Looking at the polls (yeah, did you voice your opinion?) there is some support for an upgraded type of membership to help support the group. Right now, this membership applies to the Photographer segment, but we are working on ideas for upgraded membership options for the Model members too!
This group has been going since 2002, and I starting running it in about 2006. We have a track record. We are here to stay! But we need to grow, and do more in the area of Model/Photographer interaction. To do that, we need some things, one of them is to BECOME MORE OF A GROUP OR CLUB than a simple notification list.
The next thing is to develop some sort of fund so we *can* do things without having to get people to sign up first. So, we need to have paid memberships, and people taking a real involved role in the group!
What follows is the proposal, and I'll be posting this in a finalized format to the group area shortly.
Basic membership will always be free, as long as the group stays in it's current form. We will always have the open group shoots where no costs are incurred by anyone. But, we need to GROW!
I've added a VIP Membership option, you can find the link on the front page. It uses Amazon Payments, or you can pay at the studio at one of the events.
It's well known that people who financially support a group are far more serious about their involvement with the group and the group's purpose. By supporting the group you make a statement that you are serious about your photography, and model/art photography.
Your support can go a long way to making this a more active, useful, and vibrant group.
It will help cover the operating expenses which I've been absorbing for the past 6 or 7 years, and will allow more props and equipment in the studio and for workshops. It will also allow us to plan better events, and expand the sort of things we are able to do. If we get a new studio space, you'll also have extra benefits there as well. As the advertising motto goes, "Membership has its privileges"!!
I'll make up some nifty membership cards, and hopefully as time goes on there will be extra perks and offers for the VIP members, like first shot to sign up for special events and workshops, and maybe even VIP-Only events. You'll also get a new title "Charter VIP Member" not just "member"
As time goes on, we'll probably add other levels, maybe make participation in anything but the open group events contingent on membership. Anyone who joins as VIP now, will get "Charter" status, and extra perks (and discounts) regardless of what we do with the memberships along the way.
Right now, what it will offer you is $5 off any $35 workshop, $10 off a $55 workshop, and $15 off any $75 workshop. If you attend workshops on a regular basis, the membership will more than pay for itself. You will also get 20% off any "Special" event.
We can make different mailing lists, so you'll also be on a "Charter VIP" list that will let you get notices of events/opportunities that are only for you! Other members won't even know about those events! Yeah, there *have* been things going on behind the scenes for years. It's time to make it more organized.
I've been paying over $100 a year to keep this group open here on meetup, that's not including all the time/things/money I've put into the group, such as all my studio lighting/equipment, props, and even location rentals. In the past I put a lot of money into food/refreshments for events and never, ever even broke even. It's time to get serious!
I'll also make a limited number of "Life Time" memberships available. How limited? I don't know. But, the membership will be 4x the current top-level membership, which is only at $75 today. That makes a lifetime membership $300. If you plan to live a long time, this is a good deal ;)
We *really* need to be more organized and club like, and to have some sort of general fund to be able to have more events. Model/Photographer workshops, events and meetups are more expensive than simply going out and shooting trees and buildings. There is planning, props, location, and other expenses, not to mention the added equipment (studio strobes, reflectors, etc). We've gotten this far because a few people (mainly me) have kept putting money into it. But, more people have to step up and ante up.
The group needs support. We keep the workshop fees ridiculously low for what you get. Similar workshops are 2-3x the cost in other areas. In order to do this, we *need* your support for the group as a whole, to allow the group itself to exist and operate to set up events and programs.
So, in summary, right now, we have:
Member: Anyone who is in the group, paid or unpaid.
VIP Member: Anyone who supports the group with an annual due of $75
Charter VIP Member: A VIP Member who signed up during the charter period.
Lifetime Member: A Member who supported the group with a one-time membership payment of $300
And.... we do take donations. :) If you want to contribute to the general fund, or provide props, equipment, or such, we do take it.
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