One benefit of creating a yearbook in Google Apps is sharing the workload.  This includes collecting photos. Yearbook photographers, school administrators, teachers, parents, and students need a way to share their photos.  This page takes you through the logistics of sharing those photos with your students.

WIFI, Cables, and Memory Cards

Student photographers and staff volunteers will use their smartphones and/or the school digital cameras to celebrate events and students. As such, how the photos are uploaded will depend on the device used and what works best for you.

Smartphones and some digital cameras have wifi capabilities. If your photos won't upload, the issue is most likely wifi. Double check the connection and FORGET (disconnect) if necessary.

Mini USB Cables connect digital cameras to computers/ Chromebooks. I recommend labeling the cables and keeping them in a highly visible area. These cables come with the camera. You can also purchase charging/data transfer cables with multi-ports.

Digital cameras save photos to memory cards. The problem with removing memory cards, like the SanDisk pictured above,  is that cards may get lost. Having said this, a professional photographer told us that memory cards are the best option.

Google Drive for K-12 School Yearbooks

Due to privacy concerns your school site should store images in Google Drive. Below are the directions for uploading images using wifi or via USB using a cable. Please note that I use the term images with Google Drive and photos with Google Photos.

Create Folders

Create the Google Drive folder before uploading images. Add subfolders for sections as the images are reviewed, renamed, and edited.

Create Google Drive Folders for Yearbook Images on a Computer

  1. Open
  2. Select New.
  3. Click on Folder.
  4. Create subfolders for each yearbook group.

Upload to Google Drive

Uploading images to Google Drive is fairly straightforward. The only snag we have experienced is wifi. Make sure that you are connected to the school wifi when uploading to Google Drive from your smartphone. Disconnect and reconnect the wifi if necessary.

Upload to Google Drive from a Smartphone

  1. Open the Google Drive app on your phone.
  2. Find the folder you want to use.
  3. Select the + icon.
  4. Click on Upload.
  5. Select one or more images to upload.

Upload to Google Drive with a USB Cable

  1. Plug in the USB cable into your smartphone and laptop/Chromebook.
  2. Open the desired Google Drive folder.
  3. Select New -> File upload.
  4. Find your phone and upload the images.

Upload to Google Drive from a Memory Card

  1. Open the folder on
  2. Open the memory card on the computer and place the two windows side-by-side.
  3. Click and drag images from the computer folder to the Google Drive folder.

Use a Google Form

Ask fellow teachers, families, and students to upload images with captions via a Google Form. The images are then approved by the teacher before being shared with student editors. Learn more here.

Google Photos for the Google Innovator Academies

Over the years, the Compton JHS yearbook class has used both apps to store photos. Our favorite app was Google Photos. Notice the past tense. We no longer use Google Photos with K-12 students due to privacy concerns.

Two main reasons to use Google Photos include photo editing and labeling faces. Please send feedback to  Google Photos and demand that the app have the same type of sharing protections that Google Drive has! Seriously, how hard is it to close sharing options to just a school domain or classroom?

Upload Photos

You have photos on a smartphone or the memory card of a digital camera. How do you upload those photos to Google Photos?

Install Google Photos App

  1. Install the Google Photos app from either the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
  2. Add your school Google account.

You may have multiple Google accounts on your phone. I have my school Google account, the yearbook Google account (also from the school), and my personal Google account. I do not automatically back up to my school account.

If you have an iPhone, please read this article about Google Photos to learn more about iCloud vs. Google Photos vs. storing photos on your device. The article talks about "one potential snag to be aware of if you’re using Apple’s iCloud Photo Library."

Upload Photos from a Smartphone

I use this method to upload photos from my smartphone. Since my students are mostly under 13 years of age, they upload photos to the yearbook Google account using their phone USB cables. More on that in a moment.

Upload & Share using WIFI

  1. Open your Google Photos app.
  2. Confirm that you are logged into your school Google account.
  3. Checkmark the desired photos one by one or a group of photos by clicking on the date.
  4. Select the Share  icon.
  5. Type the name of the Google Photos account.
  6. Add a message if desired and select SEND.

A dedicated yearbook account is preferred. You can also use the advisor's school Google account. Just remember that the photos go with that advisor when the advisor leaves. Think about legacy when selecting which school Google account to use.

Upload to Google Photos with a USB Cable

  1. Plug the USB phone or digital cable into the computer. When prompted, select media transfer.
  2. Locate and open the device. On my computer, I look for This PC.
  3. With windows side-by-side, click and drag photos from the computer folder to Google Photos.

Upload to Google Photos from Computers or Chromebooks

This is the method that Compton JHS yearbook students use on a daily basis. Student editors remove the Sandisk from the digital camera and insert it into a computer or Chromebook. We prefer to upload from a desktop computer. Since facial recognition is not shared, we label faces in one account.

Upload to Google Photos from a Memory Card

  1. Open
  2. Insert the memory card into the computer and open the two windows side-by-side.
  3. Click and drag photos from the memory card folder to Google Photos.


Create Photo Albums

The photos will need to be added to the yearbook or advisor's Google account. This requires the student editors to add the photo to the library. As you will learn in the next lesson, the link to albums will added to a Google Sheets Table of Contents.  For now, let's learn how to add shared the photos to a library, create an album, and share the link with the yearbook staff.

Add Shared Album to Library

  1. In Google Photos, select Sharing.
  2. Click on the album of your choice.
  3. Select the down arrow on the cloud icon to Add to library.


Create an Album

The process for creating an album on a computer or a phone is similar. These directions will focus on the computer as this is where student editors spend most of their time.

  1. Select the photos.
  2. Click on the + icon to Add to or create a new album.
  3. Select Album.
  4. Click on Add to -> New album
  5. Name the Album and select the check mark icon when done.

New photos can be added to a previously created album. Look for its name on the list in Step 4.

Additional Resources

YouTUBE Playlist

  • Google Photos Creating a Shared Album by Peter Fujiwara
  • Google Photos: New Faster Sharing by Google
  • Google Photos vs.Google Drive, which to use? Updated Aug 2017! by *Technically Speaking
  • How To Share Files and Folders In Google Drive - Full Tutorial by Dusty Porter



Photo Organization

The photos are uploaded. What do you do with those photos? How can we share the albums/folders with students?

Updated January 22, 2023.