great tips from experienced yearbook advisors. (This stuff is so good, by the way, that each tip is a direct quote from the advisor.)
Let’s jump in.
7 Yearbook Tips From Experienced Advisors
How to Boost Creativity
“We always do a review of the previous year’s book and discuss what worked and what didn’t. We do a lot of brainstorming to come up with new ideas and angles.
We try to look for interesting features that will make that spread unique. For example: Our wrestling spread last year…we learned that we had a girl wrestling on the team for the first time, and it was a very interesting story. We interviewed her and her teammates; it turned out to be one of our best features last year!
We encourage our staff to carry a small notebook (yearbook journal) with them during the day. We instruct them to look for interesting features every day and jot them down in the notebook. They really like the idea of being “investigators” and getting the scoop! We also encourage them to create a Pinterest account and create a yearbook board. Pinterest has endless sources for yearbook: it has become a staple for our staff!
We encourage them to “think outside the box.” All ideas are welcome; sometimes, they need to be “re-focused,” but even the “overboard” ideas have given us something to work with!”
— Shari Black, North Stanly Middle School
How to Promote Your Yearbook
“At our registration event before the school year started, I had a yearbook booth to show off the results of our first year using TreeRing. I ordered an extra copy of my yearbook to show them my two, free customized personal pages — both dedicated to the Kansas City Royals’ World Series championship last year. That sparked some ideas among parents and kids alike! (I used primarily photos that I took, or that friends on Facebook took, of the games and the victory parade.)”
— Kevin Worley, Northgate Middle School
How to Keep Your Club Manageable
“In the beginning, I thought the more hands/minds the better, but it was a bit more chaotic than I had hoped. Now, I limit my team to 10 people.
We meet once a week for about an hour and cover anything that needs to be done and start new pages if we are ready to move on. We use Schoology at our school and I created a “club” page there which allows us to stay in constant contact as assignments are getting done. My club consists of 8th – 12th graders. I will generally put my younger ones in charge of tagging photos and making sure photos are moved to the proper folder. My seniors have a lot of say in how the senior section of our book will look and spend most of the year working through the special projects for that. My mid-age students will mostly work on page design. I do also have a student that I put in charge of proofing so we know we have a final eye on everything. We have so much fun coming up with new projects each year that it has been fairly easy keeping the excitement at a good level.”
— Rachel White, Cherokee Christian Schools
How to Help Students Feel Comfortable as Reporters
“Make really meaningful, visually pleasing, and large yearbook press passes for your kids. A good pass will make them more confident in getting into tight spots to get photos and helps keep them on task. It will also help others be less freaked out or think: ‘Why is that kid pointing a camera at me?’.
A good pass makes getting your kids access to things like the sidelines of games or free entrance to events easier as well. I like doing passes because I can customize them each year to match the theme and colors of the yearbook for that year, but others do shirts or pullovers, which work well also. Whatever you get, put some time/money in to help it feel legit.”
— Ben Johnson, Hutchison High School
How to Introduce Design Concepts
“I usually start off the year by telling my students, ‘Design a page all about you.’ But that’s usually not enough guidance.
This year, I’m going to start by saying, ‘Design a double page spread about Field Day.’ It’s an annual event at the school that all the kids know. I’ll give them all of the pictures from last year. Then, we’ll have their designs as a learning tool, and we’ll critique everyone’s designs.”
— Toni Vahlsing, Abington Friends School
How to Step Into a New Role
“The most important thing I did when I became yearbook advisor was to interview students who had been involved in the process before me.
I sat down with my new yearbook staff (which included those who had some experience) and we went through several years of books to decide what we thought worked and what didn’t, and made notes of what we wanted going forward.”
— Rachel White, Cherokee Christian Schools
How to Generate Sales
“I like to print perforated, blank business cards with our yearbook sales info, then hand them out to students and families.
With these handy, portable cards, my yearbook staff—whose first names and last initials all appear on the card—can generate buzz or initiate conversations about sales by handing them out to classmates and friends. At Meet-the-Teacher Night, registration or other family/school events, I always have a stack handy.”
—Kevin Worley, Northgate Middle School
The best part of getting yearbook tips like this from advisors?
Putting them to use, of course.
Remember: advice comes from experience. It took these advisors time to figure out what works (and what doesn’t) for their schools’ yearbooks. The same will probably be the same for you, but these yearbook tips can give you a head start on solving any challenge you may face.