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The Good. The Bad. The Pretty. StudioCloud {review}

Note: The links to the StudioCloud site are affiliate links meaning The Collective is paid a portion of any purchase you make at StudioCloud. This product is in use at Antisdel’s Photography studio, and this review is an accurate representation StudioCloud (good & bad).

Our path to StudioCloud.

I heard about StudioCloud several years ago while working a trade show booth at WPPI. I met the young owners of Studio Cloud, and I was very excited about the possibilities of this new studio management program. At that time, it was designed for wedding photographers, so it wasn’t ready for our size and type of business.

At spa Event 2011 in Palm Springs, Joy Vertz spoke about switching to StudioCloud, and how happy she was about its different features. I became most interested in 2 aspects of Studio Cloud:

  1. The monthly savings we would realize.
  2. StudioCloud’s ability to be used remotely.

StudioCloud at Antisdel’s

Let me simply tell you how we use StudioCloud in our studio, and why I like it.

Our studio management history.

We have used Photo One, Studio Plus and SuccessWare for different reasons over the years. We never switched from one to another because we were unhappy but based on our needs.

  • We switched to SuccessWare when the studio went Mac.
  • We switched to Studio Plus when the studio went digital (it worked with our first sales program).
  • We started out with Photo One.

Each was great for the needs we had at a particular time.

We switched to StudioCloud because it takes advantage and integrates with the newest technology.

My initial impressions of StudioCloud.

Screen shot of the StudioCloud studio management softwareWe made the jump to StudioCloud when our server went down in the Spring of 2011. We were literally up and running the next day. I input the products in my spare time over the next week and our client list the week after that.

The transition has been seamless, and I’ve found it to be very visual and intuitive. I like how it thinks.

Both new and old employees use it without me teaching anyone how to use it. They’ve figured it out all on their own. Not having to teach others how to use StudioCloud is the biggest endorsement you can give a program.

I recently prepared to run my end of the year reports, and I realized I should have done a few things differently to get the reports how I wanted them. I simply went into my sessions, made the changes which all were retroactive on all the previous sessions and my reports came out beautifully.

I can’t wait to run reports, input birthdays and anniversaries and start sending out postcards and running credit cards through the program.

What I love about StudioCloud.

  1. I LOVE being able to use it remotely. I can use StudioCloud from home, my phone, or any computer anywhere in the studio.
  2. I LOVE the price. You can start out with a free account if you only need one user and don’t need the other features. We have upgraded, and we pay less than half of what we paid with our last system.
  3. I LOVE the tech support. StudioCloud responds very quickly and with support tickets, so I can see where I am in the process.

Here are a few other things I really like about Studio Cloud:

  • The overview front page with the 7 day forecast and current weather, the day’s agenda and project management all in one spot.
  • The easy search engine for clients, and all the different ways I can view my client list.
  • The line that follows the current time on the calendar. This lets you know what you’ve already done, and where you are in the day.
  • How easy it was for me to change all of my session and appointment colors. I am a visual person, so when I look at the calendar I want to know what the day is made up of just by what color the blocks are.

What could be better about Studio Cloud.

There are 2 drawbacks to StudioCloud I have found.

  1. The red button at the left of the studio cloud window closes the program entirely – not just the window. I’ve closed the program many times by clicking that button. Luckily it does reopen quickly.
  2. If the program is accidentally closed employees are timed out, so they must time back in when they reopen the program.

All images courtesy of StudioCloud.

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  • http://davidquisenberry.com David Quisenberry

    I contemplated changing from Successware to SC at the beginning of the new year. Since I lease vs own Successware, I do not have any way to get previous years metric data out once I switch short of saving all my sales into one big pdf. Inability to get stuff out of Successware is my biggest gripe.

    As an experiment, I tried bringing in all my clients and relations into SC. With 1000 clients and relations, it will/would be a nightmare having to go thru them one by one to establish relationships and hide those who are not direct clients.

    How was your conversion? Im running out of time to decide!

  • http://www.photo-collective.com Andy Bondurant

    David -

    I talked with Kia about this, and here is her response (in a nutshell):

    1. They leased SW too, so they were in the same boat. In hind site a big mistake considering what they could have saved over the years.
    2. When their server went down, they realized that their back-up system wasn’t working. So they lost EVERYTHING before May 2011.
    3. She did have her client list in SW that she exported from SW and imported into SC. It was only the basic info (did not include past sales, etc).
    4. The transfer of info was super fast on the SC side.
    5. The customer service was not only good, but fast when working with SC.
    6. She hasn’t gone back through her list to clean it up, but it’s on her to-do list.
    7. She is very happy and relieved to make the switch. There is a comfort for her that her information is backed-up online AND she can always get the info out in any form she wants.
    8. She suggested talking with Joy Vertz about it if you have more questions. Joy probably knows/understands a little more on the technical side of things. Joy was also a big influence on Kia making the switch.

    I hope that answers your questions/concerns.

  • Judith

    Andy this is just what I needed to make my decision, thank you and I hope all is well with you and your family.

    • http://www.photo-collective.com/ Andy Bondurant

      Judith – thanks…Kia still really appreciates StudioCloud. I think it will be a good option for your studio.

      Blessings!

  • Ben

    Do you have anything more to say about the iPhone app?  The reviews at the App Store are very bad and I really need this feature.

    • http://www.photo-collective.com/ Andy Bondurant

      Ben –
      I’ll ask Kia’s thoughts in more detail, but I haven’t heard her complain specifically about anything connected to the app.

      She seems to appreciate it…

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenniferdworek Jennifer Giangiuli Dworek

    I have been using Studio Cloud from day one and wouldn’t switch for anything. It’s always growing and updating and the guys at SC take suggestions and implement things overnight. I’m glad to see others using this fine product!

    • http://www.photo-collective.com/ Andy Bondurant

      No complaints from SC other than what I’ve written earlier. Highly recommend them!

  • deshelia

    I’m a current ShootQ user and have been reviewing StudioCloud and Successware to decided on which to transition to for 2013. I felt StudioCloud would be the best choice and based on this article, I feel most confident with my decision to switch. Thanks for sharing this insight. Much appreciated.

    • http://www.photo-collective.com/ Andy Bondurant

      You are welcome. Let em know how your switch goes. I’ve never used ShootQ, so I have no way to compare. Good luck!

  • david

    Why did you chose to abandon Successware? Studio Cloud miss a lot of Successware functionality? Asking because I am considering Successware.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenniferdworek Jennifer Giangiuli Dworek

    How to do integrate Studio Cloud with ProSelect?

    • http://www.photo-collective.com/ Andy Bondurant

      Jennifer – at this point we have not integrated the two. I imagine it will happen later this year. More when we are comfortable with it…

      • http://twitter.com/JimmysPhoto Jimmy’s Photography

        Its quite easy: http://app1.studiocloud.com/support/index.php?/article/AA-00453/0/

        Sounds step-intensive and complicated, but once you set up your default folders to export/import the file, its really quick. I have a love/hate relationship with SC as well with much more to love than to hate and I wish their training videos were better!

  • JF

    I don’t even want to put one star! This program is the most unfinished, glitchiest program I have ever used. This “award winning” business management software is a complete flop! The service is brutal! It’s like one person works there and replies to your questions 48-72 hrs later. They are totally understaffed and not only that- the FUNDEMENTALS of a program like this arent even complete and ready to use. WTF?????!!!!! Here are some examples of what I’m referring to.
    1. I enter a client name and then it’s nowhere to be found in the system. Shall I go on?
    Their answer is- oh so and so- that just got fixed in the next update.
    2. I put something in the calender from 1-9pm. It saves and shows 1-1:30pm.
    3. I set a pipeline to a project, then it doesnt show up… what a joke!
    They want me to write recommendations every single time (every day) when something just makes no sense on their program to improve it… F! Pay me a consulting fee for the love of GD!
    What a joke of a place! Yeah, my spelling is crap here but they dont deserve the respect!

    • http://www.photo-collective.com/ Andy Bondurant

      Wow. So tell me how you really feel ;) So, what program are you using for database? Have you found one that does work? Thanks for your response.

  • VRD

    I enjoyed your review and am now using StudioCloud. I have tried loads of CRM/PM options and this one is the nearest to what I would have if I wrote my own. Which I can’t do, hence the trawl through the internet to find one.

    It does have some drawbacks, the calendar does not have a recurring event option yet! But overall it seems pretty good and not too tricky to learn.

    Thanks for your article :)

    • http://www.photo-collective.com/ Andy Bondurant

      Yes. Nothing will be perfect, but can you find one closest to your needs. Glad it is working for you – it still works for us. You are welcome, and come back around again…

  • McRobie Studios

    I can’t tell enough how bad SuccessWare really is… we brought it back in 2008 and were told by the SW tech support, people New Zealand were using it and when we ask for a list of people we were stone-walled… I’ll list a few things about how bad it really is – the server needs to be restarted every 48 hours, we talk to a few tech people over here. They basically said if software needs to be restarted so offen it most likely sh*t… wish we were told this before buy the stuff. Its crashes far to much to be useful. Two people can not access the same client at the same time…. I can be here all day. Please stay away from the SuccessWare! Oh one more thing they don’t even have a Facebook page because all they would get is abusive comments!

    • http://www.photo-collective.com/ Andy Bondurant

      So what have you switched to in place of SW? Are you happy with it?

      • McRobie Studios

        Hi Andy

        We haven’t yet… but we need to change to Studio Cloud we believe it would be a step in the right direction. In our view SW needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, this software might get good for the single user that has time to enter in data but we are a studio that employs more than one staff member and we found ourselves spending more time entering data into SW than actually spending time with clients. Many thanks

        • http://www.photo-collective.com/ Andy Bondurant

          I can’t comment much on SW, but I do think Studio Cloud is a step in the right direction. Good luck with your changes!

  • Hoping

    I’m sorry to the folk at Studiocloud because I am really trying my best to love this software but I keep finding glitches. Some are minor like if I pull down a scroll bar in certain screens and it doesn’t stay pulled down, it jumps back to the top of the screen. Others are major, I just entered my January data and one payment refused to show as business income no matter how many ways I entered it. I finally synced the program (which seems to have a glitch with all my split expenses), shut it down, re-opened it, found the check, marked it as business income, clicked refresh (which why do I have to do that, shouldn’t the program refresh by default?) and it finally showed up. So I moved to the next check that wasn’t coming up as income and same issue but now no refresh button. Those are just two things I’ve found. As stated at the outset I am trying hard to love this because in theory it is exactly what I want. FREE (always great) PC based, cloud backed up, syncable across devices, CRM, Estimating to Invoicing, basic bookkeeping, etc. However, the basics have to be right before this software is really usable and it seems like this has been out long enough for more of this to be right. I will continue to putter with it but I fear all this work will be in vain because I will have to switch to another option.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=663115664 Głyññ Bêrłâñd

      Thank your lucky stars you don’t have SuccessWare!

    • http://www.photo-collective.com/ Andy Bondurant

      Curious if you’ve found an alternative you like better? I’ve gotten a couple of comments loving or hating certain products, but rarely has anyone found a better alternative. Not sure what that means other than keep searching…

  • Lorie-Lyn

    I have found the StudioCloud doesn’t give the best flexibility for printed invoice look. It looks very out of date. I’d love to hear though of how to best customize this.

  • yesa

    nice article.. I enjoyed reading it.. :)

    Texas Hunting and Fishing Trips

  • Joey Bordelon

    How does this software compare to others such as ShootQ, Tave, SimplyStudio? Those seem to be some major players along with SC. Most of them are completely cloud based as well. Why does SC not go to a web app? What are some advantages and disadvantages of these different programs? Thanks in advance to any users or admins who respond back.

  • davidmedinaphotography

    I have tried and used them all. None is perfect. You just need to determine what you need to do and choose the one that fits. Successware has features that no one else has that does help you run your business better. But it lacks others like inline booking or real automated invoicing. For a studio that specialize in destination wedding both are a must. In my opinion, SW is more geared toward portrait studio. But it all comes to how you want to work. I used ShootQ since the early days and three years ago I switched to Tave. ShootQ hasn’t improved since Pictage bought it. Right now Tave is in my opinion the best, most solid and progressive online booking system out there. But like I said, you need to do just like Andy and Kia did, they sat down, evaluated their needs and our many imperfect solutions chose that they felt work best for them. That will be what is best for you.

    What would be interesting is a new review by Andy re evaluating their decision hindsight.

  • AL

    Has anyone tried Simply Studio? I am trying to find reviews on it, but am having a hard time. I would love to find an all inclusive for financial and client management. Thanks!