Yearbook Photography: Capturing school spirit

Yearbook Photography: Capturing school spirit

Yearbook Photography: Capturing school spirit 2048 1365 Spacific Creative

What is the first thing your students look at when they receive their new yearbook? It’s probably not the Principal’s Address or the in-depth piece on the science faculty. Most likely, they will flick through the pages trying to find a glimpse of themselves. Let’s face it, photography and design are what make your yearbook pop, so it’s important to get them right!

The collection and collation of yearbook photography require preparation and forward-thinking. Here are some steps to take early in the year to produce a yearbook that captures your school’s spirit.


Preparation at the beginning of the school year is key for a successful yearbook. Deciding early on the types of photos to include will ensure that you aren’t left scrambling in Term 4. Having a good system in place is crucial for staying on top of the large amounts of photos you’ll receive. Although extra photos are great for filling space when expected material falls through, large volumes of low-quality pictures will only slow you down. Creating and communicating the page plan with contributors can help you avoid this issue. Here are some other factors to consider:

School Goals

What is the purpose of your yearbook? Is it a keepsake, a fun light-hearted read, or a book marketed to prospective students? Knowing this can help you decide what photos to include and what activities to highlight. If your school excels in sport or theatre, organise quality photos to be taken that will aid in their promotion.

School Calendar

Knowing your school calendar will help you plan ahead. Swimming Sports, Cross Country and the School Production offer great photography opportunities. Decide early on what events to include in the yearbook so that photography can be organised. Planning ahead will ensure that you have more than enough photos to work with at the end of the year.


We recently wrote about the importance of celebrating diversity in your yearbook. Capture images that acknowledge the heritage and different interests of your school community. Request groups like Kapa Haka, Envirogroup and SADD to collect photos during the year. Assigning them this task early on will make your job a lot easier!

Engaging the Community

Parents and coaches are great resources for photos of sports games and music recitals. You may be surprised at the hidden photography talent that lies within your school community! Provide a place for parents to upload photos that you can include in the yearbook.


Earlier this year, we held a Yearbook Conference where Nigel King from White Door Event Photography spoke. His enlightening (and entertaining) talk explained the popularity bias and how you can avoid it.

Outgoing and confident students tend to dominate the yearbook photos. From sports days, the school ball and even common room snaps, it’s easy to fall into this habit. Yearbooks should reflect and celebrate the entirety of your school. It is thus important to be cognisant of the natural bias when taking and selecting images. Consider taking photos in the library, computer labs and art department to ensure a wider mix of students are represented.


Use your yearbook photos to showcase your students’ personalities! Natural poses and authentic smiles bring energy to your shot and help tell the story of your school. Making your subject feel comfortable is key, so don’t shy away from using humour to get a great pic. Nigel explains how to achieve great candid shots below.


Consider providing a centralised hub where parents can upload photos from school events. This is a great way to source candid photos of events that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. 

Throughout the year, routinely assess what photos your contributors have provided. Make sure you are getting a good balance of photos so that it’s not a large task at the end of the year. Remember to request more photos than you need, so you can pick the best ones!

How do you ensure an even mix of yearbook photography? Let us know down below!