yearbooks online

Responsible Reporting

Reporting? Isn't that just for newspapers and broadcasting? Nope...it applies to yearbooks, too! While you may not fancy your staff as "reporters", that is exactly what you're sending them out into the world to do: report.

When publishing a high school yearbook, equal weight should be placed on both journalism and photojournalism. It's easy to get lost in the imagery of your yearbook layouts: big beautiful photography that tells a story in itself. It's not enough! Those images need a well-written piece of journalistic magic to fill in any gaps there may be. In today's social climate, it becomes increasingly important to report accurate and pertinent information to your audience. What your audience (student body) is looking for in their yearbook is, essentially, a volume of your school's history. So, how does one decide how to caption photos or choose information for features? It's called news judgement.

News judgement is a phrase used to describe the act of vetting a news story and judging whether or not it's of importance/novelty to your audience. Those journalists said to have good "news judgement" are inherently good at delivering the type of story their audience wants to read at the right time in the right tone. Because, let's face it, if a publication misses the mark, people will notice and in the age of social media with terms like "fake news" being tossed about, it's best to not take any chances.

What should you consider when choosing how to report on a year-in-the-life of your school?

Timeliness - is the feature you're considering pertinent to the year in question?  This is particularly important for those that lay out their yearbook using a chronological format.

Novelty - is the story as rare as it is entertaining? If the answer is yes to both, your story will deliver on more than one level.

Conflict & Consequence - does your story deal with two or more opposing sides? As long as equal coverage is given to all sides and your story reads without bias, stories of rivalry are of high interest to many audiences. Following up the story with the outcome or consequence completes your news circle. In a publication like a yearbook, interviewing people from the opposing sides during and after the conflict is the most complete and thorough way to cover the story. There is no "next issue" to follow up in, so don't leave your readers hanging!

While there are many aspects of reporting to consider while choosing content for your yearbook, these are solid initial guidelines to follow. A great place to look for more journalism curriculum is the Journalism Education Association. JEA provides advisers the tools for teaching students responsible and effective journalism. With a JEA membership, teachers have access to a well-thought-out curriculum written and curated by industry professionals.

Taking the opportunity to not only organize a bunch of photos with captions on pages, but to actually report on the happenings of your school year will make publishing and distributing your yearbook not only fun but oh-so-rewarding, as well. Deliver a piece of history your staff can be proud of!

Get The Shot: 10 Suggested Images To Capture At A Graduation Ceremony

The greatest moment of many high school seniors' year is the very end of it. Walking across a stage and getting that piece of paper that basically says, "Good Job! You don't have to come back here ever again!" Graduation ceremonies are an important part of every school year. Photographing the day so the story can accurately be told later is key. Even if you aren't charged with capturing the day for the yearbook, photographing the day with a more photojournalistic approach will absolutely leave you with images worthy of sharing with the yearbook staff via Pictavo Community!

Here are our top 10 suggested photos to take at your school's graduation ceremony.

1. DETAILS - Grab a cap and gown and all the trimmings (tassel, stole, cords, etc.) along with a commencement program. Arrange them together and take photos from a few different angles making sure to get details like the date on the front of the program, class motto or school flower, if available. Got some students that decorate the top of their mortarboard? Get those detail shots now!

2. PREP - As graduates arrive and they help one another straighten their gowns, collars and tassels, get a few pictures! These un-posed real life shots tell so much more about those moments than any organized, traditional photo ever could. Getting a shot of best friends giddy with anticipation or holding back tears while they help each other prep will bring viewers into your day.

3. THE LINE UP - The grads are lined up and ready to go...see all those matching robes waiting in anticipation? Take some interesting angle shots. Getting low and grabbing a photo of the line of feet with graduation robes hanging above them is a great filler shot for a yearbook spread about commencement or baccalaureate.

4. SPEAKERS - Don't be afraid to go where you need to get the shots you want! Be respectful of the ceremony and spectators, but don't sacrifice shots of speakers and important moments of the ceremony! Position yourself so you can get shots of speakers' facial expressions as they read their message for the graduating class.

5. GRADS GRADUATING - Obviously it would be impossible to include every grad walking the stage in your yearbook spread, getting a few to include is important! If you're lacking coverage on a few seniors, this is your last chance! Capture them receiving their diploma and include them in the spread.

6. EMOTION - Commencement ceremonies can get long. Use the time to catch the grads that are caught up in the moment. Someone will see their grandparents and wave enthusiastically, someone may be moved to tears by a speaker. Watch for the emotions of the day and get the shot!

7. THE TOSS - The hat toss. It's a given. Everyone has seen them, everyone knows it's going to happen. But the time the moment is special is when it's YOU. Get the shot for these grads.

8. POST GRAD GLEE - The graduates will surely gather somewhere to take photos with one another along with their families. Get ready and shoot, shoot, shoot. Everywhere you turn will be happy grads hugging, laughing, posing and just enjoying this time. Snap away! People don't need to be posed or looking at your camera...it's often better if they aren't. Capturing true emotion rather than the frozen smile most people produce when in front of a camera is what makes the images you're capturing special.

9. DIPLOMAS - Let the grads pose with their diplomas, too. They worked hard to get here...get them to show them off! Personality while posing is welcome!

10. SAYONARA! - Snapping just a few images of grads walking away in their gowns, holding hats and diplomas will come in useful. Need a last page of your yearbook? Bingo. This is the only day you're going to be able to get this shot...take advantage!

Approaching graduation day with a photojournalistic approach is going to deliver images that are yearbook worthy!

Approaching graduation day with a photojournalistic approach is going to deliver images that are yearbook worthy!

Take these ideas with you to commencement and you'll successfully capture the day. Creatively capturing the event may be a little more work, but your yearbook will be that much better for it!

 

3 Last-Ditch Sales Efforts To Boost Yearbook Sales

When you're down to the wire and you haven't quite hit your sales goal, yet, what do you do? We've got a few suggestions for the last few weeks of yearbook sales.

First of all, your sales team cannot be shy. It's time to use all of the tools at your disposal to make those last minute sales. First and most obvious in today's cyber-connected society: SOCIAL MEDIA. Every person working on your yearbook should be promoting it via every platform they are active on. Not exactly sure how to go about it? Try this:

  •  Snap a photo of the team working on the book or people looking at last year's book.   
  •  Use this photo on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with a message that details how much time is left in your campaign AND when/where you'll be for people to place orders. If your school utilizes online ordering, give them the web address, too!
  • Does your school have social media accounts? Ask whoever provides content for them to post what you've posted on your own accounts.
  • Snapchat another photo of the yearbook team or the cover for this year's book on a computer monitor. Post it to your story for the day. Again, everyone involved in the project should do this. Create a buzz! Make people aware time is running out! 
  • Do it again tomorrow.

Next, utilize your school's daily announcements. At the very least, information about yearbook sales could be included in the daily information students get. If you're feeling creative, write a clever soundbite and make the announcement yourself! Many schools also email all parents subscribed to the announcements each day. Request that the information be passed along that way, as well. Include all details including when and where to purchase (including online option if applicable), the price of the yearbook and last day to order.

Using brightly colored countdown flyers may boost last minute sales efforts!

Using brightly colored countdown flyers may boost last minute sales efforts!

Last, but not least, plaster the hallways and doorways with signs that change daily saying how many days are left to purchase. A visible countdown shows there is a hard and fast deadline that needs to be met. Changing the flyer positions and color of paper they're printed on each day will call attention to your campaign. Make sure whoever is hanging new flyers also takes down all the flyers from the days previous to avoid any confusion about time left to order.

Want to use our countdown flyers? Find the blank printable version here.

We Love Checklists

It's February? Already? Wouldn't you know it...we've got a little present for you:

February's checklist was created using background B6165S, Clip Art piece C4677N_BW and Soli font.

Print version here.

A Few Tips for Custom Cover Creation

You've taken the time to develop a theme for your yearbook and carefully planned how to achieve just the right blend of theme and school message for the cover...you have a vision and that vision is spectacular. Let's take that spectacular vision of yours and make it a masterpiece! Following the four tips detailed in this post will ensure your yearbook cover will be set up according to our guidelines.

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yearbook cover spine.jpg
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Find the print friendly version here.

Happy New Year!

January is here. It's time to really buckle down and stay focused on your yearbook milestones and deadlines! Lucky for you, our January checklist is here to help you stay organized...at least for the first month of the new year.

yearbook checklist

Download the PDF here.

The January checklist was created using background B5034S.

Keeping Things Interesting

Yearbooks are, by definition,  a record of the year. An annual publication containing statistics, commemorating school activities and student accomplishments. A history book of life at your school, during a period of time.

Of course, the goal is to make the yearbook interesting and engaging. In order to do this, the yearbook staff’s job is to combine both fact and entertainment. The big question is: how?

One foolproof way to add interest is to include as many people as you can onto the pages of your yearbook. This means not only triple checking that a photo of every person in the student body is included, but also adding those ‘student interest’ pieces that are going keep pages turning. These shouldn’t be full features, but mini-interviews or surveys. They don’t need to take up much of the valuable real estate in your book, consider them a 'high-interest page filler'. Using a PIctavo Snippet to contain the information creates a great design package that you can use on any student page.

How in-depth you’d like your student interest pieces to be is entirely up to your yearbook staff. Some questions are suited for both an entire school survey OR a “man on the street” style photo and answer. Others will require more lengthy answers and each package will only allow for a single interview subject to be represented. We’ve created a few examples to get your creative juices flowing!  

 

People love to answer questions about themselves. Use survey results to fill in a Pictavo Snippet. Shown above: S1010N

People love to answer questions about themselves. Use survey results to fill in a Pictavo Snippet. Shown above: S1010N

Ambush interviews are great for that entertainment factor we've been mentioning. Keeping subject matter light and fun will ensure that students will want to be interviewees!  Pictavo Snippet used above: S1249N

Ambush interviews are great for that entertainment factor we've been mentioning. Keeping subject matter light and fun will ensure that students will want to be interviewees!

Pictavo Snippet used above: S1249N

Being able to get content for your yearbook from the student body not only keeps your yearbook accurate, it also gives readers that 'day in the life' reality that is indicative of the time. Make your interviews casual and fun. In doing so, your replies will be conversational and real. Survey questions should be multiple choice so creating infographics is easy and straight forward.

Still looking for more ideas? The Snippet pages of the Pictavo Design Guide are loaded with more ideas. Take a look and get inspired!

 

To Theme or Not To Theme

Fall is winding down, the holidays are just around the corner. The first steps of your yearbook project are, surely, already done. You've decided on the basic layout of your book, you've created a ladder detailing what falls where on your pages, and you've most likely decided on a theme.

We'd like to provide you with a little inspiration from a few schools that did a great job continuing their theme throughout their book.

This first school stuck with school colors through the entire book. A few key design elements (dream catchers, feathers, arrows) made appearances on nearly every page. We suspect these design elements were chosen due to their tie-in to their school mascot. These elements didn't take anything away from the layouts because they were incorporated in a way that didn't overwhelm the page. Other pieces were occasionally added for variety, but always following their school color palette. Custom endsheets and special treatments (matte laminate and embossing) on the cover were just the finishing touches this book needed.

Great use of theme in all parts of a yearbook.

Great use of theme in all parts of a yearbook.

 

Next up, a school that was very theme-conscious, but also took some liberties when designing for a specific club or organization (as seen on the "fabric & fashion" spread). The use of a specific color palette, design elements (arrows, again...do we spot a trend?) kept the flow of the book smooth even with a rule-breaker spread thrown in here and there. Once again, custom endsheets and special treatments (spot UV coating and matte lamination) on the cover add high quality, classy finishing touches to this yearbook.

Great use of theme in all parts of a yearbook.

Great use of theme in all parts of a yearbook.

We do realize there are schools that don't necessarily choose a theme for their entire book, rather, they enjoy designing pages based on the holiday or activity contained on the spread. For those schools, we offer some suggested Pictavo artwork that may not be categorized as "seasonal", but would work great when used in conjunction with the right clipart and fonts!

Using fall colors in yearbook spreads.

Using fall colors in yearbook spreads.

Using fall colors in yearbook spreads.

Using fall colors in yearbook spreads.

Happy Yearbooking!

{and Happy Thanksgiving}

The Pictavo Team

DEVELOPING YEARBOOK THEME IDEAS

Developing your yearbook theme can be one of the most exciting parts of putting together your yearbook. So what better way to help you get started than to provide you with a huge list of yearbook theme ideas!? Use this extensive list of yearbook theme ideas to help get your creative juices flowing as you sit down with your team to determine what your theme will be this year. Then make sure to apply it to your book in the following ways:

PHRASES TO INSPIRE YEARBOOK THEME IDEAS

A PART APART

A SEASON OF CHANGE

AS ONE

A STEP ABOVE THE REST

A THOUSAND WORDS

AT LAST

A TOUCH OF CLASS

A TO Z

ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT

AS WE KNOW IT

ATTENTION TO DETAIL

ATYPICAL

A YEAR TO REMEMBER

BLINK

BRAND NEW

BREAKING THRU

BREATHE

BUILT TO LAST

CHECK IT OUT

CHOICES

COLOR ME…

COME LEARN WITH US

CONNECTED

CONTRAST

DIFFERENCES

DISTINCT IMPRESSIONS

DOT DOT DOT…

DREAMS REFLECT REALITY

EVERY STEP OF THE WAY

EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN

EYE ON…

FORWARD

FORWARD MOTION

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH

FROM HERE

FROM THE INSIDE

FROM THE OUTSIDE IN

FROM START TO FINISH

FROM THIS MOMENT ON

GOING IN STYLE

GOING PLACES

GOTTA HAVE IT

GREAT MOMENTS IN…

HOW DO YOU MEASURE

HOW IT’S DONE

INTO SOMETHING NEW

INSTANT REPLAY

INVISIBLE

IT ALL ADDS UP

IT ALL BEGINS WITH YOU

IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING

IT’S A SMALL WORLD

IT’S ABOUT TIME

IT’S ALL IN YOUR MIND

IT’S A LOT LIKE NOTHING ELSE

IT’S ANYONE’S GUESS

IT’S COMPLICATED

IT’S OUR TIME

IT’S YOUR CHOICE

JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT

JUST HAD TO BE THERE

JUST SAYING

KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN

LIKE IT OR NOT

LIKE IT/LOVE IT

LISTEN UP

LITTLE BIG TOWN

LIVING PROOF

LIVING THE DREAM

LOOK AT THE BEST

LOOKING BACK

MEET IN THE MIDDLE

MIXED SIGNALS

MORE THAN

MOVING ON UP

MOVING ON OUT

NOT GONNA LIE

NOT JUST ANOTHER…

NOT ON THE ITINERARY

NOT WHAT YOU THINK

NOW AND THEN

ON THE OTHER HAND

OPEN YOUR WORLD

OR NOT

OUR TIME TO SHINE

OUT OF THE BOX

OUT T[HERE]

OVER BEFORE YOU KNOW

OVER IT

OWN IT

PIECES OF THE PUZZLE

PLUS AND MINUS

POINT BEING

POWERFUL

PULSE

REMEMBER THIS

REPLAY IT

REVOLUTION

RIGHT ON TARGET

RIPPIN’ BEYOND BELIEF

ROAD TO SUCCESS

SPARK

SNAPSHOTS

STANDING PROUD

STAND OUT

STATUS UPDATE

STILL THE ONE

STORIES MATTER HERE

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

SUM IT UP

SYNERGY

THINK ABOUT IT

THINK AGAIN

THINK FAST

THIS IS OUR TIME

THIS MUST BE

TOGETHER AS ONE

TOO COOL TO HANDLE

TOP SECRET

TOTAL IMPACT

TRACES

TRIED & TRUE

TURNING THE PAGE

UNPLUGGED

UNTIED

UNITED

UP DOWN ALL AROUND

VOICES

WHAT’S THE STORY

WHAT WE’RE MADE OF

WHEN EVERYTHING CLICKS

WHERE AMAZING HAPPENS

WHO KNEW?

WHY NOT?

WITHIN

WRITE YOUR STORY

YOU TELL ME

YOU WERE HERE

YOU WOULDN’T KNOW

YOURS

YOUR STORY

Y[OUR] STORY

 

A CUT ABOVE

A DAY IN THE LIFE

ADJUST ACCORDINGLY

A FLASH FROM THE PAST

ALL IN THE MIX

ALL OF THE ABOVE

A LOOK BACK

A LOT CAN HAPPEN BETWEEN…

AND EVERYTHING INBETWEEN

AND THE STORY BEGINS

A NEW AWAKENING

A NEW POINT OF VIEW

ANY SECOND COULD BE THE SECOND

BEFORE NOW

BE HEARD

BE KNOWN

BETWEEN THE LINES

BITS AND PIECES

CANVAS

CAPTURE THE MAGIC

CATCH THE MOMENTS

CAUGHT IN THE ACT

CELEBRATE

CHECK US OUT

DAYS OF OUR LIVES

DEEP IN THE HEART OF….

DEFINED

DESTINED TO BE…

ELABORATE

EMERGE

EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING

FACE THE FACTS

FIND YOUR PLACE

FIRST CLASS

FLASHBACK

FLEX

FOCUS

FOR MEMBERS ONLY

FOREVER YOUNG

GET THE PICTURE

GIVE AND TAKE

GLIMPSE

GOING BEYOND

HAD TO BE THERE

HELLO GOODBYE 

IDENTITY

IF YOU ONLY KNEW

IMAGINE THAT

IMPRESSIONS

IN A BLINK

IN A FLASH

IN OTHER WORDS

IN OUR OWN WORDS

IN QUEST OF…

INTERTWINED

IN THE MAKING

INTRODUCING YOU

INSIDE OUT

IN THE KNOW

JOURNEY

JOURNEY THROUGH THE YEAR

JUST PASSING THROUGH

KEEPING IT REAL

LAYING IT ON THE LINE

LEARNING TO FLY

LEAVING OUR MARK

LET’S FACE IT

LIFE AS WE KNOW IT

LIFE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

LIGHT IT UP

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION

MAKE IT COUNT

MAKE IT LAST

MAKE IT YOUR OWN

MAKE YOUR MARK

MAKING THE PIECES FIT

NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD

NEVER SAY NEVER

NEW BEGINNINGS

NOBODY DOES IT BETTER

NO FILTER

OLD SCHOOL IN A NEW LIGHT

ONE AND ONLY

ONE SIZE FITS ALL

ONCE IN A LIFETIME

ONE LAST LOOK

ONE TO ONE

ONLY THE FINEST

ON OUR OWN

ON THE EDGE

PARALLEL

PARDON OUR DUST

PHASE 2

PICTURE THIS

PIECE BY PIECE

REACH FOR THE STARS

REALITY

REALLY…

REBUILD

REFINED

REFLECTIONS

SAGA

SAY IT WITH STYLE

SEEING IS BELIEVING

SEIZE THE DAY

SETTLED IN

SHINE

SHOUT OUT

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

SIMPLY THE BEST

SO MUCH TO SAY

TAKE ANOTHER LOOK

TAKE A CLOSER LOOK

TAKE IT FROM THE TOP

TAKE OUR WORD

THAT’S WHAT IT FEELS LIKE

THE BEST OF TIMES

THEN AND NOW

THERE’S MORE TO IT

THE SHOW MUST GO ON

THE SPIRIT OF…

THE TIMES OF OUR LIVES

THE WAY WE SEE IT

UNBELIEVABLE

UNCOMMON THREAD

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

UNLEASHED

VESTED

WE HAD A PLAN

WE’LL SHOW YOU

WE’LL TELL YOU

WE STAND PROUD

WE’VE GOT IT ALL

WHAT GOES AROUND

WHAT MAKES US

WHAT’S NEXT

YEARBOOK CONFIDENTIAL

YEAR OF THE…

YEAH, THIS IS HAPPENING

YOU ARE HERE

YOU GOTTA

YOU HAD TO BE THERE