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Our recent Headshot Meetup Session and Policy Changes

From: Rick R.
Sent on: Sunday, November 25, 2012 2:11 PM

Hello,

An open letter to our Huntington Beach Photography Meetup Group.

I have been organizing three Meetup groups on photography for over three years.  I have always tried to make my photography Meetups better than you will find in the typical "model shoot" Meetups from the other groups.  With my extensive 40+ years in commercial photography and presenting lighting seminars as well as teaching lighting I have really tried to add an educational component to my sessions.  It is one thing to come and shoot and have the organizer supervise and it is quite something else to try and provide an organized, educational component followed by a shooting session to practice what was presented.  By and large most of my Meetup attendees seem to appreciate what I am trying to provide especially since I try to do it at a very affordable price. They also seem to understand the amount of behind the scenes work I do to plan these sessions and workshops.

In order to keep the cost low I have to work hard to keep my expenses also low and I still have to pay to be a Meetup organizer.  For most of the sessions I try to negotiate other compensation so I do not have to pay the models in cash because I would have to reflect that added expense in the cost for you to attend.  It takes me quite a bit of time to find models that will shoot for TFP and are reliable, IOW, they show up.

Consequently when I ask the photographers who are shooting to provide me with their images prior to leaving the session it is with the intent of being able to pass those images on to the models.  The other alternative is for me to take time in the shoot and create some images myself and I would prefer that the attending photographers get as much time as possible with the models.  In our headshot session there were two photographers who refused to allow me to copy their images and add them to the inventory provided to all the models, stating that they would provide the images themselves.  How can they when they do not have contact information for all the models?  Believe me, it would be much easier for me to simply pass that responsibility on to the attending photographers and not spend time processing all the files but past experience has shown me that when I do that the models do not get many images and feel short-changed.  Then I have problems obtaining models for future sessions.

So, in the future, the policy is that if an attendee does not supply me with their memory card prior to leaving the session they will not be allowed to return to future sessions.  If they are that uncooperative I will probably ban them from the group as well.

The other issue that occurred at our headshot session is that I passed out two Pocket Wizards for use by the group.  Unfortunately, after a thorough inventory of the studio I have determined that one of those Pocket Wizards was apparently taken by one of our attendees.  Since no one has come forward to return it I can only presume that the intention was to steal the Pocket Wizard.  I always feel that we have a friendly and supportive group but apparently we have one individual who feels this act was appropriate.  I charged only $20 for that headshot session and I will have to replace that Pocket Wizard at $169.

Needless to say I am not pleased.  I will ask again for the individual to please return the Pocket Wizard, no questions asked.  Just contact me privately.  I have my suspicions but will not name anyone openly.  I know the serial number of the unit and am inclined to report this to the other local Meetup organizers to keep on the lookout at their shoots.

How about doing the right thing?

Sincerely,

Rick Rosen

[masked]

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