How to Make a School Yearbook or High School Annual

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Last year, I volunteered to help with the yearbook at my daughter’s tiny high school.  Sometime later, the person who usually handled the yearbook retired, and then, a few weeks before the end of the year, two students presented me with a couple of photo CDs.

I searched the web for instructions on making a yearbook. Finding none, I put together this list of ideas that could apply to making any yearbook.

You might also want to refer to Print anything in a dotPhoto book. It explains how you can create any page that includes both text and graphics with your current layout software

Suggestions for creating a yearbook at dotPhoto:

  • Get a photo in the 5” square cutout on the front of the book.  This leaves plenty of room for signing autographs and messages around the cover photo.

  • Start by editing the photos:  pick the best and discard the rest.  Crop the best images.

  • Keep the happy photos – even if they’re not the best photos.  The quality of the expression will be more important that the quality of the image.  Memories are about emotions, and capturing emotions is the goal of a good yearbook.

  • Look for interesting sequences to group together:  the same person in sequence can tell an amusing or interesting story.

  • Sort the photos into logical groups:  teachers, staff, games, trips.  This will help identify sections that you might want to add, and will also create opportunities to create photo montages.

  • Every yearbook has some whimsical photos.  Try adding a few digital effects:  a halo, artistic effect or dramatic lighting can add interest.  Paint Shop Pro is great for this kind of thing.  PSP Free download 30-day trial

    Photo effects from Paint Shop Pro

  • Create a page or two about events of the year. Wikipedia is a great source. Your graduates will be reading these pages in 20 years with interest.   Wikipedia 2006 events

  • Student photos are easy to lay out.  We chose the 6-per-page layout on dotPhoto so that we’d have room for captions.  You can use the dotPhoto Re-arrange feature to put the photos in order, and then drag-and-drop them into the layout.

    Dropping and dragging student photos into dotPhoto’s 6-per-page layout

  • Photo montages add interest.  Start with a blank page and cut and paste the most interesting parts of your best photos. Re-size to fit spaces that you’re trying to fill in.  Don’t worry about creating a perfect page;  the randomness of the montage is engaging.

    Photo montages lend interest

  • Add a parting shot on the last page.  Pick one iconic photo or a group of interesting photos to say good-by.  We picked some goofy pictures including a photo of the yearbook committee in glasses.

    “Parting shot” montage on the last page.

Our students were thrilled with their yearbooks.  They were used to getting output from a color copier, which, given prices for color copies, was probably more expensive!  This year, they got a hardcover book with stitched binding that told their story, and will help them remember the friends, teachers and events of this school year.

There are several great benefits of making a yearbook at dotPhoto:

  • It can be done quickly.  While professional yearbook companies require months of advance notice, you can create and print a dotPhoto Yearbook in two weeks.

  • Since you’re not printing months in advance, you can print more of the year.

  • A dotPhoto book is all color.  Most yearbooks are full of mainly black and white pages.

  • Typical yearbooks today are $75;  dotPhoto yearbooks start at about $25.

  • Typical yearbooks require commitments of hundreds of books.  At dotPhoto, you can order exactly as many as you need, and order one more anytime you want.

  • You can also use the same images to create a dotPhoto Web Site (See My Web Site tab) or a dotPhoto Show about the school year.

Author: dotphoto

Glenn Paul is President and Co-Founder of dotPhoto, which began life in 2000 as a photo printing service and now also distributes user-generated media in Flash, video and on cell phones.

14 thoughts on “How to Make a School Yearbook or High School Annual”

  1. Hi, I am in the same pardicamint. I somehow became incharge of the yearbook at my school. I am a first year teacher at a small international school in the Philippines. I am having my first yearbook meeting today and am only praying that things go well. But what is well, how do I know what to present in the first meeting? and the meetings there after. I think your site is a bit of a help for me. Thanks.

  2. I am in charge of putting together a book for our 75th Anniversary of the Church where I attend. I am collecting old photos but have no idea what to do next. They will need about 50 copies of the book. Can you help me get starter? I have no experience in creating a book. Thanks, Rena

  3. Hi,

    I have a similar situation as those who have previously written here. I am a first year teacher who has been allocated the job of overseeing the high school year book. I would appreciate any comments or suggestions, any ideas or timelines from anyone would be great.

    Thanks for your consideration!

  4. I am in the same situation… I am teaching yearbook in a school in Peru. IF you could help me with basics, it would be great!

  5. My children are attending a new school that opened this year in NH. I was the only parent interested in helping on the year book. Looks like I’m the only one to put together a year book. Grades K-4. I don’t know where or how I’m going to start. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP WITH SOME DIRECTION? Thank you, Timothy

  6. I took on the role of yearbook coordinator at our small school. I have been laying out the templates in Microsoft Office Publisher. You can set up a blank full page project with empty picture frames and blank text boxes that you can plug in the pictures and text later on very easily. Creating borders and picture montages are extremely easy. Getting people to let you take their pictures…Not so easy! Publisher is also the one most excepted by commercial printers. We will have a 25-30 page 8″X10″ full color yearbook for under $10.00 per book.

  7. To Julie Fabbri
    I am trying to put together a small school yearbook using publisher and I can’t get the photos to all stay the same size after I crop them Any suggestions??

  8. Hi…I’m wondering if a yearbook can be put together in word or powerpoint. I don’t know the first thing about putting one togther, what’s reasonable pricing, software to use. Please help.

  9. Hello. im on the yearbook commitee for our elementary school ( in elementary) our school is pretty small. i was asked by my teacher to find out how to make a simple yearbook, my teacher already has a friend who can publish the yearbook for us, but i don’t know a way to make a yearbook (i don’t think we can use complicated programs or use money to make it) Can anyone help?

  10. Hello. I am planing a video yearbook for a number of schools in my country. Actually, I haven’t created a yearbook before. But I was thinking it will be great begining by creating one in video format. I need to know what and what comes into a year book besides the students’ pictures. Can anyone help me?

  11. Pingback: psp

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