At first, it appears that we have only two choices for storing yearbook images. We can store them in Google Drive or Google Photos. But what if we could do both? Read on to learn more.

Photos logo

We can use Google Photos with editing and facial recognition capabilities. Photos can be organized in albums. Students can write comments (or captions) on individual pictures. Sadly, we sacrifice student privacy with its non-existent school-level sharing permissions. Student yearbook staff members have the option to share outside our domain because Google sharing permissions are on or off. No advanced settings exists at this time. Please note that as of August 1, 2017, non-core apps like Google Photos have been turned off. Please talk to your district school domain administrator to determine if Google Photos can be manually turned on for students.

Google Drive logo 512 px

Or we can use Google Drive with its site-level folder sharing permissions and the option to prevent editors from changing access and adding new people. Google Drive is a Core Service and, therefore, FERPA compliant. At the same time, we sacrifice photo editing and facial recognition capabilities.

Photos Organization Sharing Chart
Photos logo

Step 1 - Google Photos

  • Create a album. Click here for directions.
  • Share the album directly with trusted student editors and school staff.
  • These student editors will upload, add descriptions to the photos, and edit.
  • Students can also upload photos from digital cameras.
    • Students must remember to clear the memory card after the photos are uploaded.
    • Digital camera memory cards are easily lost.
    • It is better to use a connecting cable to upload photos from a camera than insert the memory card into a computer or Chromebook.
Google Drive logo 512 px

Step 2 - Google Drive

  • Go to
  • Open Settings -> Automatically put your Google Photos into a folder in My Drive.
  • Open the new folder and select the folder labeled by year
  • Select Share -> Get shareable link (Anyone with a link can view)
  • Students should create Sub-folders in the Google Photos Drive Folder to organize the photos.
    • Name folders 01 August, 02 September, 03 October etc.
Create a Google Photos folder in Drive
Google Photos Drive Folder

Step 3 - Google Classroom

  • Go to your yearbook Google Classroom.
  • Return to STREAM and add Assignment with the Shareable link.
    • Students must open this folder before they can insert these images.
    • Students will go to Insert -> Image -> Google Drive -> Shared with me.
  • Go to ABOUT and add the student editors as co-teachers.
  • When a student un-enrolls, she no longer has access to the Photos.

Additional Comments

For the past few months, Compton Jr. High school journalism & yearbook students have been testing the SlidesYearbook Course. The course takes a user from SlidesYearbook Basics to Publishing.

Sadly, no student has access to Google Photos. Our district with 30,000+ K-8 students did not create a separate Organizational Unit in the Google Admin Console that would permit select yearbook students to access Google Photos with parent permission. The potential headache of which student had permission and which one did not was too much.

Instead, each student (editor or not) had to use the teacher computer to access the app. These students upload photos to the school Google Photo account, edited the photos on the teacher's computer, and then accessed the same photos via a Google Drive folder in Google Classroom.


We are not done talking organization yet. Let's take a closer look at Google Classroom.