Yearbooks are our windows to the past and hold our favorite school memories. We also use yearbooks to look back and remember our fellow classmates, friends and past teachers. Because of this, class pages are important. We can look back at the young faces of our past and reminisce about how things used to be.

I think of the class portrait pages as the base of a yearbook. Students want to remember the names of the kids who were in their class and what they looked like that year. We try and set up the classroom page spread to highlight all the classes of students. We work with our school photographer to get the portraits of every students to arrange class spreads.

Arranging sections by grade

You will typically end up with several candid photos (not posed) per grade. We arrange our yearbook by grade, and begin the section with the candids. For example, we use the grade as a title–FOURTH GRADE–and will then arrange a spread of 4th grade candids, followed by the 4th grade class spread of portraits. To finish, each grade has a mini section dedicated to their teachers.

We have tried a few different ways of laying out class pages. For an elementary school, our school has large class sizes. Each class is around 30-33 students. In order to picture everyone, we create two page spreads per classroom. We have tried arranging portraits across the two pages with candids on the top, or one page with all the portraits and the other page with the candids. Both layouts also include a special message from the teachers as a special memory.

We tend to use similar templates from years past. If you don’t have a template built yet, check with your yearbook company to see if they offer any pre-made designs you can steal.

Adding new students later

You school will likely acquire new students throughout the year. Our school tends to have lots of movement, and up until the due date of the yearbook we gain quite a few new students. We have handled this a few different ways.

  • Plan a new student picture day closer to your deadline. In our case, we organize one in late January and add those photos to the yearbook once the photographer gets them to us. You could also use this day as a makeup day for any students that missed the first picture day.
  • Have teachers take photos of each of their new students and submit them to the yearbook team. Be sure to give them guidelines, such as how far away to take the photo and what type of background. We also give them a deadline for submission that works for us.
  • Gather new students from each grade and take a group shot. Make it fun by including a sign that says “Welcome New Students!” This is an easy way to get all the new students into one shot. We add this photo onto the general page for each grade before listing portraits.

Even with all of these options to include new students, we sometimes have a student or two who miss photos all together. For this scenario, we insert a photo of our mascot and caption it “Missed Photo Day.” We try to avoid landing on this option as much as possible. If you are ever left to this scenario, try to brainstorm other unique and fun ways to include students that missed picture day so they don’t feel excluded.

Extra sections

Once you have your class spreads figured out, the base of your yearbook is complete! We then begin working on the other pages around them. We do include two special sections. First, we create a special section for Kindergarten because they have special event days we like to feature. We also create a special section for 6th graders. We highlight any unique activity days they participate in, such as Outdoor Education. We also give them the option to submit and feature baby photos. We finish by filling in the middle with the remaining grades’ sections, and finally, portraits are complete!


Lives in Orange County, CA and works as a career coach helping people find their passions.
“The best part of creating the yearbook for my school is the look on the kids’ faces when they start to look for themselves in the yearbook.”
KAT’S INSIDE TIP: Always bring a camera when you go to your school.
If Kat had a super hero power she would love to have the power to make people do what she asked them to.