How To Set Up Photo Shoots To Raise Money For Your PTA
by Andisheh Thomson, photographer
COVID-19 has meant that this year, schools in England have been unable to raise money through summer fairs. Well, not in the conventional way! I’m a professional children’s photographer and a few weeks ago, my daughter’s school’s PTA asked me if I could do a fundraise for them. So, I put together mini photo shoot sessions that would take place outdoors in a park near the school. The school itself organised a virtual summer fair and my sessions were part of them - although they were real rather than virtual!
I wanted to go through the steps for how to set up a mini-photo shoot session so that other schools can consider doing the same thing. Here are the 5 things you need to know if you want to work with a photographer to raise money for your school.
1. Make sure the photographer you work with specialises in children and families
When I switched from corporate photography to family photography I thought the transition would be really easy. Instead, what I found was that taking pictures of children and families takes practice, patience and experience. That’s why it’s best to work with a photographer that knows how to take pictures of children.
2. Do the sessions outside
Until the lockdown is completely over, sessions should take place outside. My recommendation is that you find a park or a field near the school so it’s not too hard for parents to reach you. Parking is also something important to look for.
3. Put everything online
When families book a session with me, it’s done online. When families look at the photos I’ve taken, it’s done online. When they pay for their photos, it’s done online. I guess you get my drift. By putting everything online for the mini sessions the sessions run more smoothly and it’s easier for parents to get their photos.
4. Make the sessions short
In order to make the most amount of money for your school, the sessions shouldn’t be long. Ideally you want to be able to book at least 5-10 families. This will only work if you keep the sessions short - 15 or 20 minutes at most. The shorter the session, the cheaper it will be for parents and the more likely they are to buy the entire gallery (and hence a larger donation goes to the school - see below).
5. Decide beforehand exactly how you’re giving money to the school.
I’m a fan of simplicity and the easiest way for me to donate to school is to encourage people to buy the entire gallery of photos and then I give a generous amount to the school as a result - typically between £10-25 per gallery. My goal is to give £100-200 to the school.
Do you have any questions?
Having done several years of mini photo shoots as fundraisers for schools, I’ve learned a lot about what to do and what NOT to do. Please feel free to get in touch if you have questions or want any help with this. I’m happy to do what I can!
You may find these other PTA Fundraising blog posts useful:
8. PTA Raffle