Capturing Moments Through Contests

Jason Kaiser

Associate Marketing Manager, Jostens
Jason works with various print, digital and social initiatives bringing content to life through Yearbook Love, the Digital Classroom and more. A former yearbook adviser, Jason has worked with scholastic journalism for more than eight years.

Not all yearbook staffs are made equal and are sometimes stretched pretty thinly when it comes to photographers. More likely than not, our students are involved in after-school activities, so we need to get a little creative when it comes to capturing photos from activities, sports and other happenings around the community. Whether you have existing photo submission tools or not, social media gives you a place where students already are to gather content for your book.

To incentivize students, and to make it easier on your staff, launch a social media Photo Contest in your school.

Pro-tip: Make sure to have a conversation with your principal about contests in your school and to see if this kind of approach is appropriate.

Getting Started

Brainstorm with your staff about the kind of images you need. It’s helpful to gather example images for contestants. Also, don’t be afraid to capture moments outside of the school — some activities that students are in don’t happen within the walls of the school, and might often be hard to cover in the yearbook.

Messaging and Details

Once you have brainstormed ideas, craft your messaging, timeframe and submission process for entries. To make things easier to track, create a hashtag that students should use throughout the contest.

Pro-tip: If you haven’t already, create a year-specific hashtag for your yearbook to capture all the year’s moments. These should also be used on all social mediums (e.g, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Consider using one platform where submissions must be made. However, create alternative methods for submission for students who are not on (or not allowed to use) social media. Find something that will be easy to manage and track.

Next, consider contest winner prizes (and any runner up prizes) and when the winner will be announced. Make sure it is cool enough to gain interest but not a budget buster. A pizza party for their homeroom is a great place to start.


Once you have closed your contest, gather all the images and put them (without attribution) into a PowerPoint (randomly). Take some time to go through a voting process to select the winners. Create more buzz within the school by posting the top 10 and lead up to the winner announcement.
Additionally, you could also have the school vote for these through social media (likes, favorites, etc.). Whichever way works, the goal is to create buzz for your yearbook. Reassure students that all entries have a possibility of being in the yearbook.

Have more ideas for in-school photo contests? Share them with us at