Ciderr’s December’s Member of the Month!

Meet our awesome members of the month for December.

Introducing Chad Sebring and Bob Sanchuk from Two Stick Studios!

 

Website: http://twosticksstudios.com/

We started shooting youth sports together by heading to Little League games and soccer matches all day long and passing out cards to parents. We told them to check out our website the next day where they could buy photos. It was a rough turnaround for not a lot of sales but it was a start.

 

Chad: Focus on your photography and marketing! This business comes with a ton of moving parts that can overwhelm your life. Use vendors and others to help take care of the other stuff so you can grow your business.
Bob: Fundamentals first – know your gear inside and out. There are so many surprises that could happen at a moment’s notice that using your tools should be second nature.

 

Chad: The best part is the freedom to experiment in every aspect of the job. From lighting to marketing to sales meetings, you need to find what works best for you and then capitalize on it. It sometimes feels like the Wild West, but if you’re willing to take chances and trust yourself the results can be astonishing. Plus every job is a chance to connect with someone and provide a photo that they will cherish forever. It feels like a lot of responsibility at times but how many people actually get that chance in what they do.
The worst part is the slow season. About a week after the busiest part of wedding season is over I’m ready for it to start again. I just love the energy!
Bob: The best part is no day is ever the same. We constantly meet new people, make new friends, hear their unique stories and help them to create new stories.
The worst part about any business is that it is a business. The majority of your time is not spent doing what you are passionate about, but doing all of the other parts that allow you to do what you love.

Ciderr has been a real revelation for us. It has simplified what we want to do from a business standpoint. Like a lot of photographers, we spend a lot of time adjusting our packages, taking them from a la carte to packages and back again to give clients exactly what they want while still pricing fairly for clients and for us. We know clients can get a little freaked by the cost of professional photography. We’ve all had that battle, but Ciderr allows us to present our pricing and then ease the clients’ apprehension by telling them there is help available. It’s worked perfectly. Often they sign up immediately, and we will get them registry cards that they can include int their wedding shower invitations. Voila, they are getting wedding photography as a gift and feel more comfortable ordering more products from us because they are no longer shouldering the entire cost. It’s perfect!

Customer service, customer service, customer service. When we first started we talked a lot about the vision we wanted for our business and we kept coming back to taking care of clients and treating them the way we would like to be treated. Yeah, we live in an age of big box stores, but there is a sizeable number of people that still value top-notch service. We keep that in mind in every decision. We will even go as far as telling potential clients during their first meeting with us that even if they don’t use us as their photographers, they are free to contact us at any time if they have wedding planning questions. We know how to avoid the pitfalls and we know which vendors are the best. Most are amazed that we would do that but we need to remember that wedding planning is a once-in-a-lifetime event for most couples and it can be overwhelming. Why not help them out. They remember service.

 

Chad: I already work with him. My partner in this business, Bob, is maybe the most ridiculously talented person I know. He has such a curious mind that it really helps fuel what we do. If he ever ditches me, I guess I’ll take Jerry Ghionis or Ryan Brenizer. They’re not bad either!
Bob: Haha! Chad must be trying to get out of doing some work with that answer. I have to agree with Ghionis and Brenizer. We had the great fortune to learn from them at WPPI in Atlantic City along with Vanessa Joy. Throw in Scott Robert Lim, Cliff Mautner, Jim Garner, Bambi Cantrell, Sue Bryce, Zach and Jody Gray and the list goes on and on. I’d add Rob Adams and the StillMotion crew for their cinematography knowledge. Coming from an illustration background, there are a number of illustrators, sculptors and painters who I would love to learn from as well. I think all art forms influence what I try to do.

Chad: I just love learning new things. I love playing with light and exposure and posing and angles and finding new things that I can try with my clients. Sometimes they fall flat and sometimes it’s something I can add to the arsenal, but I love trying new stuff.Bob: The chance to be creative. No one is telling us what to do. One day we’ll have a senior shoot with complete control over bringing our vision to life. One day we’ll have a wedding in which nothing goes according to plan and we are constantly thinking on our feet and improvising as we go.

Marketing is always a challenge. So much of our business is built on word of mouth, but obviously there is so much more involved. We’re trying to figure out what combination works best for us to ensure long-term growth.

Chad: I love to run. After years of what could only be described as not the healthiest lifestyle in history I went for a run to get in better shape. Now I’m, totally addicted. My four-year-old is pretty good at keeping me busy too.
Bob: Family time is the best. I’m not sure you’d call it relaxing with a 4-year-old and 19-month old, but I cherish every moment with them and my wife. Is eating a hobby? I’m a big food guy.

 

Chad: I’m not sure how crazy it is but I used to spend a lot of time following around the Grateful Dead. I’d hop from city to city during the summer – sometimes with a ticket and sometimes without one – just having a good time and meeting interesting people. The mix of people always amazed me. That band drew people from everywhere and from every different walk of life you could ever imagine.
Bob: Also, not sure how crazy this is, but it completely changed my life. I met my wife at senior week of high school in Ocean City, Maryland. We are both from northeast Pennsylvania. We lived about 10 minutes from each other our whole lives, went to competing high schools, had common friends and it took us traveling nearly 300 miles from home for us to meet!

Here’s some of the companies we rely on, aside from Ciderr, of course!
Post House –  for all of our wedding post-processing. They save us a ton of time.
Animoto – super easy to create dynamic slideshows to sell clients or use as pull through items to get them to a certain price point.
WHCC – for the best prints and service around.
Photo Flash Drive – for great custom flash drives that match our brand
StickyAlbums – the simplest way to create custom apps for your clients
Smugmug – for client galleries and print sales
Madera Books – for beautiful wedding albums
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Make More Money in 2014, Shoot Less

You know what your business is missing? Crowdfunding. It’s not just the “next big thing”… it’s already here. And your competition isn’t utilizing it.  And no one does it better than Ciderr.  It gives you the power to allow your clients family and friends to help pay for all the things they REALLY want from your business!

Our members are making a HUGE ROI with their Ciderr membership.  One of our members earned an extra $20,000 last year using Ciderr.  All just with up-selling.  And their inquiries started going up because as everyone was spreading the word about their registries, their brand recognition was spreading as well!

It’s time you joined and increased your profit for the next year as well!

This sale ends in 5 days… so take advantage of this sale NOW!

Use code “CYBER” to get 4 months FREE when choosing an annual plan!
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Technology That Changed Lives (And The Thought Of Living Without Them Now)

Scott Wyden Kivowitz of Photocrati Media was gracious enough to write a fantastic blog post about technology and how it has benefited society,

Scott is a friend, fellow photographer and advocate of ciderr.  Note, to get a free month of ciderr’s cheapest plan use code: photocrati

Enter Scott:

 

There are many technological advances that I could not imagine living with out now. In the article I’m going to talk about a few of them.

While I go through each one I want you to really think about if you could live without the specific device or software now. Could you imagine spending days on end without it…

Smart Phones

These devices do so much for us, in addition to making a phone call (they still do that?). They act as a quick note pad that you type on or speak to. They remind us when tasks should be completed and wake us up in the morning with what could sometimes be rather disturbing tones. They navigate us to the restaurant and tell us if we should wear our jackets or bring a scarf.

My smart phone tells me when I’ve been working too much and need a break and some stretching. It tells me how many calories I’ve burned during the after-dinner walk with my wife.

My smart phone is a device I would not want to live without. Could I manage? Sure! Do I want to? Nope.

Tablets

This one might be debatable but I’m bringing it up anyway because for many business people and teachers a tablet has become a true life changing device.

There was a time (and I guess some still do this) where people would hand write their notes during meetings. Now with fancy Wacom stylus’ and apps like Penultimate, Evernote, Notes and so many others, there is no reason to waste paper and ink to take notes. Heck, purchase a dictation app and let it take notes for you.

Teachers are using tablets on a daily basis. I’ve seen music teachers use it for music sheets and special needs teachers use it for helping children with autism learn new skills.

Could each of these people go with out? Sure, but why when the technology is improving the way we work and live.

I use my tablet on a daily basis to read, check email, clear my head with a video game or to catch up on funny YouTube videos. Could I live without it? Sure, I could pick up a paper book, and use my computer for the rest. But I enjoy the simplicity. I enjoy taking notes and drawing on my iPad.

Facebook

I enjoy Facebook even through their terms of service changes every time the moon shows itself. The only reason I like Facebook and wouldn’t ever want to delete my account is simple. My family and friends are there. People I do not see often are there. It’s the most efficient way for me to stay on top of what is happening in everyone’s lives without making phones calls every day. I’d be on the phone for hours instead of a few quick views of my Facebook stream.

Could businesses live without Facebook? Possibly, but half of the world is in Facebook, so should they? Probably not.

Skype

I use Skype for business and for personal things. I am in text chat sessions with my Photocrati co-workers throughout each day. Once a week we meet for an all-hands meeting through Skype’s voice call. Could we live without Skype? Sure we’d have to find a different solution. Should we live without Skype? No, it works for our needs.

Could other businesses live without Skype? Of course! Many have moved on to Google Plus because of their Hangout feature. Heck even Photocrati uses Hangouts for webinars and podcasts.

I use Skype for personal things like chatting with friends and family around the world. Imagine traveling for business or pleasure and wanting to see your children. Before Skype there was really no inexpensive way to do it. Not you can see your children for free. Why would you ever want to give that up?

Google Plus

Still kind of a newcomer in the social media world, Google Plus has a huge community of photographers and many of my friends are there. It’s a great place to be inspired, learn something new and of course Hangout through a video chat.

Like Skype, it is free and another way to communicate with those you have to or want to. The only way I would give Google Plus up is if they shut the service down like they do so many other products.

WordPress

Last, but definitely not least, is WordPress. Also a business and pleasure thing, WordPress has made the lives of so many people easier. Before it blogging wasn’t fun and there was no community to inspire and encourage blogging. Now it all exists, and someone can think of and launch a new WordPress website in minutes. (ok 5 minutes but who is counting)

Photocrati is a WordPress based company as we make a theme and plugins for photographers using the content management system. Could we survive without it? Sure, but we’d have to find a new platform to design our software for.

What about companies like Starbucks who use WordPress for their internal company websites? Or places like a YMCA who are using WordPress to drive their member checkins using an application built off on WordPress. (Matt talked about this during his 2013 State of the Word)

Could businesses do without WordPress? Sure, but it makes their lives easier so why should they?

There are also many families that blog using WordPress, so other family members can read what’s been going on and to see pictures they post. There are people who just keep an online journal of their lives, using WordPress. Could they do without? Totally… but why?

In Closing

These technologies are not all new, but so many of them have changes the world forever. I know I wouldn’t want to live without them.

I’d love to hear what technology you also wouldn’t want to live without. Please comment and let me know.

Thanks for reading,

Scott

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Feedback from Ciderr Members

Recently we asked our members for feedback on how they are using Ciderr.

This is just some of their responses (completely unedited, so forgive any typos or grammar errors):

Ben Chernivsky Chernivsky Weddings
Been really enjoying my experience with Ciderr during my first season using it.  I was introduced to it at the end of 2012 but didn’t take it too seriously.  This Spring I figured at $10 a month, why not at least sign up for it and play around with the possibility for 2014 bookings.  It took  while for me to really understand it and incorporate it into my workflow, but now it is a natural part of my sales meetings with new clients.  They know they have the option, especially if they cannot afford my larger packages, to take charge with a photography registry.  Some are not interested at all, but with others you can literally feel the relief and excitement in the room when I offer it.  I plan on focusing more on print products over the next year, so I know Ciderr will become a necessity for people who will only be able to afford my base photography prices, but who will want to invest in products that showcase their wedding after their celebration.  Long and short, Ciderr, combined with a larger vision of what you offer clients, can be an incredible way to teach clients the true value of photography from the first meeting.
Bridgette Marie Balmes Bridgette Marie Photography
I am new to using the registry but it has been a great resource to offer my brides who can not quite afford my services. There are a lot of couples that register at department stores because they “should.” The photography registry allows them to ask friends and family to make their gift something they can use that is directly related to the wedding. It is easy for them buy to a gift that the couple will have long past the life of say, a toaster. The couples that are established in their years together find it the biggest resource.
Elizabeth Cryan Elizabeth Cryan Photography
I recently started using Ciderr and couldn’t rave about it more!  It’s an incentive that I provide my clients that is super easy to setup for my clients, allows them to receive unbelievably meaningful gifts, and boosts my sales after the fact.  I highly recommend Ciderr!

Shea Wright By Shea
i’ve only had one couple use it so far, so i think i might need some tips on getting the word out… i let each couple know when i first meet them and in the first several emails that i offer a registry… i tell them how i recently got married and wish my vendors had offered something like this… that gifts towards photography and videography last way longer than the typical sheets and spatulas you might get from guests and wont end up going to goodwill one day. :) hehe.

i think the couples that seem most interested are ones that are paying for their wedding or at least photography themselves, and are usually a little older, late 20s, early 30s etc that already have the typical gifts you get to set up house…

Not a Ciderr member yet? Get a membership here: https://ciderr.com/pricing

Remember, in the month of August we are giving out a $50 wine gift card for EVERY registry created!

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