Crowdsource Photos

Photo by 杰 肖 on Unsplash
Photo by 杰 肖 on Unsplash

The first day of school brings excitement, jitters, and a families' smartphone camera out. Why not use those first day of school photos that families take in your school yearbook?

For that matter, why not have families and students submit photos throughout the year? Families and students can submit their favorite photos with captions via Google Form.

Google Form + Google Sheet

Create a Google Form

Click here for an example of a Google Form for crowdsourcing yearbook photos. Notice that I used the File upload option for Image with 1 Maximum number of files. I also clicked Change for the accepting the size of files the Google Drive folder can hold.

Crowdsource Yearbook Photos - Review Process

Google Sheet with Review Process

After you create a Google Form, you have the option to create a Google Sheets to view the responses. On that new spreadsheet, you can view all responses.

As yearbook advisor, I added a column for check boxes at my principal's common sense request. What if a person with bad intentions accesses the Google Form? What if a picture does not met the yearbook criteria?

Second Google Sheets for Student View

You may be wondering, how do students view the family submitted yearbook images with captions? The answer is a 1) shared subfolder of approved images and 2) a second Google Sheets for students to view.

Share Subfolders

I created two subfolders within the folder created when the Upload question was made. The approved subfolder is shared as Anyone in MyDistrict with a link can view.

The other subfolder is called "Not approved" and is not shared. I sort through each submitted photo and move them to the subfolders.

The approved subfolder link was then added to the Yearbook Google Classroom as a Material. Click on the image to view the three steps.

Google Sheet Student View

How do students view the approved images? I created a second Google Sheet and added the following formula to A1.

=QUERY(IMPORTRANGE("url", "C1:F1000"), "Select * Where Col4=TRUE")

One downside is that the student must click on the link to view the image. However, I know how to code changing a Drive image to work with the formula =image(B2) so that the student can view the image next to the caption. I will beta test the code before releasing it as an add-on.

Crowd Source Yearbook Images - Student view Google Sheets formula query plus importrange

Share Form with Families

We shared our Google Form with families using a short URL, a QR code, flyers, and our family communication platform.

Short URL

To share the link with families, use a URL shortner such as or Make sure that new link works on your school network. I created as an example. Notice that the SY are capital letters. Go to a new tab and type

If you are reading this blog post on a computer, point your smartphone's camera at this QR Code and click the web address that appears.
If you are reading this blog post on a computer, point your smartphone's camera at this QR Code and click the web address that appears.

QR Code

QR Codes are no longer require a special app. Most smartphone companies built-in function on their camera app. Just open the camera app to take a regular photo and am it at the QR code. A website address will appear.

At first I used QR-Code-Generator to create a QR code. Unfortunately, the least expensive option at this time is $9.99 per month. I wish they had an option to purchase single QR codes because I really liked the easy-to-use platform.

I am now using QRCode-Monkey with a Google Drawing addition with directions. (Download the addition as a png). I download the QR both as a png and as a PDF for future use.

Canva Flyer

We will use both Google Slides and Canva for our yearbook. Think of Google Slides as a blank canvas for basic graphic design platform. Think of Canva as an anchor graphic design platform that shows students what they can create.

Below is a modified example of the flyer I made for the first day of school. Next week, students will design their own flyer to give families during Back to School Night. I would like to make a sandwich board size poster too and take it to each school event.

Classroom teachers, click here to sign up for your free Canva account. The free teacher account means that the 💲 change to 🎓, so that all elements and templates are free. Classroom teachers can even setup a team for students. I used the Google Classroom link and had students add themselves to the team. Students log into Canva with Google.

Please note that the student Canva accounts do not have access to all elements. Students will not be able to download any creation that includes a 💲Canva Pro.

Canva flyer with tinyurl and qr code


Creating a yearbook can be overwhelming. Our families have cameras in their pockets. Why not collaborate with families while lessening the burden of gathering photos for they yearbook?

If you use Google Forms to gather yearbooks, I would love to hear from you. What worked for you? What would you change? Share those ideas via Twitter or the email contact form. Click on the link below to add the hashtag #SlidesYearbook and tag me.