Talking Points for School Photos

Prep Talk:

  • Remember, school pictures benefit the photographer and, usually, the school. There are lots of reasons to work hard to make this happen. Not to mention the fact that many parents really, really want to buy photos of their babies every year. So, chin up! Don’t be too quick to accept the Negative Nellies who say it can’t be done.
  • Make sure the photographer will provide a PSPA disc or download for yearbook photos. This is mission-critical.
  • Before you negotiate, look at your plant deadlines. Can you move your portraits section later in the year than usual? If so, what pages can you fill earlier in the year? (We honestly don’t suggest that you wait until your very last deadline.) Hint: Check out our Content Creators, if you haven’t already.
  • Arrange for your school photographer to shoot club photos, sports team photos and game photos… not just portraits. Even if there’s no definite plan for all of them, don’t forget to at least mention them.
  • Still working on your ladder? Consider combining your portraits, club photos and sports photos into one big reference section.
  • Consider going big with portraits — getting them done early and running them larger than previous years. Portrait sections are a great place to recognize students — even with simple quotes and photos they submit of their home learning set-ups or favorite things to do to pass time.
  • If you’re working at a high school, focus on senior portraits for now, since those might be the ones that could be taken off-campus or could be scheduled more easily. Make plans for underclass’ strategy in another way or wait until further into the school year. You’ll need to adjust your ladder and/or deadline planning for this strategy.

Ready to talk:

  • Talk with your administrators about the possibilities. What is the easiest, most efficient way to cycle students and teachers through a picture day setup? We are hearing that many schools are following CDC guidelines and moving forward with school pictures.
  • Did you host a graduation? Can you have students walk across a stage? Walk to camera, mask off. Click, click. Next.
  • Many schools are used to formal senior portraits with students wearing a tux or drape. Maybe that’s one tradition you can shelve. But you can still have uniform photos by asking seniors to dress consistently, maybe wearing solid colors and dressy clothes.
  • If you’re distance learning and you did a drive-thru distribution day, consider doing a drive-thru picture day. Big difference: Pictures need to include every single student and teacher, where you may not have sold every student a yearbook. Plan for several photo sessions if this is your solution.

More strategy:

  • Some schools are mixing regular school pictures with submitted photos. If you do that, you need a plan for accepting and correctly labeling the photos. Also, in the absence of an official PSPA file/CD, you’ll have to place them and name them yourself. Easy if you have a small school or a stellar staff. Consider eShare as a way to get the photos in and make sure they’re tagged.
  • Remember, this is a year like no other. It’s OK if your book looks different.
  • If you decide to accept student- or parent-submitted photos, it makes sense to assign a member of your staff or a team to each grade level. Equip them with an official list of names for each grade and a fool-proof plan/routine for collecting photos (eShare, Google Forms, Microsoft Forms) and identifying the students. Beyond section editors, you can make Class Ambassador an official staff title.
  • Expand your network. There’s no shame in getting help from teachers and student leaders to help you identify students. This may be the year to deputize your student leadership, give service hours to your National Honor Society students and take an all-hands-on-deck approach to yearbook in general.
  • If you normally include spot UV coating on your portrait pages, consider ALL of the possibilities for using it elsewhere. Ask your rep for our snazzy new idea book for adding shine to your pages.
  • If you ask parents to submit photos for use on the portrait “panel pages,” provide detailed instructions. These guidelines could include:
    • Dimensions of the photo
    • Orientation of the photo
    • File size/resolution for the best quality
    • Background type (like solid color?)
    • Dress code reminder
    • Process for submission (eShare, Google Form, etc.)