Three Little Things



Casey Nichols, Jostens Yearbook Ambassador, sums it up perfectly: “Yearbook real estate is priceless. You can’t afford to waste any space that doesn’t help advance the story.”

Tight cropping to emphasize action and faces is the standard. It draws the reader into the page and into the story you’re trying to tell. A common cropping strategy is the rule of thirds, which makes photos more dynamic by placing the subject off-center.

Cropping increases the value of a photo because the more “dead” space you can eliminate, the more impact the photograph will have. But, while it’s not uncommon to intentionally crop a photo to touch the top of a person’s head or to take people as close as possible to the edge, be sure that the image remains in sharp focus.

Michael Nessralla | Thayer Academy [MA]


Kaitlyn Rogers | Texas High School [TX]
Digital cameras are great, but they aren’t perfect. You still need to create true blacks and true whites and correct color—especially skin tones.

While cameras have gotten better at capturing true color and most schools use LED lighting, brightness and contrast are common concerns.

If black is not truly black, the printed image won’t jump off the page. At some schools, photographers still get the yellow caste of incandescent lighting that needs to be corrected.

Nichols notes: “Remember, you aren’t changing the photo; you’re trying to provide the best version of what actually happened.”


While you can use any number of basic photo correction programs, Layout Pro Snap Edit is your best bet for fast photo correction and cropping. Use it to crop images, adjust brightness and contrast, colorize photos, or make them black and white or sepia tone. To get closer to a true skin tone and true white, you can also use the cooling photo filter in Photoshop.


Storytelling quotes are attention-grabbers. They include first-hand information, and answer the how or the why.

Unique quotes allow students to tell the story of their year in an authentic voice. Only that person could have told that story in that way.

Present a distinctive point of view

Quote the team member not covered anywhere else or someone at the event but not in the photo—or someone else in the class. This increases the number of people you cover, and it broadens the perspectives you include in your yearbook.

Monarch Name Perfect

This easy-to-use tool helps you avoid misspelled names. With no special set-up required; Monarch Name Perfect is ready to go after you import your school’s name list. Simply select a name from the databases, click on it and insert the correctly spelled name into the story, quote or caption—without typing it. You can edit the database by adding nicknames, mascot names, etc.

“It’s really an amazing tool,” Brian Martinez, Technology Experience Manager, said. “After the students’ portraits are imported, their photo pops up next to their names. So, if you know the student in the photo is Joshua, but you don’t know which Joshua, you just hover over all the Joshuas, and you’ll see the photo of the right one. Then, click to add the name and keep going.”

Do your homework

Bobby Hawthorne, author of The Radical Write, notes that weak quotes are the result of doing little or no research.

“You ambush people in the halls and ask simple questions about complicated issues or events,” Hawthorne, said. “Worst of all, you text questions like: What were the club’s goals?” Or: “What are your thoughts about the season?”

Storytelling-worthy quotes require you to do your homework. “The season” consists of a couple hundred thousand moments. Talk to people who can tell you what the moment was, and when it took place.

Dig deeper

Nichols emphasizes that staffers need to ask probing questions. “It’s not enough to have a student say: ‘It was the best dance ever.’”

That’s too generic to have a story-telling impact.

Instead, follow-up by asking: “Why? What made the dance great?”

Give the student time and space to think about your question. You could come away with a quote that will resonate with readers for a very long time.


Layout Pro Dictionary

It’s easy to add words to the Layout Pro dictionary—like student names with unusual spellings or school mascot names that aren’t found in a standard dictionary—so you won’t have to worry about misspelling them. Simply click on the word, and insert it into your page.