Monthly archives for September, 2016

Celebrate National Yearbook Week with us!


Join us for a fun week of contests celebrating National Yearbook Week.  One lucky staff will take home a $50 gift card each day!

  • Staff Selfie Monday– Send us a selfie of your yearbook staff. Most creative selfie wins a $50 gift card.
  • Theme Tuesday- Dig through your old yearbooks and send us a picture of a yearbook cover showing the funniest/quirkiest theme your school has ever done. We want to see it all! Staff with the best theme wins a $50 gift card.
  • Volume 1 Wednesday- Send us a picture of Volume One of your yearbook. Be sure to include the year because the staff with the oldest volume one yearbook wins a $50 gift card.
  • Throwback Thursday– Did your principal, school nurse, yearbook adviser or other faculty member graduate from your high school? Show us their picture in an old yearbook, alongside their current photo. Participants will be entered in a drawing for a $50 gift card.
  • Famous Friday- Did someone famous graduate from your school? Show us their high school yearbook photo and the year they graduated to be entered in a drawing for a $50 gift card.

How to Play

Entering our daily contests is easy! Simply follow us @BalfourYB on Twitter, then post photos from your staff Twitter account using the hashtag #CelebrateYearbook.Don’t have a staff Twitter? You can use a personal one, but tell us your school name, city and state.  One winner will be chosen each day, and your $50 gift card will ship at the end of the week.

NOTE: Everyone is welcome to play. Your school does not need to be a Balfour Yearbooks customer to win.

Fun with Fonts


One of the best ways to illustrate a yearbook’s theme is through the font choices. Whether you’re going for a fun, flirty look or an elegant, classic feel, the typography can emphasize, clarify and support the theme. Consider these suggestions as you narrow your font choices:

  • Select a font that has a large family with plenty of weights – Choosing a font family with lots of brothers, sisters and cousins (i.e. thin, book, medium, medium italic, etc.) allows you to have versatility, but the consistency of the same typeface. Use a book or regular weight for body copy, but consider using an italic, medium or condensed version for secondary coverage type. Mixing light and bold weights are a great way to add contrast in headlines.
  • Establish a type hierarchy and stick to it – Once you choose a size and leading for body copy and secondary coverage, keep to those sizes throughout the book for consistency.
  • Not sure what sizes to use? Try 9 to 10 pt for body copy, 7 to 9 pt for secondary coverage, 16-24 pt for secondary headlines and 48 pt and higher for headlines. Before submitting spreads, we recommend printing pages at 100 percent and comparing to the previous yearbook and other books to verify the size is big enough for readability, but not too large to distract from the other elements on the page.
  • Consider adding an accent font – A fun, decorative or bold font can reflect the personality of the theme and accentuate the tone in a fabulous way. Just remember, it’s an accent for a reason. A little goes a long way.

Did you know? With a new year, we’re excited to provide a host of new typography choices. New font posters will arrive in a few weeks, but in the meantime, here’s the full list of our new fonts and smart combinations.

Fall Sports Photo Tips


The game-winning touchdown. The kill that sends the team into a screaming frenzy. The forehand smash that makes it game, set, match. Being in the right place at the right time can make or break your sports photos.

But if you’re unfamiliar with the sport, how do you know where to stand? Or what lens to use? Some tips for fall sports:

Football – Near the line of scrimmage is a good place to start. Whether you’re on offense or defense, if you pre-focus on the quarterback and stay with the ball, you’ll get running and passing shots, and eventually tackling photos.

Volleyball – If you line up along the wall on the opposite side from your team, you’ll get great straight-on shots of kills and blocks. By standing dead center along the back wall you can pre-focus on the middle blocker before the point starts. Plays at the net, from the left to the right side of the court, will be sharp.

Tennis – With most matches played during the day, you won’t need an expensive fast lens. You will need a good zoom though, one that preferably reaches 200 to 300 mm. If there are bleachers, take advantage of that location to get great shots at the net, doubles teams’ talking and after the match handshakes. For shots at the baseline, it’s ideal to stand at the back, between two courts. This allows you to shoot two matches simultaneously.


For more suggestions, what lenses and settings to use, see our guide to fall sports photography.

Picture Perfect Opportunity



With hundreds of students filing through one location in one day, Picture Day is the perfect opportunity to snag some extra coverage for the yearbook.

Just think — in one day, you could knock out all of the people section coverage. It’s an ideal way to ensure you get other kids in the book — the ones not involved in clubs and sports. You could:

  • Ask poll questions
  • Ask questions for fun sidebars and secondary coverage
  • Take candid pictures
  • Take fun mugs for sidebars

It’s also an opportunity for the yearbook staff and the Journalism students to hone their interviewing skills. And it’s a great chance for photographers and photojournalism classes to capture the day and snap profile shots and mugs.

See this checklist for some suggestions on how to prepare for Picture Day.

Create a Mission Statement

TuesdayTip_Sept6A mission statement can unite the staff and set the stage for a successful year. It concisely explains why your group exists and guides your decisions, actions and responsibilities.


Here are a few well-known groups’ mission statements:

  • TED: Spreading Ideas.
  • The Humane Society: Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty.
  • The Nature Conservancy: To conserve the lands and water on which all life depends.
  • Make-A-Wish: We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
  • San Diego Zoo is a conservation, education and recreation organization dedicated to the reproduction, protection and exhibition of animals, plants and their habitats.
  • Honest Tea: Real Tea. Real Taste. Honest.

These mission statements use concrete language and personally connect to that group. Yours will serve as a blueprint for the year and what your staff is about. It should be:

  • Clear, simple and concise
  • Easy to explain – and easily explainable by others
  • Recognizably yours

Avoid ambiguous statements, buzz words and fancy jargon that take the meaning out. The strongest mission statements are clear, concise and memorable.

See this list of questions to help formulate your mission statement. And to make sure your mission statement isn’t terrible, take heed of this advice from Fast Company’s Dan Heath.