Senior Yearbook Ads : Houston Senior Portraits

Graduation Portrait photographer Houston TexasHeeyyyoooh Houston Seniors! Your last year in high school as officially started and deadlines are approaching for senior portrait yearbook ads. Creating a Yearbook Ad is usually the first experience parents (or the senior) have had with the designing, writing and editing process. I’ve had several of you (or your P’s) ask me about how to create a memorable yearbook ad, so I’ve decided to compile a few helpful tips for inspiration.


Choosing the Pictures
What’s the first thing you need for a Senior Yearbook Ad? Pictures! The eye-catching focus of the ad should be a picture of the senior. Usually it’s the professional senior portrait taken by your favorite portrait photographer (ahem, that’s me!). Sometimes the main picture is a candid shot of the senior doing a hobby, being silly, or a sweet picture of their first day at kindergarten. If you choose a personal candid shot be sure that it’s not blurry, well lit, and will print clearly.

Below are more details about how to choose photos for a Senior Yearbook Ad written by Becka Cramer for Walsworth Yearbooks.

  • Basic senior ads are usually accompanied by three photos:
    1. The professional senior photo headshot.
    2. A picture of the senior as a child with a favorite toy, a pet or siblings or participating in an activity he continued through high school (sports, dance, fishing, hunting, etc.).
    3. A close-up of the senior as a baby.
  • While the formula for senior tribute text is best avoided, the basic photos in a senior tribute make a lot of sense and provide variety that is necessary to create an interesting tribute.
  • Parents, you only have a few photos to honor your child. The photos should be different from one another; a cute photo of the child smiling at age 2 tells almost the same story as a photo of the child smiling at age 3. Find photos that show different expressions and to remember that the fewer photos on the tribute, the larger they will be able to be printed.
  • For a tribute for two best friends, the seniors’ parents submitted a photo of the boys hugging each other as kids, and another of nearly the same pose at age 18. Together, the photos told the story of the boys’ friendship.
  • Blurry, pixelated or otherwise damaged photos will not reproduce any better in the yearbook. A blurry photo will still be a blurry photo, and will probably look worse in the yearbook than it does in the original.

The Words
Besides the pictures, the Senior Ad is all about the message. A heartfelt note about your senior will be the most memorable in him/her. How do you condense 18 years worth of parenting into 4-6 sentences? Breakaway Grads has a great formula for writing the perfect message to your senior.

  • This is so emotional, I’m having a terrible time writing a special message. Help!
    Follow your heart. What are unique and special things about your senior’s personality and in his/her life? Writing about that is what will make your message meaningful!
  • How long should my message be?
    For your Breakaway ad, we suggest 4-6 short sentences – with one general topic per sentence.
  • Tips & Suggestions for a meaningful ad message
    1- We suggest handwriting on the old-fashioned 3×5 index cards to capture your main points. Then start condensing. (see example below)
    2-Salutation – use either given name … or better, family pet name or nickname. The seniors love this, as long as it’s not horribly embarrassing.
    3 – Personality description – Words such as generous, loving, caring, funny, serious, determined, clever, independent, compassionate … Also consider listing things they love (or don’t love), such as Mountain Dew, or
    4- A family memory – such as a trip, activity, family gathering, birthday, significant event …
    5 – Something currently significant or something at which they excel  – such as making the pep squad or tennis team, musical or theater performance, sport, church accomplishment (baptism, youth leader), community service, a favorite school subject …
    6 – A specific hope/wish for future – college, fulfillment, family, profession.
    7 – Words of wisdom/advice 

Sample process – About Sophie
1 – Salutation – family nickname: Schmoogie.
2 – Personality – Spirited, independent, confident, caring, determined
3 –  Family memory – Family camping trip to Yosemite, 9 people in a small cabin
4 – Something currently significant – Relationship with beloved horse
5 – Hope for future – Success in college and becoming a veterinarian
7 – Words of wisdom/advice – Eat your vegetables or “Remember to keep on swimming” (family advice when things get challenging – reference to Disney’s “Nemo”)

Finished message –
To our Schmoogie – How proud we are watching you grow into a spirited, independent, confident and determined young woman. Remember on our camping trip to Yosemite when you exercised your independence by picking up your bedding from our crowded cabin and slept out on the porch? Even now when we watch you and your horse Miles ride the Coto trails, we know with your confidence you will fulfill your dream of being a veterinarian.  Just remember to keep on swimming. We love you so much! ~ Mom & Daddy

The Design
The design of senior yearbook ads can vary. Some professionally designed ads have a very polished look (like a fashion magazine), while the DIYers usually have a sweet homemade feel. While some high schools offer a free template or design for the yearbook ad, other schools do not allow parents to design their own but all schools have guidelines and layout requirements for yearbook ads. Make sure you know all the details, deadlines, file format, and ad sizes before you begin to design a senior tribute.

Senior Yearbook Ads Tutorial : Houston Senior Portraits