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ORGANIZING PHOTOS For Your School's Yearbook

So many different kinds of pictures are needed for the yearbook! How in the world can the hundreds and thousands of pictures taken be organized for easy access and use? It can be an overwhelming task to think about.

Some of us are blessed with an innate sense of organization, utilizing folders and spreadsheets with ease. Others of us have piles of work that we only periodically, if ever, sort through. And for those of us who find peace with piles, our organization makes sense. However, as a “pile person” who has been given the challenge of yearbook production, I’ve realized that piles do not always work. Something else has to help with the photographs that forever multiply.

Here is what I did: I embraced a digital folder system. I had to. Nothing else was working for me, and I was overworking myself. In order to work smarter, I sat with our school’s IT guru to sort out a system that could help me, my students, and the thousands of photos that were accumulating.

First: Storage. Our school had just leaped from onsite servers to cloud storage, and all of the teachers and students were now using Google Drive. However, student storage was limited and quickly eaten up by the number of photos required for each assignment. On the other hand, teacher storage was unlimited. So, the answer to this dilemma was to create student space on my teacher drive and share it with them.

I nested folders within folders to separate and provide a clear line of organization--Yearbook >Photographs > Spring Sports > Girls Soccer, etc. These specific folders were shared with students who needed access for spreads, and I also shared them with Student Leadership (i.e., Section Leaders, Photography Editor, Co-Editors) as warranted.

Which folders needed to be created and where to place them were decisions that we all made together. My student leaders and I created the basic network, and I explicitly taught the entire Yearbook Staff how to access and upload the photographs.

"I found that being intentional with my students was important..."

Second: Assignments. Tracking assignments per student, especially when photographs are involved, is critical. So, again, using the same procedure—creating space for students on my teacher Drive and then sharing the folders—allowed me to track assignments and their deadlines (Google marks the time that documents are uploaded or accessed)! I could also lock students out of folders when necessary, like during deadlines or finals, or when I would grade.

I purposefully taught and practiced this organizational tactic with my yearbook staff. These students have multiple classes with teachers who each have different expectations and perhaps even different platforms that students are expected to master. I never took for granted that all my students already knew this stuff. However, even though they are digital natives, many find themselves lost in the methods and options they face each day. I found that being intentional with my students was important: While organizing the yearbook, students are also trying to find the best way to organize themselves as well.

I hope this helps. United Yearbook Printing is always ready to assist—contact us at any time.


Lucy McHugh, Yearbook Leadership Mentor

Lucy comes to United Yearbook Printing via a 38-year career in public and private school education. She was a former yearbook adviser at Xavier College Preparatory High School. She earned a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska in 2000. And in 2014 earned a Certificate in Catholic School Leadership from Loyola Marymount University. Lucy taught K-12 Art and was awarded the 2001 Nebraska Art Teacher of the Year, and in 2010 she was awarded Nebraska Elementary Art Teacher of the Year. Most recently Lucy was awarded the 2017 CA High School Art Teacher of the Year.


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