The AI High School Yearbook Trend: Exploring the Viral Nostalgia


Picture this: a TikTok video shows an influencer transforming from his current appearance into a stereotypical jock or nerd from the 1990s high school era, complete with themed outfits and backgrounds. This is the latest viral AI trend called AI High School Yearbooks, which uses artificial intelligence to generate nostalgic school portraits. In this article, we explore what’s driving this trend, how to create your own AI yearbook images, and the appeal and concerns surrounding it.


AI High School Yearbooks refers to the use of AI photo editing apps to transform ordinary selfies into computer-generated images that resemble portraits and photos from old yearbooks. The results show users dressed in stylistic outfits with thematic backgrounds, reminiscent of 1990s high school tropes.

This trend went viral after influencers started sharing their AI-generated throwback images on TikTok and Instagram. The nostalgic edited photos resonated with many and brought them back to fond memories of bygone high school years.

See also: AI yearbook trend: how do you do that?

Behind the edits is an easy-to-use photo AI that makes the transformations possible. We’ll look at the popular apps that make this trend possible and how you can create your own AI high school yearbook photos to share online or just for fun.

The technology that makes AI yearbook photo editing possible

The key technology driving the AI ​​yearbook trend in high schools is generative adversarial networks (GANs). GANs are a form of deep learning that consists of two neural networks: one generates new data, while the other evaluates how realistic it is.

For AI photo editing apps, the GAN system is trained on huge datasets of school yearbook photos from past eras. This allows the AI ​​to adjust submitted selfies and convert them into computer-generated but realistic-looking retro portraits.

Some AI capabilities that enable the transformations:

  • Facial Aging – Making faces look younger or older
  • Hair and Outfit Synthesis – Add appropriate hairstyles and clothing
  • Background Replacement – ​​Change the setting to a classroom or other themed scene
  • Image resolution improvement – ​​Sharpen and smooth images

Apps like Epik use these AI photo manipulation techniques to edit the selfies. Users get vintage-looking finished images that mimic yearbook photos from the past.

How to create AI yearbook photos

Now let’s see how you can actually create your own AI-powered yearbook-style portraits to get in on the trend:

Step 1: Download the Epik app

The most popular high school yearbook editing app is called Epik. It is available on both the App Store for iOS and the Google Play Store for Android.

Epik offers a range of AI-powered editing features, with the yearbook cam feature available to try for free.

Step 2: Take and upload selfies

Open Epik and tap the Yearbook Cam option. You should take and upload about 8 to 12 good selfies that show different angles of your face.

The app requires multiple clear selfies with visibility of your face to generate the transformed images.

Step 3: Pay for image generation

Once you upload your selfies, you can select the option to pay $3 to $10 to generate 60 AI-enhanced yearbook-style photos.

This one-time in-app purchase unlocks the AI ​​results sent to your account.

Step 4: View and select photos

Once done, your account will contain 60 AI-generated portraits in different poses, looks and backgrounds. Scroll through and select the ones you like most to share.

You can pick fun ones that tie in with superlatives or high school stereotypes. The AI ​​yearbook images are available to you at any time.

How to adjust and edit the AI ​​photos

After you receive your vintage-style computer-generated yearbook photos, you can further customize and edit them within Epik:

  • Change Background – Choose from solid colors or themed backgrounds.
  • Add Borders and Filters – Choose stylized frames and edit filters for effect.
  • Adjust lighting and tones – Adjust brightness, contrast and color tones.
  • Add text – Add your name, superlatives or fun captions.
  • Remove blemishes – Use retouching tools to subtly perfect photos.
  • Swap Hairstyles – Get more hair options from the AI ​​engine.
  • Mix and match – Combine different poses and looks in photos.

With full control, you can tailor the AI ​​results to your preferences before sharing the latest memory-making photos with others.

The appeal of AI high school yearbook photos

The high school AI yearbook trend has resonated strongly due to a few key factors:


The retro-style photos evoke nostalgic memories of school days in previous decades, which many find comforting.


This allows you to experiment with different fun looks that are impossible in real life. The AI ​​acts as a digital costume and prop case.


Once generated, users can customize the photos to perfection to share online or as souvenirs.


The over-the-top retro style and themes lend themselves to humorous and meme-worthy shareable content.


Nostalgia-based content tends to spread quickly on social media, driving participation in the AI ​​photo trend.

For many, the appeal lies in taking them back to memories of a bygone era and sharing them happily on social media.

Concerns around AI-generated photos

However, there are some ethical concerns about this trend:

  • Privacy – Uploading selfies means providing biometric data that apps can potentially misuse.
  • Data usage – The photos can be used to train AI without notifying users.
  • Unrealistic standards – AI beautification in edits can promote unhealthy expectations.
  • Accessibility – Requires the latest smartphones and costs money, which could rule out a lot.
  • Stereotyping – Can lead to limited representation of high school experiences.

While it’s mostly light-hearted, users should be aware of the privacy, bias, and accessibility issues surrounding AI photo editing apps.

The future of AI-powered photos

Although it is on the rise today, creative AI photo generation is likely to survive and expand. A few ways it can evolve:

  • More photorealism as AI capabilities continue to improve
  • Video generation using similar deep learning techniques
  • 3D avatars that users can customize and animate
  • Democratization through free open source tools
  • Commercial use for marketing campaigns and content creation

In the future, AI could enable highly customized and personalized media experiences, from photos to movies. Regulation will be needed to balance innovation with ethical application.


AI high school yearbooks offer people a compelling new way to celebrate cherished memories and tap into nostalgia. Easy-to-use apps like Epik lower the barriers by automating photo transformations through machine learning. Users can creatively rediscover bygone eras.

However, there are concerns around privacy, stereotyping and access barriers that need attention. Overall, AI photo trends, when used responsibly, illustrate how emerging generative technologies can deliver fun, shareable experiences if guided ethically. The challenge and opportunity is to use these collaborative tools to respectfully represent diverse experiences.

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