'We were approached by a parent who runs her own photography business. She had successfully run a family photo day at other schools, so we snapped up her offer. We ran the event at school from 9am until 4pm one Sunday at the end of November. We charged £5 per family for a sitting, which included tea, coffee, squash, cakes and biscuits.
We had 28 families each book a 15-minute photo shoot slot. They then had time to review and select any images they wanted. We earned 10% commission if sales were under £700 and 15% if they were over £700 (which many were). Families ordered a mixture of prints, canvases and digital files (many used these to get Christmas cards printed). The event raised just under £500, which was good for practically no monetary outlay and, as the photographer brought along back drops, lights, props and a laptop for viewing the images, it was an easy event to organise. The photos were all delivered within a week – in plenty of time for Christmas. It was so successful that we're planning to run it again this year.'
Jo White, PTA Co-Secretary, Icknield Walk First School, Royston, Hertfordshire (349 pupils)
'We started planning our photoshoot fundraiser around six months in advance. We booked Liam Walsh at White Box Photography, as he came recommended. Liam gave us tips and ideas on how to promote the event, and even created some poster and leaflet templates for us.
The photographer needed an hour and a half to set up, so we met him at 8am for a 9:30am start. He said he could get through a dozen families in an hour, but as I didn't want lots of agitated children waiting for their turn, I left a couple of slots free. This gave leeway for latecomers, and also allowed for any shoots that over-ran.
The day ran very smoothly, and we finished at around 5pm. We sold every slot, and as we had asked for payment in advance, everyone showed up. We sent a slip home in book bags, asking for preferred appointment times, along with a contact number and payment.
A couple of days prior to the event, I scheduled everyone in as close to their preferred time as possible.
The photographer charged us £10 per session, and left the final price up to us, which would dictate our profit. We charged £25 per session, which included a 10x8 print, plus 16 copyright-free digital images. The photographer sent these to families approximately one week later.
We raised £420, and as the school decided against school photos this year, the same photographer offered his own service on another date. This meant that in total we raised £960 from photos this year!'
Jules Fisher, PTA Chair, St George's Primary School, Wallasey, Merseyside (900 pupils)
'We booked a local professional photographer for the day and families reserved 15-minute slots for £5, which was ours to keep. The photographer gave up her time for free, making money from photo orders. We gave the photographer's flyers to parents with an accompanying letter. After the shoot, she emailed everyone a code to go online to view their proofs, and they then ordered online or by phone. It's an easy fundraiser for very little work. Last year we raised £225!'
St Andrew's Lower School, Biggleswade (400 pupils)