HoustonPhotowalks provides online classes, both in groups, and one-on-one via Zoom.
How do I attend Zoom Events?
The easiest way to get started is to visit the Zoom Test webpage and click “Join”. This will let you know if your computer already has the Zoom plugin installed.
IMPORTANT: It is your responsibility to make sure you have all software installed and your zoom link prior to the class begins. If you are having any issues, contact the organizer NO LESS THAN ONE HOUR PRIOR to the class start. See the section “I sent the organizer an email/text/message, but not getting a reply.” for more details.
How do I get my meeting password/id?
We will provide you a simple one-click link directly to your meeting/class via meetup email a few hours prior to the event.
You will never receive a meeting “ID” or “Password” from us. If you are being asked for a password or meeting ID, you are not using the correct link for the event. Review the email carefully to make sure you copy/paste the entire zoom link.
Zoom event links will only be provided via a meetup-generated email only.
For security, zoom links will not be posted in events comments, in the event description, or provided other than through meetup’s email system.
I didn’t receive a Zoom / webinar link, how do I get it?
- Check your spam and quarantine email buckets/folders.
- If you are using the meetup.com mobile app: Check the notification section to see if the notification is waiting for you there.*
* Note that Meetup may not send you some emails if you have opted in for “Mobile Notifications”. Read more about this issue at meetup’s help page: Why am I not receiving Meetup emails? This is a setting in Meetup and HoustonPhotowalks cannot edit/change it on your behalf.
If still can’t find it, and the class has not already started (or 1 hour prior to start), contact the organizer hosting the meeting. They can attempt to send the email again. If you are still not receiving the emails from meetup, we may not be able to fix this.
Resolve any missing link issues at least 1 hour prior to class. Emails/messages/comments received 1 hour prior to, and during, the event, will not receive a reply until after the event is over.
How do I make sure I receive the zoom link emails?
There are several things that can prevent a meetup.com email from reaching you. Unfortunately, we are not able to fix these issues on your behalf, but can offer the following suggestions:
- Meetup will not send you email under some conditions. Read more on Meetup’s help page: Why am I not receiving Meetup emails?
- If you are using an email spam blocking software, please whitelist meetup.com.
- Check your spam folder for any meetup.com email and make sure you mark it as “Not Spam”.
- Meetup emails come from an automated meetup.com system. If you require that anyone that send you email must “register” with your email system, meetup.com will not do that. You will have to whitelist them manually.
- HoustonPhotowalks and organizers cannot bypass your spam and unwanted email filters, you must whitelist.
- If you provided a fake or incorrect email address to meetup, you will *not* receive zoom links.
- Before signing up for a zoom event, make sure you have not disabled email notifications from HoustonPhotowalks. See the link below.
I sent the organizer an email/text/message, but not getting a reply.
If you attempted to contact an organizer less than 1 hour prior to an event, or during an event, you will receive an answer after the event is over. If the organizer is preparing for their class, or the class has already started, we will no longer stop it to answer messages/emails.
Make sure you have zoom set up and the zoom link 1 or 2 hours prior to the class. For example, if your class is at 7pm, and you wait until 6:30pm to contact the organizer, you will likely not receive an answer until after class.
If you are not able to join a zoom meeting (for technical or any other reason), and did not ask for assistance prior to 1 hour before class starts, you will not receive a refund.
(Sorry, I know this sounds harsh, but we wanna get the class disruptions and “I lost that email” issues under control, it’s not fair to other students or the instructor to stop everything several times in the first 20 minutes of each class).
Isn’t Zoom “unsafe”?
No software is completely “safe”. Zoom has updated their software several times to address many issues that have been identified, but the news media has not reported on these improvements. HoustonPhotowalks takes several additional steps to make sure our events are as safe as possible:
- Prior to each event, we update to the latest and most secure version of Zoom. You should too.
- The URL to zoom events are only provided privately. This prevents unwanted visitors.
- We reserve the right to mute, block the video, or entirely remove any participant at any time, for any reason. This includes being disruptive, rude, or displaying unwanted visuals.
- HoustonPhotowalks events will be protected by a randomized entry code stored in the link we provide you via email. Make sure you have received this email before 1 hour prior to the event.
Some people may be concerned about zoom security for highly classified military information, medical information, and sexting. But those subjects are not part of HoustonPhotowalks. So we will continue using Zoom for as long as it is needed.
Is my computer/phone/ipad ready for Zoom?
Some features of Zoom are not available for all platforms. However, our zoom events use the least complicated parts of the Zoom platform to make sure everyone can participate. To make sure you are ready to join HoustonPhotowalks online events, please test your setup with this link at least 1 hour prior to your meeting:
CreativeLive broadcasts “Live” events for it’s members who signed up to watch, often at no additional charge. In order to attend the complete event and not just the first chapter, you must:
- be logged in to CreativeLive with your CreativeLive username and password,
- have RSVPed on the CreativeLive website for the event prior to it starting,
- have a stable internet connection,
- occasionally “refresh” your browser if the video becomes “stuck” in multiple commercials.\
During free broadcasts, CreativeLive will promote their other classes and services. Occasionally the video will get “stuck”. Just refresh your browser once or twice to rejoin the live broadcast.
What if I RSVPed on Meetup, but not CreativeLive? Then you may not be able to watch the entire class.
What if I want to watch the class, but did not RSVP? Sometimes you can still watch the live broadcast, but not always. CreativeLive offers the class for sale, often at a discount during days it is being broadcast live.
What if I want to watch the broadcast, but can’t attend when it’s being shown live? CreativeLive will rebroadcast the class throughout the day and evening on the day it is scheduled. If you can’t watch it during the day due to work, you can watch it when it rebroadcasts later that day or evening. You can also purchase access to the class and watch anytime.
I have followed all of the instructions/tips above, but still cannot watch the live broadcast during the scheduled time, what should I do? In this case, you will need to contact CreativeLive for technical support.
Event tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.
For the sake of organization, and giving people an equal chance to attend when an event is booked, please change your RSVP to “no” and have the other person RSVP normally. After you change your RSVP to no, you can post a comment on the event letting people know your spot is now open.
Please *do not* offer your spot to someone else. It is unfair to people who are waiting for a chance to RSVP.
Yes. Its kinda like when my wife drags me to the opera. I don’t want to be there, but I still have to pay for the seat I occupy. We usually are happy to have friends and family attend events, and they can shoot with whatever camera they bring with them (even a camera phone). But just like a movie theater expects everyone to pay who attends, you will be responsible for any payments or fees associated with your guests.
We run the club so that events are typically funded by event payment fees. And our advertising pays for other fees (such as website fees, meetup.com fees, providing bottled water, donations to museums, etc). Although we appreciate anyone’s interest in donating, we really don’t accept donations.
The best way to help “Fund the Fun” is to shop with our advertisers. Clicking our ad links before you buy will help us generate revenue for the group. And for that, we say THANKS!!
Why did I have to pay for this photowalk, there’s plenty in the funds in our budget to pay for everyone.
A lot of people have contributed to our budget, and not every one of them can attend any one single event. Each event should be self-funded so we at the worst scenario, break even.
If a location is charging us a set amount to visit, we will divide that amount up by the number of people who are attending, add a small amount to cover PayPal fees, and possibly a tip for the event organizer who is doing the work to provide the photography experience.
There’s something happening at the day and location of the photowalk, can I post a public message?
No. Please do not — contact the organizer in a private message, please.
At some events, we have what we call “bonus” material. We may go on a photowalk and not tell everyone that when they get there, there will be some crazy fun extra stuff to shoot. It’s our way of making events fun, surprising photowalkers with great photographic opportunities.
PLEASE do not post spoilers. If you post a spoiler in a public comment, you will experience the wrath of an organizer who’s trying to keep a secret. If you repeatedly and deliberately spoil the surprise for others, you will be removed from our events.
Meetup provides several ways to update your RSVP, including the web site, mobile apps, and the mobile web application. Unfortunately, with such a large group, it’s increasingly difficult to change everyone’s RSVPs by email request. And if someone posts a “comment” saying they can’t make it, that comment may go unnoticed resulting in a no-show.
If it looks like you can’t attend an event, please log in and change your RSVP rather than posting a comment or emailing the host.
There is no set required number of meetings. Attend as few or as many events as you find interesting. Some folks only want travel events, some folks only want downtown events, we don’t judge, come as often as you like.
However, if you RSVP “Yes”, please attend or change your RSVP before the event.
Houston Photowalk events are your opportunity to practice your techniques, ask others about their techniques, and get out of the house with a fun group of folks.
We try to do classes at least once a month, when we have a good venue and a speaker with an open schedule. We also try not to post a class on the same weekend as a photowalk.
Many times, tripods and flash gear is welcome; if you’re willing to carry it, you are welcome to bring it.
However, some indoor locations request we do not bring tripods (tripping hazard). And places with artifacts may ask us not to use flash. If there is any question, we will make that available in the “Last Minute Updates” email.
Unfortunately, sometimes that information may not be known until we arrive at the event. In those cases, that information will be provided at the “Opening Remarks (Roll Call)” portion once we group up. If tripods are not allowed, you can leave it in your car.
If the “tripod” question isn’t answered in the Last Minute Updates email, consider tripods to be welcome.
Houston Photowalk organizers want to make sure you have a 5-star experience at photowalk events. The 1-to-5 star rating system lets us know if Organizers totally nail it — or if we goofed.
Some issues are NOT part of the rating system. This includes
- Weather conditions
- Venue or location closures
- Acts of God, Mother Nature, Zeus, minions, the Government, etc.
- Acts of other members*
A rating of less than 5 needs to include some feedback. You can submit this via email directly to the organizer if you don’t want the comment published.
Please leave a “Group Comment” for others to read.
*Note: If there is a member who is acting inappropriately, please contact the photowalk organizer/leader to resolve the issue as soon as possible. We will try to resolve the issue. If we don’t find out about an issue until after a photowalk is over, our ability to help goes down to zero.
Meetup has removed “waitlists” for some event types. This is not something we can control.
We strongly suggest you contact meetup and ask them to restore the waitlist functionality for *ALL* events, not just some.
For full details, see the question “How do I join the waitlist?”
This could be for several reasons. If an event is “full” (the maximum number of people have already signed up), the RSVP buttons will be disabled when you visit the event page.
See also: What does it mean if the RSVPs are “Closed”?
Sometimes we as a group will agree to “donate” a few photos to a venue we visit. This often helps us secure access to areas or venues otherwise unwelcome to photographers or the general public — while providing images to an organization that may not otherwise have the budget to pay for professional photography services.
So it’s barter.
Photowalkers who participate in these events are volunteering to share photographs with the organization or non-profit who invited us. If you RSVP “yes” for one of these events, your voluntary image donation is obligatory. You got exclusive access with a promise of some images, so pony up. 🙂
Note: you are not “giving up ownership”. Rather, you are providing a license to the venue to use your images. This is typically for marketing or historical record. If a venue or organization demand “ownership” of donated images, we will try to educate the organization’s leadership about how image rights work. If that doesn’t work, we will not attend that event.
Virtual Walks are non-meeting events, where members do not actually meet face-to-face in order to participate in the event. We do several of these a year, usually during the extremely hot weather and one in November. This allows us to continue exercising our photographic skills even when it is way too hot or our holiday schedule prevents us from meeting.
Some events are space-limited, usually due to venue restrictions, regulations, or venue size. If a location gives us permission to bring 40 people, we limit the event to 40 photographers. There is no margin for no-shows. Only jerks no-show for an event that has people on a waiting list.
If a location is smaller, we limit the size so that people who can attend will be able to shoot without getting other photographers in their shots, stepping on each other’s toes, or tripping over each other’s tripods.
An organizer or volunteer will host an event at some location that is interesting and unusual. We walk and photograph, easy enough. Later we post our images on the message boards, facebook, or Flickr and provide each other friendly feedback. We try to find time for lunch/dinner too.
The act of photowalking is a communal event, where individuals from all walks of life get together and enjoy photographing, talking and walking.
Sometimes we visit such picturesque locations, it’s tempting to post images of the location even if we didn’t actually attend the event (or the event hasn’t happened yet).
Meetup only allows a limited number of photos per event album. And we want the spotlight to be on members who participate in our events. Now that our group has grown, allowing everyone to post their favorite location photos, even if they don’t participate, is filling up the album and taking the spotlight away from members who participate in our events. Organizers are having to delete photos from non-participating members to make room for people who attended. Albums are now limited to photos taken at the scheduled event, rather than the location in general.
Also, we politely request that members limit their uploads to their favorite 5 or 6 images, at least on the first few days after the event.
HPW is a rain-or-shine group, we typically don’t cancel an event unless the mayor says to evacuate the city. Production companies pay thousands of dollars to bring in rain equipment, so it is great if the weather provides us with a rain shoot for free!
Shooting in the rain can create some amazing photography opportunities, such as wet streets and buildings, cars splashing through water puddles, people running around trying to stay dry, etc. You will want to take some photography gear protection as well as some creature comfort (raincoat or poncho). To protect your gear, there are camera rain guards sold at Houston Camera Exchange, usually, a pack of three is under 10 bucks.
Check out this blog post with some amazing shots of rain photography: 25 Professional Shots of Rain Photography
In some cases, an event may be canceled because the location or venue has shut down due to weather. This will not affect most photowalks.
Also, on days with rain or unusually cold weather, we may not take roll call that day. So no-shows may not be counted.
Report it immediately to the organizer. Organizers may not monitor their texts or phones while photowalking, so report it face to face as quickly as possible. Please make sure you provide enough information (such as the person’s name) so the organizer can intervene.
A member may be asked to leave an event location and/or banned from attending future events for the following situations:
- Intentionally making other members or venue visitors feel unwelcome
- Disrupts meetup events, including classes and trips
- Escalates drama, bullying or harassing members or venue visitors
- Threatens or initiates physical confrontations
- Refuses to lower voice when asked to calm down
- Intentionally damages location property, or refuses to own up to accidents
- Ignores the requests/rules of tour operators, location owners or photowalk organizers
- any other egregious acts of anti-social or dangerous behavior
A member who refuses to leave when asked to do so will be banned from all future group activities and reported to meetup.com.
HoustonPhotowalks tries to be as inclusive as possible. When you have large groups of people together from various walks of life, backgrounds, political beliefs, religious affiliation, social norms, vaccination status, and general manners, it’s inevitable that misunderstandings may occur. You may find a particular person uninteresting, or in the worst case, find them offensive.
We ask everyone to remember that this is a social group and to be mindful of other people’s situation as you interact. We can be friendly, respectful and inviting, even if we have members who disagree in other areas of life.
If you do not want to be around “those people” (whoever you consider “those people” to be), then you may not be a good fit for the HoustonPhotowalks community.
When you RSVP on meetup.com, you will be prompted to pay via PayPal. You can pay with your PayPal account balance, credit or debit card via the PayPal checkout screen.
I can no longer attend an event, how do I get my refund? (or: How do I get a refund if I no-showed?)
Sometimes things happen and someone can’t keep their RSVP commitment. Unfortunately, the group still has to pay for their seat/entry, especially if it’s last minute. Also, due to Meetup.com’s method of integrating with PayPal, refunds are extremely time-consuming (the PayPal payment is not tied to your meetup account, so its difficult to find the correct transaction).
This situation is made worse when a large number of people RSVP for events just to “save a spot”, but then change their RSVP and demand a refund 1 or 2 days prior to the event. This led to organizers spending as long as 2 hours per event doing nothing but hunting PayPal and processing refunds.
When folks RSVP, its considered a commitment to the group. As of January 2010, refunds are not available unless otherwise noted or the event was canceled.
Contact the organizer privately to see if something can be worked out. Sometimes we can wait on payment, depending on the type of event.
Sorry, meetup really doesn’t give us a better option. The Meetup credit card payment system takes a very large chunk of every transaction, much larger than PayPal. We can’t use the Meetup credit card processing system without significantly increasing our event prices, which would suck.
Paypal accepts payments from credit and debit cards, even if you don’t have a PayPal account. Or you can get a friend to pay for you.
When you RSVP, you will be prompted to pay.
When we attend events and locations (such as a museum), we collect fees in advance to speed up check-in and not make everyone wait in line. We wanna get started shooting as quickly as possible, not stand in line at a cash register. I can’t pay on your behalf if you don’t pay in advance.
In some situations, paying in advance as a group means we get discounts.
In the past, the majority of people that promised to “pay when I get there” never actually show up. This means the organizer has to pay the venue for no-show tickets promised to the venue (out of the group’s budget).
Can I post a rant, complaint, negative critique, or tell an organizer that they did something wrong as a public comment?
Please contact the organizer privately. No one wants their errors pointed out publicly to a huge audience, especially our organizers/volunteers.
There are a lot of buttons, knobs and text boxes to fill in when posting a new event. Sometimes a person may get something typed in wrong. Rather than pointing out an organizer’s mistakes publicly, it’s ok to privately text that person and let them know privately that an edit needs to be made.
Did an organizer misspell something? Is a time/date/address incorrect? Are details fuzzy? Did you not enjoy an event for a particular reason? Is there something about the group that bugs you? We appreciate your keen eye and willingness to share — and your politely worded private message.
We will look at anything you have to say and respond accordingly. Sometimes something looks like a mistake, but it’s not. So pointing out something you disagree with may confuse others.
Mistakes happen, people are human, and not everyone enjoys everything we do. Friendly comments will be handled, public comments will be too — often with the same tone of voice as the person complaining.
The Federal Trade Commission wants you to be aware that websites earn money when you click on their links. Its a perfectly reasonable law, to make sure you are aware that some links will result in financial compensation for the person who posted the link.
HoustonPhotowalks uses affiliate marketing to generate revenue for our budget and the organizers who run the group. This money is used to pay Meetup.com fees, website hosting fees, classroom fees, teaching fees, donations to museums and venues, provide bottles of water when possible, etc.
Not at all! In most cases, we only start paying attention after the 3rd consecutive no-show, or 3 within recent event history. We have extreme short term memory problems.
The organizers and walk volunteers try to be as accurate as possible when counting heads. If you get a no-show you weren’t expecting, don’t freak. Just send a polite email to the organizer, explaining you were there on time and at the opening remarks prior to the photowalk/event. You will receive a humble apology in return, and have your no-show changed to “attended”.
Occasionally, someone who has paid to attend an event will need to cancel. Due to the limitations and complications with providing refunds through meetup, the basic policy is no refunds on tickets.
There are cases when someone can transfer their ticket/seat to someone else. The following conditions must be met:
- The event must be booked/sold out.
- No one else has posted a comment asking to attend the event if a spot opens up.
- The purchaser must be a HoustonPhotowalks.com Meetup Group member.
- Organizers will not be able to verify payment completion between the two parties.
- Tickets for the event venue, transportation, etc. must be legally transferrable. For example, some tour operators, sporting events, travel arrangements, and cruise lines will not allow tickets to be transferred.
- Seller needs to send an email to the organizer, CC: the buyer, and indicate that the transfer has been completed.
- Only emails FROM THE SELLER, with the buyer listed in CC: will be accepted. No texts, facebook DMs, meetup messages, etc. please.
- No need for the buyer to email the organizer, verification of the transfer needs to come from the ticket seller.
- The nature of the ticket transfer may not violate any of Meetup.com’s terms and conditions.
Meetup provides a waitlist for some events, but not all. Meetup no longer provides a “waitlist” feature on some event types. For example, a “waitlist” is not allowed on Paid Events.
We strongly encourage members to ask Meetup to provide a waitlist or notification system for people wanting to attend paid events that are filled. You can voice your opinion by contacting meetup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get around this limitation on meetup, you are welcome to post a “Let me know if a spot opens” message in the comment section of the meetup. Based on the way meetup works currently, you will now be subscribed to any followup comments if someone posts “I can’t make it after all” comment.
You can update your notification settings at the following link, and make sure all items are checked:
Also, if a spot opens up, the organizer may post a message in our facebook group http://fb.com/groups/houstonphotowalks. So keep an eye out there for updates as well.
This is an imperfect system, we are using comments and facebook posts to get around a limitation on meetup.com.
Occasionally, someone will change their RSVP at the last minute, and a person on the waitlist will be slotted in with little or no time to prepare. Unfortunately, due to the way Meetup.com handles waitlist, it’s sometimes hard to tell that a “No-show” is actually someone that was slotted in with not enough notice to show up.
If you are moved from “Wait” to “Going” with less than 48 hours notice and cannot attend, please log in and change your RSVP so that someone else can attend and so you can avoid a no-show.
If you are moved from “Wait” to “Going” with less than 24 hours notice, and you receive a no-show, please let us know so we can fix that in Meetup.com’s database.
In some cases, the event organizer may choose not to enforce the RSVP Policy for a specific event. For example, a roll call may not be taken in situations of sudden extreme and dangerous weather conditions.
With each no-show, members are sent a polite email. This provides them an opportunity to provide feedback.1st No-Show – Email message sent.2nd No-Show – Email sent, no reply results in removal from the “Mailing List” (thus no longer receive new photowalk notices).3rd No-Show – Email sent, no reply likely results in removal from the group. The member is provided an opportunity to respond to the email before any action is taken. NOT RESPONDING TO THE EMAIL may be considered a lack of interest in remaining the group. I take the time to check in with you, please send a friendly reply email.
This refers to activities taken to lessen the negative impact of no-shows. HoustonPhotowalks nearly closed several years ago because no-shows caused such havoc on our ability to create great events. So we had to commit to fixing the problem for the sake of our active members.
Please RSVP. If an event is full, it is likely due to the lack of space. Having too many people in a location also attracts unwanted attention and could lead to us being asked to leave the location, or not being allowed to return. It also makes it difficult to photograph around other photographers if there are too many people.
The Meetup.com Terms Of Service are specific about crashing without RSVPing. It’s grounds for being removed from a group and/or the Meetup.com site entirely. If the location is “public”, you can attend at any time. If you show up without an RSVP on the same day/time as the group, it will be considered crashing.
This includes bringing an unexpected guest that was not reflected on the RSVP, we love friends and family, but make sure they are reflected on your RSVP.
If you are not on the “Going” list, do not attend and please make sure all guests are listed on your RSVP.
A detailed explanation can be found here. No-shows cost us money, damage our reputation with venues, and negatively effects group moral. No-shows are rude to the organizer and leave people on the Wait List.
We honestly want as many people to enjoy our events as possible, but sometimes we have to limit the number of people that attend for various reasons.
Sometimes meetups are “Closed” to new RSVPs, meaning you are not able to RSVP to the event. Sometimes meetups are “Full”, meaning the maximum number of people that can attend have RSVPed.
Often this is because we have reported the number of attendees to the venue, and cannot add more people. Sometimes this is because a venue can only hold a certain number of people, and adding more people will create issues for the location and/or photographing.
If a meetup is “Closed”, and the location is private, anyone choosing to show up anyway will be turned away and may have their membership in HPW revoked. If the location is a public space, we cannot prevent you from showing up anyway, but one of three things will happen: you will be reported to meetup for violating the “RSVP Crashing” policy, you will be marked as a “no-show”, and/or you will be removed from the group.
Here’s the thing. We have people that want to attend the photowalk you RSVPed to. So if you can’t make it, we hate that you will be missing, but do ask for you to politely change your RSVP within the 48-hours notice. This gives other people plenty of time to take your spot, and lets us be accurate when we tell the venue or restaurant how many people will be attending.
Changing an RSVP with less than 48-hours notice is automatically changed to a no-show.
Sometimes life happens. Everyone gets a flat tire or an unexpected illness. A no-show results in a friendly email to you letting you know we noticed you missing. Just reply to that email to let us know you’re still alive, simple stuff.