Category: Photography

Photo Contest

FutureBook Yearbooks is pleased to announce our 1st Annual Photography Contest! Grand prize is the opportunity to be published and a Canon EOS Rebel T7i.

Open to all students in North America enrolled in a yearbook program, we are now accepting entries in the following four categories: Student Life, Sports, School Spirit and Creative/Photo Manipulation. Students may enter one photo per category, to a maximum of four total photos.

Winning entries will be featured in a wall calendar published and distributed to schools across North America. We will also award the following winners: Top overall image, Top image in each category and People’s Choice. People’s Choice will take place via public voting on Facebook.

Email to enter or inquire further. All entries must be submitted by May 15th, 2018 extended to June 15th! Full details below.


Contest closes at 11:59 pm PST, June 15th, 2018. Entries submitted after this date will not be accepted.

You may enter one or all of the following four categories, but only one photo per category per student will be accepted:

Student Life: capturing the essence of day-to-day activities as a student

Sports: active moments in athletics

School Spirit: capturing school pride

Creative/Photo Manipulation: a photo that you have taken that has been posed or digitally altered

Prizes: All winners will be published in FutureBook Yearbook’s 2018/2019 wall calendar, to be distributed across North American schools. As well, the Grand Prize winner will receive a Canon T7i camera kit; the winners with the top images in each of the four categories will receive $100 to spend at or, where applicable; and the People’s Choice winner will receive $100 to spend at or, where applicable.

Winning images will be judged on their merits of storytelling, originality, level of impact and overall photographic quality.

To submit, please provide the following information, along with a signed model release and your entry via email to Your image must be submitted in the following format: firstnamelastname_category For example: joesmith_schoolspirit.jpg

Only completed submissions will be accepted.

Along with your submitted image and your signed model release (detailed below), please provide the following information:

Your full name

Your email address

Your phone number

Your submission category (sports, student life, school spirit or creative/photo manipulation)

The full name and full address of your school

The name of your yearbook advisor

Your advisor’s email address

The name of your local FutureBook Representative (if known)

The date your photo was taken

To be eligible for the contest, each photo will need a model release form signed by anyone who is identifiable in the photo.   

Photo Contest Model Release Form

All images must be 300 dpi, a minimum of 8” x 10” in size, and submitted as a jpeg or tiff.

Your submission to this contest grants FutureBook Printing, Inc. (FutureBook Yearbooks) a royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, create derivative works from and display the entry, in whole or in part, in any way the company sees fit, including entertainment, education, and promotional purposes. Your submission represents and warrants that you have obtained all appropriate licenses and/or consents necessary to grant the rights granted to FutureBook Yearbooks hereunder (including without limitation any applicable model releases) and will indemnify the company for any and all claims arising from your failure to do so.

Winners and their yearbook advisors will be notified by email and/or telephone by July 31st, 2018. We do not have the ability to respond to each entry.

No purchase necessary to enter or win. Contest is open to all students enrolled in a yearbook program in Canada and the United States.

Are you missing out on what your DSLR can really do?

When using a DSLR camera the ultimate goal is to shoot on fully manual to get the most out of your camera and have maximum control of your shot. But understanding how to shoot on manual can be very cumbersome and takes dedication and practise and without formal training this can be very difficult. This is why the majority of yearbook students will shoot on Automatic mode or one of the pre-set shot modes (i.e. the running man for sports shots or the face for portraits.) But did you know those settings could be making your photos worse?

The pre-set shot modes are meant for whatever type of photography their picture describes but in a perfect light situation. And let’s be honest, “perfect” light is hard to come by. I’ll give you an example: typically a lot of school sports happen inside of a gymnasium with dark, terrible fluorescent lighting and reflective orange/brown floors and by using the pre-set sport mode, it isn’t accommodating for the low light environment. This will give you either a blurry or dark, non-white balanced photo.

So you are probably thinking, if I don’t understand how to shoot on fully manual and I shouldn’t use automatic or the pre-set modes, what should I be using?

On a Canon you will see two settings on the exposure wheel: Av and Tv and on a Nikon these same two settings will read as A and S.

Av or A stands for our Aperture Value. What this setting does is gives you the freedom of choosing your own Aperture and the camera will read the lighting situation and automatically adjust your ISO and Time Value depending on the Aperture you have chosen. This is great when you want full control of the depth-of-field in your photograph but are unsure of how to use the camera on manual.

Tv or S setting stands for Time Value or Shutter Speed. This setting will do the same thing the Aperture setting does but instead, it will just effect the shutter. This setting is perfect for sports photography because it will give you the freedom to change your shutter fast enough to “freeze action” your shot but then your Aperture and ISO will automatically change depending on the available light you have.

Be sure to give these two settings a try. It is a great semi-automatic middle ground to have some control over your camera settings but still give you the assistance you may need from your camera!

How reading poetry can help anyone to create new ideas

It’s a shame that most junior high or high school students’ introduction to poetry is usually Shakespeare and Wordsworth. So much time is spent on parsing archaic words, discussing rhyme and metre, and most people I know generally don’t like it. “How am I ever going to use this?”

Perhaps poetry instruction should start with metaphor. Metaphor is everything—to poetry and maybe even to life. Metaphor is:  “I am a rock, I am an i[iii]sland.” (A rock feels no pain, and an island never cries, you see.)

Metaphor is how we derive meaning in a difficult, unpredictable, sometimes-senseless world. We make up metaphors to help us figure out how to live. We use them as mantras and mnemonics; we save them on Pinterest and share them on Facebook; then the doing of life feels a little more comprehensible and attainable for ten minutes.

Graphic describing resilience














Thinking in metaphors helps us to be creative in everything since metaphors are connections between seemingly disparate things. If you can practice thinking in metaphors, you can make connections everywhere you go. How is this like that?

You could be at a football game, for example, and think, How is football like yearbook? There’s teamwork involved and different roles required, there’s a lot of planning required to get excellent execution. Some roles are more boring than others but the team wouldn’t function without those roles played.

You could take this metaphor further, turning it around in your head, and get a great idea for something that can help your yearbook team.

Or look at this ad from Bic:

Photo of Bic billboard ad


I imagine someone looking at a lawn, thinking how it resembled beard stubble, this ad idea naturally following.

Poetry spurs creative associations and imagination in ways that can help writers, photographers and graphic designers to create really fantastic yearbooks. Poetry also demands focus from the reader and sometimes patience as she tries to figure out all possible meanings of a word or a line. This regular exercise of focus and analysis combined with the exposure to creative associations helps boost problem solving skills. At least, that’s my theory and anecdotal experience.

For an approachable introduction to poetry driven by good metaphors, I recommend Garrison Keillor’s collection Good Poems.

Spend a couple of weeks reading some poetry and see if you aren’t more creatively inspired to the point that someone compares thee to a summer’s day, lovely and more temperate.

How to write yearbook photo captions with as little facepalming as possible

writing yearbook captions futurebook yearbooks

The last two to four weeks of Yearbook (depending on your deadline) are wrapping up, possibly with so much left to be done! Spreads are still being built and lots of editing remains: Are photos spaced equally apart? Do pages have an eyeline? Is there a well-chosen dominant photo? The design elements which are to be consistent throughout your book—are they consistent? Are there any typos? Does every photo have a caption?

“Wait—every photo?” you ask.


“But if it’s a spread about Halloween, or a dance, everyone can plainly see what’s in the photo: someone in a Halloween costume, or someone dancing.”

Yes, but whom?

“I don’t know! But they know who they are, and so do their friends, and at least they got their photo in the yearbook. People who aren’t their friends won’t care who they are.”

Maybe not. But maybe they will. Maybe there are names of people you’ve heard tossed about in school and you’re not sure who they are. Maybe someone in your school will be famous one day, and you’ll want to be able to identify them in the yearbook. Maybe years from now, you won’t remember the names of high school friends because you lost touch after high school. Or maybe it’s just a good journalistic practice to hone, to identify everyone in the photos.

But here’s the most important reason: People need to feel like they matter, like they are known. This is especially meaningful for the people in high school who feel invisible. When such a person flips through the yearbook and sees her name with her photo, when she didn’t know she was being photographed, when she assumed no one cared about her or knew her name, this suggests to her that her absence would be noticed and she would be missed if she was gone. For some people, this can be life-changing.

So, what do you do if you have photos un-captioned and you don’t know someone’s identity? Ask around. Ask yearbook staff, ask the secretaries, ask teachers.

If you’re short on time before your pages need submitting to get your ProofBook, ask the school principal or vice principal if they can post in the staff room some pages you’ve printed off photos of everyone whose name you don’t know. The staff can fill in people’s names.

Once everyone is named, the next most important part of captioning photos is describing what is happening.

“But we can see what is happening. They are playing soccer, or working in Chem class.”

Sure, but did anything noteworthy happen that game or that Chem class? Did the teacher make a funny Freudian slip during a lecture that he let become an on-going class joke? Did anyone accidentally make something explode? Was there an especially surprising goal made in a game? Did anyone spend over four hours making their Halloween costume? Did anyone sew their own dress for a dance or for Grad?

Cover as many of the Six Ws as possible: Who, What, Where, When, Why (and How).

Once you know who is in the photo, see if you can track them down and ask them to tell you the Six Ws of that photo, with as much detail as possible.

If you feel self-conscious approaching a group of students to ask them if anyone knows where you can find Adam Garbally or Jane Smee, perhaps your yearbook class or staff can devise a contest of sorts where the winner gets to decide what the teacher or advisor has to do that is embarrassing on the last day of school, and each yearbook member can pick their own idea. This way, you’ve got a fun icebreaker for when you need to approach a group of people.

“Hey, guys. Have you heard about the contest Yearbook is having to get Mr. Jones to embarrass himself on the last day of school? We are each picking a song for him to sing over the loudspeaker/a costume for him to wear and mine is [X]. To win, I need to identify as many people in photos as possible, and describe what’s happening. Do you know where I can find Ashley Fisher, Justin Wong, or Jack Mitchell?”

Just an idea. Perhaps there could be a prize instead, and no “ice breaker.”

Either way, once you have all of your information, you need to combine it succinctly into one or two sentences, three at the most.

Let’s imagine that these are your notes:

Yearbooking notes

This could be reduced to:

“On October 3rd, 2013, at Oak Bay Secondary’s track & field meet, Sarah Fastrunner surprises with a first place win by one second, beating out two other eleventh graders from Mount Doug: Madison Kindafastrunner (2nd) and Kara Superfastrunner (3rd).”

Other yearbook photo captioning How-to’s:

-Write in present tense, even though the action in the photo happened in the past. This is because a photo captures a moment and the idea is that as you are looking at that photo, you are in that moment and it’s happening now. After you have captioned the action in the photo, any additional information can be in past tense or future tense, as seems fitting.

-Do not worry about trying to create jazzy, editorial, “interesting” captions. You really only need to be informative, as succinctly as possible. Trying to turn the captions into an opportunity to showcase creative writing skills will only annoy the readers. The best kind of journalistic writing—like technical writing and some copywriting—will appear almost as if it wrote itself, with no ego or personality shining through of the writer. When you’re done, someone else should have a hard time figuring out how to word it any other way because all the information there is necessary and there’s no editorializing.

-Remember that captions should fall below the photos they are referencing, or sometimes are alongside, so there’s no need to state, “In the photo above” or anything similar.

-Generally, in photos of five or more people, we don’t name every individual. They can be referenced as “Senior girls’ volleyball team” or “yearbook staff.” If it’s just a candid group of students, you need not caption them as “students just hanging out.” Remember, that captions should inform readers of info they can’t glean from looking at the photo; don’t state the obvious.

-Remember that the font size should only be about 8 pt.

Lastly, maybe it’s too late in the year to get a caption on every photo. Your spreads are done and in such a way that you can’t add enough white space to squeeze captions in for every photo. Hey, don’t sweat it! Just do what you can for this year’s yearbook and next year, plan to make each aspect of yearbooking the best it can be.

Creating a Polaroid using an Action in Photoshop

Although the technology is now obsolete, many enjoy the look of a polaroid photo. You can cheat and create this easily in InDesign – simply crete a white box and place it behind your photo so that it lines up similarly to how a Polaroid looks. However, it’s hard to replicate the exact look in this way.

Instead, one of our FutureBook Reps, Kevin, found an Action online that you can download here

While it’s a free download created by an amateur artist, you have the opportunity to pay for the download via donation.

Using Photoshop Actions can make your job easier and help you edit your photos more quickly. Actions are nothing more than a series of normal Photoshop operations recorded so that you can run them in sequence quickly, without having to remember just what steps to do, and in what order.

Open up your photo(s) in InDesign.

Go to Window>Actions

Using the fly-out menu, chose Load Actions and locate your file.

Open the set of Actions so that you can see all the various steps.

Click on the first listing (T600 Wide Format), hold down your shift key and select the rest of the listing, to (Finish INDOOR)

Click on the play button (right arrow) listed at the bottom of the Actions window.

Sit back and watch the operations go through! At one point you may be prompted to click ‘continue.’


Are there Actions you like to use? Have you created your own action?