Wedding photographers get a registry of their own.
By Janet Alexander – Photos courtesy of Ciderr.com
The wedding industry was established decades ago for young couples who were just moving out of mom and dad’s home and needed everything, from blenders to vacuum cleaners. Well, not anymore: today’s bride and groom have come a long way since our parent’s tied the knot. Twenty-nine year old women are marrying thirty-one year old men*, and 74 percent of couples already live together prior to their big day. These statistics can mean a lot of different things for different people, but for Rich Smith, it only meant one: Ciderr.com
Created by a wedding photographer for wedding photographers, Ciderr is the first wedding registry of its kind and focuses exclusively on photo-related products. Smith is the website’s unlikely founder and Chief Operating Officer, originally working as an electrical engineer for more than ten years before realizing the confines of a cubicle didn’t suit him. When he met a husband-and-wife wedding photography team, he realized a new life for himself. “I was moved by how they capture moments,” he recalls. Smith put his engineering skills to use, taking apart his Canon 5D Mark II, teaching himself how to photograph, and has been working full-time as a wedding photographer since 2007. While his photos rapidly garnered interest from potential clients, Smith was also experiencing a recurring problem. “I’d meet with brides who were shaking in their seats to hire me but couldn’t afford me.” The idea for an online wedding photography registry came to him in December 2011, as a way for clients to hire him.
Ciderr is aimed toward photographers and videographers who, as of this writing, must be invited to sign-up to join the site. Smith decides who gets in, and the criteria by which he invites them depends on a couple of factors. He says, “One: how long they’ve had to wait for an invite; and two: how many people sign up for the website through a special link sent to pending Ciderr’s members.” The more you promote the website, the more likely you are invited to join sooner rather than later. This clever marketing ploy is essential to Ciderr’s infrastructure. Once invited, vendors create their own virtual storefronts and the website equips couples with online tools to spread the word of their registry selections in order to crowd-fund their desired photography products and services. “I turn brides into marketing agents for my business,” Smith summates. Since the site launched, the most popular registry items have been additional wedding album pages and photographers’ travel costs. Being first to market doesn’t go without some concern, but Smith tells me with certainty, “Society is ripe for this service.”
*Actual median age in the U.S.
This article was originally published in the Spring 2013 issue of Resource Magazine.