One of the benefits that I’ve included in our new Patreon program is a monthly Question Time live event in which patrons get to ask me anything photography related, but as we are just getting started, I figured I’d kick off the first Question Time by fully explaining the new Patreon program, walking you through each of the tiers, and the respective benefits. Here is the video, which I recorded ad-lib rather than reading this out, but if you prefer to read, my notes follow after the video.
I know that some of you will also be wondering why I’ve started the Patreon program now, after sixteen years of Podcasting and blogging, so I’ll start by explaining that. For most of the last sixteen years, I’ve been happy to provide content completely free of charge, mostly because since 2008 the Podcast enabled me to run my Tours and Workshops, which have been selling out for up to two years in advance for most of that time. When I incorporated Martin Bailey Photography K.K. in November 2010, my tours were the center-pole of the business, and have remained the largest slice of revenue by far. I was happy to do the Podcast for free because for various reasons it was leading to a percentage of the audience sitting on a bus, boat, or jeep with me, in some corner of this amazing planet that we live on.
And then the pandemic struck, and my tours are all on hold. I haven’t been able to run a tour in 18 months now, and we have just made the heartbreaking decision to postpone the 2022 winter tours out to 2023 as well, meaning I’ll have gone over two years without any revenue from my tours, and it’s becoming hard to justify spending one or two days each week working on the blog and podcast when it’s not directly putting food on the table.
As I said a few weeks ago, I promised that the Podcast itself would always be free, and I am keeping that promise. If you come to the Website to listen to a Podcast and view the images without a Patreon contribution, the posts will have an audio player and the images in a gallery. If you subscribe in a podcast player like Overcast, you will also be able to see the images and they change as we progress through the episode, and that will remain completely free of charge, as promised. If, however, you would like to view the full text with images laid out in article form, from now on this is going to require a small monthly contribution, but this is only a part of all of the benefits that I’m making available, and I’m going to move on to explain all of those in a moment.
Before that though, I want to explain that the Patreon program is not about me begging for money. I’ll get through the pandemic, but I have to prioritize my time, and I feel that there is value in what I’m creating. From the fact that some people were already paying contributions to support the podcast directly from the website, I know that there are people that appreciate what I do and want to support that. At a basic level, I’m really just giving people that want to help a way to support what I do. This was not an easy decision, but I feel that it is the right way to move forward, and these payments show me that some people appreciate what I do, and that will keep me going by enabling me to justify the amount of time I put into the podcast each week.
Support & Unlock
It was not an easy decision but I’m also trying to strike a balance between the Podcast and the development work that is taking up so much of my time, so these contributions, your support, is incredibly valuable to me as I take my business into the future. It’s because of this, that I made it a common goal of all of the Patreon levels that I created, a simple statement, Support the Podcast. This isn’t a material benefit. That alone doesn’t provide you with any more than knowing that you are supporting my efforts, but some of you are already showing that you are willing to do that, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
There are two more benefits in the first tier named Support & Unlock which are Unlocking All MBP Blog Posts and Unlocking the MBP Community. I already covered the blog posts, but to recap, this makes all of the posts available in full, with the text and images laid out for you to follow along with. I also know that some people simply prefer to read, and the Support & Unlock tier allows visitors to do that. It opens all posts throughout the site, while ever you have an active contribution. The MBP Community is a new forum that I’ve built on the Discourse Civilized Discussion system. It’s a great system and the conversations are just getting underway, but as members join it will be a great place to discuss all things photography. The Support & Unlock tier is just $3 per month to help me out, unlock over 750 posts and gain access to the new MBP Community, and there are no long term commitments. If you decide you no longer want to contribute, you can stop at any time.
MBP Member Tier
The next tier up is the MBP Member, which includes the same benefits just covered, and also includes a high-resolution Monthly Desktop Wallpaper that I send out each month and the ability to send in text-based questions for the monthly Question Time event. This tier also includes access to the Question Time archive which will hopefully build into a valuable resource as people start to get involved. The MBP Member tier is $5 per month.
MBP Pro Tier
This next level is the MBP Pro tier which in addition to the previous tier benefits includes the previous two years of Monthly high-resolution desktop wallpaper and access to the MBP Post eBook Library in which all of the eBooks for posts for the last two years can be opened in a rich reader, with a download button to grab a copy of the book for offline reading. The eBooks are all 4K resolution so they look great even on large computer screens and 4K televisions.
This tier also enables the patron to join the monthly Question Time even in-person to ask questions live, or if the patron has an image that they’d like me to critique, we can take those during the question time as well, and of course, access to the Question Time archive is also included. There is also an exclusive MBP Pro lounge in the MBP Community that is restricted to this level of Patron and higher. This tier costs $10 per month.
MBP Pro + Mini Landscape Prints
The next tier is the same as the MBP Pro tier but includes a 4 x 6″ Mini Landscape Prints fulfilled by Patreon for every three months that you remain an active contributor. Soon I’m going to add some Wildlife and Flower print options as well if landscapes aren’t your thing. These Mini-Print levels are $12 per month.
MBP Pro + Merchandise
The next tier has the same benefits as the previous MBP Pro tier, but there are rewards in the form of merchandise for people that continue to contribute for three months, six months, 9 months, and 12 months. Here is a gallery of the merchandise, with each quarterly reward running in the order with which they are shipped. This tier is $18 per month.
MBP Mentorship Tiers
The last two tiers include everything from the previous tier, including the merchandise rewards for staying onboard for each quarter, but these tiers are actually full-blown mentorships. They include one-to-one discussions of 40 minutes and 60 minutes respectively each month, and based on those discussions I’ll be developing custom assignments and providing advice and mentorship tailored for each individual mentee. I have one lady on the 60-minute track already and I’ve been able to help her a lot with a project that she’s working on. Because these top two tiers require 40 and 60-minute sessions as well as time to create customized assignments each month, I am limiting the number of people that I take on these tiers to eight and seven mentees respectively, for a total of 15 mentees, to ensure that I will be able to assign the time necessary to run these tracks should I actually fill them.
So, that’s an outline of the benefits of each of the six tiers available on the Patreon program. We currently have six patrons on board, so a huge thanks to Karl, Peter, Mary, Gudjon, Richard, and Bryan for your support! You can check the details of each of the patron tiers at https://mbp.ac/patreon and if you value what I’m doing here it would be great if you could show your support and jump onboard one of these tiers. If you’d like to become a mentee and get private tuition to help take your photography to a whole new level, please sign up for one of the two mentorship levels.
OK, so I go into more detail and provide visuals as well in the video, so please check that out, but we’ll wrap this up for today, and hopefully, as we get more participation from the patron community, these Question Time videos will become patron-only, as planned, rather than a way for me to spread the word.
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