The iPhone made photography universal, instant and spontaneous – glossy magazines like Elle now have whole cover photo shoots done on a mobile phone – but the one thing that hasn’t changed (albeit easier), is the need for editing your shots.
No matter how you came by your photographs, it is important to remember that school yearbooks are image-driven. Once you’ve decided on the overall structure of the book, you can pay attention to the most important part of the yearbook – the photographs.
There are three parts to the photo editing process:
The first step is to select the most usable images. It’s helpful to pre-organise them into relevant folders such as sports, awards, school trips etc. Some photos may be too blurry or too wide to be useful, but don’t reject a flawed picture straight away; a little bit of cropping and processing is often all that’s required to rescue an image.
Photo processing can be a time-consuming process. Apps like Photoshop offer so many features that you can get bogged down with the heavy workflow. A quicker solution is to use the auto-correct features of your preferred photo software, which are getting better and more accurate all the time. Auto-correct will improve contrast and colour balance, and you can make further tweaks to the photo when you’ve decided on the layout.
The layout is where your creativity skills really get a workout! Depending on the topic, you may choose a single ‘hero’ image that will be the main feature on the page. This image needs to be high-resolution, so it holds up when enlarged. In other cases, multiple smaller photos might work better, particularly when you want to showcase as many students as possible.
Once you’ve decided on a layout, you may want to re-process some of the photos, giving them a ‘look’ using a particular colour filter or removing a background to make the subject stand out.
The photo editing process will help you quickly map out the structure of your yearbook and help guide the written content requirements.