Update: The recipients of the June gear grant have been chosen and notified. Stay tuned at the end of the month for the July application post.

The purpose of this program is to generate content about photography gear that is either very common or very new and exciting - basically, to help ensure that if people are searching for answers to their questions about photographic gear, that Photography Stack Exchange shows up with relevant information. We want to make it easier for people to find answers to the questions they are interested in.

I'm currently looking for 3-6 participants in this photography gear rental reimbursement program who want to rent equipment in the month of June.

If you are interested in this program but don't think you have time in June to rent, experiment with, and write about the equipment you have in mind, please wait until a future round. I'll put up a new meta post at the end of June or beginning of July asking for applicants for the July round.

The basics:

  • For each round, I am looking for 3-6 users. The total number of participants will depend upon interest and the equipment people request. In the event that we have far more applicants than spots, participants new to this program will take precedence over those who have already received a grant. You can, however, apply to this program every month as long as you fulfill your site activity requirements for each round you are selected for.
  • General budget per person is a maximum of $400 (USD: rental + shipping, if necessary.)
  • You're responsible for adhering to the terms and conditions of the standard rental agreement of whatever retailer you choose to rent from.
  • This program is open to all users who have a reputation score of 300 and above. There are no geographic limitations other than residing in a country that PayPal serves; as long as you agree to everything listed below and have access to either a physical store or an online retailer local to you, you can enter.

The details:

  • Each user selected will rent equipment using his or her own credit card and shipping address. All equipment rentals must be pre-approved by Stack Exchange (via the form you use to enter into this program and the email you will receive from Stack Exchange confirming your participation if you are selected).

  • Each user will choose a product(s) from a physical store or online retailer of his or her choice, for a period up to three weeks, budget permitting. Stack Exchange will cover the cost of the rental, any applicable taxes, and the cost of shipping between you and the retailer (if you are renting online). We will not cover any additional insurance purchased, any damage fees or late return fees. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with and abide by the terms and conditions of the company you rent from.

  • Every rental will require a minimum amount of activity in exchange for reimbursement of rental costs. This will vary depending on the complexity of the gear and duration of the rental; for example, renting a Nikon D3 kit for a week will require a greater amount of site participation (questions asked or blog posts written) than renting a ring flash for two days will. The minimum will be asking three questions or writing one blog post, but I reserve the right to adjust these amounts. Either way, if you are selected for participation, you'll receive an email from me telling you what your minimum site requirements will be.

  • Reimbursement will be done by PayPal; you must scan and email your rental receipts to me (laura@stackexchange.com), and you will be reimbursed after the return of the rental equipment and after you have completed posting your questions and/or blog articles. Please include links to your questions and/or blog posts when you send me your receipt.(You'll need to contact rfusca or jrista for access to the Photo.SE blog.)

To sign up:

  • Fill out this form. (And make sure your email address is accurate!)

  • All users who are selected to participate in this beta round will be contacted via email by Monday, June 4, 2012 (at the latest). I'll update this post to let everyone know that the users have been selected.

This is still a fairly new program; please don't hesitate to submit your feedback at any point in the process.

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1 Answer

I won't have time in June to participate, but now that the program has been running for a few months, I was wondering if you could share details about the level of participation required in the past? One minor thing that's been holding me back from participating is the uncertainty about what kind of participation would be required in exchange for the rental, and it would be nice if I could try to figure that out from historical data (e.g. what would it cost me to rent this body and lens? What if I added an additional lens?).

Also, just from a general openness principle (to go along with the CC BY-SA 3.0 license under which our answers are shared) it would be nice to see that data.

Of course, if you think it would be a violation of the privacy of the participants, or conflict with any corporate requirements you have to deal with, I understand.

As far as format, I'd love to see it as a table with the gear, perhaps length of time, approximate value of the gear, and actual participation requirements (and maybe another column for, "I would require additional or less participation now for the same rental").

Though you really should probably get approval from the past participants before including both the gear and value, since you can probably map rented gear to users pretty easily, and I know I personally wouldn't feel terribly comfortable having a "Stack Exchange sent this much money to my PayPal account" column easily mappable to my name.

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I've been sticking around the 100 dollar mark and here are my requirements: " Write one blog post on Photography Blog Overflow AND ask three questions OR ask a total of 8 questions on Photography Stack Exchange OR write two blog posts on Photography Blog Overflow " –  rfusca May 29 '12 at 20:37
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And remember, if you sign up and decide the requirements are too much before you order the gear...then just reply back that you can't. –  rfusca May 29 '12 at 20:39
    
Its been really rewarding though. I figured out I love 85mm and hated the 70-200mm lens. –  rfusca May 29 '12 at 20:40
    
What rfusca posted is essentially the baseline - most of the rentals have been about that price range, so the requirements have been similar. For the few that have been pricier and one that was much less expensive, I adjusted based on what I thought was fair but still reasonable. –  Laura May 29 '12 at 20:47
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I haven't had anyone turn down an offer once they found out what the site requirements are, but users are definitely free to say no before the rental period begins. If anyone truly believes that the requirements are unfair (as opposed to just being too busy, etc.), I definitely want to hear that too - the more specific the feedback, the better. (So if you think the requirements I list aren't fair, propose what you think a better agreement might look like.) I don't have a set equation for figuring out the requirements - I judge them on a case by case basis. –  Laura May 29 '12 at 20:49
    
rfusca's comment is very helpful: 1/4 of the budget = 2x the minimum requirements, and 1 blog post = 3-5 questions. And I certainly wouldn't say that the requirements are unfair, I just like to know these things ahead of time (like "window shopping" on amazon or lensrentals: I can move things in or out of my cart, change rental durations, etc., and keep getting updates of what it will cost me; having that table would let me do the same thing in my head). –  drewbenn May 29 '12 at 20:59
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