Portraits or no portraits? That is the question.

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

Ok. Let's talk about portraits. Sprinkle a little "uncertainty" on the fall portrait season and we have a stressful mess. Will there be portraits or not? Will be be postponed? Will they be cancelled all together?

To help you get ahead on the portrait extravaganza (which, lets be honest, is a good portion of your yearbook headache as well as a good portion of the content of your book) we have some things for you to think about now:

  • Prepare for picture day: Ask your administrator, activities director, or PTO president for the contact information of your portrait rep. Contact your portrait rep to secure or confirm a portrait date and a retake date. In order to get your pick of the best dates, call early.

  • Uh-oh! Outside guests/vendors aren't allowed into your building this fall. Your school is 100% virtual until further notice. The students are at school on alternating days. All of these things are important to think about when it comes to portraits this fall. Talk with an administrator about their preference when it comes to portraits this fall. In a worst case scenario, consider a drive-through portrait session where students drive up to have their picture taken. In an even worse, worst case scenario (none of the above is allowed), Balfour has a solution for collecting photos that students submit for the portrait section. This system organizes the images and creates the database that the Balfour software needs in order to flow portraits. More details to come very soon....just know, we have you covered!

  • Contact your photographer: Introduce yourself and discuss the delivery of the portrait database for yearbook purposes. Do they send out a disc? Do the email out a link? Make sure they know who to direct that important information to. Also, ask them what their photo-taking strategies are in this current environment. This is good information to have as you start advertising the photo date.

  • Make some decisions: What is your plan for handling students that move in or out of the school? Do you remove their portrait or add it in? What about formal names versus nicknames? Transgender students? Are you going to take photos of every student that missed picture day? Having these policies in place early help you make quick decisions later which helps you meet deadlines!

  • Consider the commission: Your school gets a commission from the portrait company for every portrait package sold at the school. Are you the one organizing portrait day? Managing the dates and locations? Are you putting in hours while the photographers are there? Maybe the yearbook committee or staff should get the portrait commissions to add to their budget instead of the general fund. If you are the person that makes this happen at your building, consider asking for "compensation" in the form of the portrait commission.

The most important thing to remember is that though dealing with the portrait section can be a daunting task, it really is made easier by Balfour's software and the preparedness of the yearbook adviser. So, take some time now, to save some time later and give the portraits just a half hour of your thinking time today.

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