Meet our SWPP stand team – Suzanne Black

We’re really luck to have Suzanne Black joining us one our stand at the Societies Convention 2017. Suzanne is an award-winning professional Scottish wedding photographer offering a bespoke client service, shooting all types of weddings from intimate elopement weddings to grand Scottish castle weddings and everything in between.

Working from her studio on the family farm in Fife, Suzanne also shoots maternity, baby and family portraits, as well as offering commercial photography.

Suzanne Black, Wedding Photographer in Scotland

Light Blue has been fantastic helping me run my business. I shoot weddings portrait and commercial work so keeping in top of all the admin is essential. I love the fact that the workflows and online forms and payment keep everything so streamlined. I spend a lot of time traveling so efficiency in my business is important to me. I can quickly import an enquiry, send them a response from my template emails or booking form and payment request with the push of the button whether sitting at my desk or on the go from the iOS app.

Suzanne Black, Wedding Photographer in Scotland Suzanne Black, Wedding Photographer in Scotland Suzanne Black, Wedding Photographer in Scotland Suzanne Black, Wedding Photographer in Scotland

Meet our SWPP stand team – Mark Ashworth

We’re delighted to have Mark joining us on our stand at the Societies 2017 trade show. Mark Ashworth has been a full time photographer for over 20 years, and prides himself on the very best in professional photography and unsurpassed customer service. His studio specialises in portrait photography for all ages and a variety of genres.

Mark is also a very accomplished wedding photographer. Covering Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Hertfordshire and also international destinations too.

LightBlue provides the answers to my questions when running my business. I love photography and I love LightBlue because it helps me to enjoy my photography while it takes care of the business. If my client needs something, if I need to check on the orders, if I need to send my accountant stuff, if I need to check availability, LightBlue is there with the information required. If you intend to run a business in photography, having this system as a backbone will ensure that you can focus on photography and gives peace of mind that you business will run smoothly.

 

Meet our SWPP stand team – Jay Emme

We’re excited to have fine art film wedding photographer Jay Emme working with us on our stand at the Societies 2017 Convention. Jay has a tremendously relaxed and fun approach to her wedding photography which you can see on her website.

Jay Emme, Relaxed Fun Wedding Photographer

I’m an international film wedding photographer, and run my business from my office at home. As soon as I saw Light Blue and met the team, it just all made sense! I’m no longer scared of finances, and no longer have a hatred of admin – I never thought that day would come. Also, once I’ve actually input my invoices ready for tax returns (oh man tax returns – NOW. SO. EASY.), I no longer have bits of paper stacked up in the corner. To-Do lists are right there on the home page, and they keep yelling at me until I actually DO them (because it’s so easy to ignore them if they’re under a stack of invoices).

The iPhone and iPad apps, are great, too. The option to carry a condensed version of my business, in my bag/pocket? Yep, I’ll take it please and thank you. Being able to use it on my iPhone and iPad is IMMENSE. Copy and paste notes and schedules for weddings days, and I’m not dealing with unprofessional bits of paper falling out my pocket.

And I love how ridonkulously fast the Light Blue Software team come back to you when you have a query. All issues (and there haven’t been many!) are resolved very quickly, with lots of help and advice along the way.

Jay Emme, Relaxed Fun Wedding Photographer

Jay Emme, Relaxed Fun Wedding Photographer Jay Emme, Relaxed Fun Wedding Photographer Jay Emme, Relaxed Fun Wedding Photographer

The Societies Convention 2017 – SWPP

There are so many excellent talks & events lined up for The Societies of Photographers 2017 Convention that we thought we’d take a little time to highlight some particularly interesting speakers.

Catherine Connor – Aspire Photography Training

The wonderful Catherine Connor of Aspire is going to be rather busy indeed at The Societies of Photographers 2017 convention as she presents seven different seminars.

Catherine’s an enthusiastic and engaging speaker and we’ve had the pleasure of hearing her share her knowledge and experience with audiences at a number of shows and conventions in the past. If you’re able to get along to (at least) one of her seminars, you’ll certainly find it worthwhile!

Damian McGillicuddy

Principal Photographer and Educator for Olympus UK – and one of the most decorated photographers in the world – Damian McGillicuddy Photography Training will be sharing his years of experience with a seminar audience at The Societies of Photographers 2017 convention.

We get to enjoy seeing Damian speak at shows throughout the year and always find them enlightening, fun and entertaining.

On Wednesday 11th, he’ll be talking abut designing a price list that helps you sell. You can read more about the seminar and book tickets here.
John Denton

We’re really looking forward to seeing John Denton Training at The Societies of Photographers convention. John’s taken a particularly interesting and meandering route into photography and has some great stories to tell!

He’s passionate about sharing his approach to working with light and models. If you can make it to one (or more) of his seminars during the convention, you’ll be sure to find it a worthwhile (and entertaining) experience!

Lisa Beaney

Lisa is one of only thirteen Adobe Certified Lightroom Experts in the country, as well as being an award winning wedding and portrait photographer. She’s delivering 4 talks during the convention:

Neil Bremner

Neil will be delivering a masterclass on building your own photography website in WordPress on Sunday 15th January.

Integrating Light Blue’s built in forms into a WordPress site is a really quick and easy process, and means that the data from your new enquiries comes straight into Light Blue without you needing to retype anything!

You can read more about the class, and book tickets, here.

Jakob Gronkjaer

On the Thursday and Sunday of The Societies of Photographers 2017 convention, Jakob Gronkjaer of Danish Apple Photography will be delivering a masterclass in studio lighting – from ‘Basic’ to ‘Advanced’ in no time. You can read more about the classes and book tickets here.

Elli Cassidy

Elli Cassidy of Mini Memories Newborn Photography will be delivering a couple of really interesting talks at The Societies of Photographers 2017 convention:

Panikos Hajistilly

Multi Award winning Photographer Panikos Hajistilly runs a successful – and beautifully equipped – home studio in North London and will be delivering a couple of talks at The Societies of Photographers 2017 convention:

Audrey Kelly

Audrey will be sharing her knowledge and experience with a couple of seminars at The Societies of Photographers2017 convention, which you might find interesting:

George Fairbairn

There’s a number of interesting classes from George Fairbairn Photographyat The Societies of Photographers 2017 convention, which you may find worthwhile:

George is known for his powerful, story telling portraits. Specialising in advertising portraiture George has had the privilege of shooting advertising campaigns as well as promotional and commercial portraits for bands, musicians, and celebrities.

Emma Joanne

Emma Joanne, principle photographer of Shotgun Photography has been shooting Weddings since 2010 and Gay Weddings since 2012, which she now specialises in.

She’ll be delivering a seminar at The Societies of Photographers 2017 convention about Gay Weddings & The Pink Pound – How to Successfully Market your Business to the Gay Community.

You can read more about the seminar and book tickets here.

Merry Christmas from the Light Blue team

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Although we’re still hard at work here in the Light Blue bunker this week (19th December), we thought we should take some time out to let you know when we’ll be available to help anyone who’s going to be busy over the Christmas and New Year period.

Whether you’re a wedding photographer who’s looking forward to dealing with all of the new enquiries that tend to come in after Christmas, or just someone who’s using Light Blue to maintain their ‘Naughty or Nice’ list, we’re here to help. We’re going to be taking a bit of a break though, so we won’t be answering emails quite as quickly as normal between Christmas and New Year.

  • We’ll be offering our normal email support hours until Friday 23 December.
  • There’ll be no email support available on the UK holidays of 26 & 27 December.
  • We’ll be offering limited email support 28-30 December.
  • There will be no email support available on the bank holiday of Monday 1 January.
  • Normal email support will resume on Tuesday 3 January.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of our customers a restful and enjoyable Christmas, and best wishes for a successful and prosperous 2016; thank you so much for choosing Light Blue.

Why you should always record enquiries in Light Blue

Because your photography business is based around shoots, a lot of Light Blue’s features are centred around shoot records, too. Whenever you receive a new enquiry, we’d recommend creating a new shoot record.

Recording enquiries manually doesn’t take a great deal of time, and to start off, you only need to record some basic information:

  • When is the shoot?
  • Who’s your client?
  • How did they hear about you? (which is vitally important when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your marketing)

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It’s all even easier if you’re using one of Light Blue’s built in forms or one of our fantastic API integrations, because all of this information simply flows into Light Blue’s Inbox.

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Following up on enquiries

Recording all of your enquiries means that you can be reminded to follow each of them up. That doesn’t have to take long, a simple email template and/or SMS message can be sent with just a few clicks and will gently push up the number of converted enquiries through the year.

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Managing the enquiries that don’t book.

Inevitably there will be enquiries that don’t come to fruition. Prospective clients may respond and let you know that they’re not going to make a booking with you, or they may simply not get back in touch with you.

Enquiries that let you know that they’re not going to book can be marked as cancelled right away. Recording a cancel reason can be helpful for reporting later.

Enquiries that have gone stale can be managed in a few ways. There’s a built in quick query in the Shoots view which will show all enquiries that don’t have any outstanding tasks associated to them – presumably by this point you’d added your enquiry workflow and have completed all of the tasks (responding to the enquiry and following it up some time later).

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You may prefer to have a task within your enquiry workflow which reminds you to mark the shoot as cancelled so many days after the enquiry date – it’s a basic way of managing it and you’ll need to remember to disregard and delete that task if the enquiry does get confirmed.

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You could create a more detailed query that shows enquiries for a specific type of shoot that you followed up a few weeks ago and still don’t have any outstanding tasks – it’s reasonable to assume that these enquiries aren’t going anywhere and can now be marked as cancelled.

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“I get a lot of enquiries, why should I bother?”

By recording all of your enquiries in Light Blue, your building up a wealth of useful information that can help to guide your future marketing decisions. Even if the enquiry doesn’t lead to a booking, it’s worth having that information so that you can measure the effectiveness of your marketing.

Using custom reports and the list view – which we talked about in this article – you can see which dates are proving most popular, when the peak times for enquiries are, you can compare this years enquiry volume with that of previous years, you can track your enquiry conversion rate and you can also see which of your marketing streams are providing the most enquiries and conversions.

The more information you have about your business, the more you can do with it and the harder you can make it work for you.

Using text messages to stay in touch with clients and cut down on missed appointments

Light Blue makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with your clients, or make sure that they turn up for their appointments because you can send text messages directly from within our desktop and mobile apps.

Text messages can be sent to individual clients, but we’ve also created tools that make it easy to send messages to a selection of clients, or send out reminders for the shoots and appointments that they’ve booked with you. Your clients’ replies can go straight to your mobile phone, and our customisable templates make it easy to set up personalised messages using our mail-merge tags.

You don’t need a subscription to our online services to send text messages from Light Blue, and text messaging credits cost as little as 7p per message. We’ve given everyone five free credits, so that you can try it out for yourself.

You can find out more about Light Blue’s text messaging features in this short video tutorial, and we’ll be presenting a webinar that goes into more detail at 13:30 on Wednesday 9 November. As with all of our webinars, we’ll be going into more detail than we can in our short video tutorials and also answering any questions that you might have about our text messaging service.

You can sign up for the webinar here.

(Text messages can’t be sent to US or Canadian phone numbers at the moment. We’re hoping to be able to let all our customers in the USA and Canada take advantage of this feature in the near future.)

Light Blue wins ‘best business app’ award at software developer conference

Light Blue is built using a variety of software development tools, and one of the most important is Xojo. Xojo allows us to produce native apps that run on macOS, Windows, and iOS, but also to share a lot of those apps’ important logic between all of those platforms. That reduces the time it takes us to develop new features, and ensures that everything works consistently no matter which platform you’re using Light Blue on.

We’re very pleased to have been awarded the ‘best business app’ prize at this year’s Xojo Developer Conference. Tom was able to accept the award in person, and we’re delighted to have won an award in such a competitive field.

Light Blue 6.1.4: an important update for Mac users

Apple released macOS Sierra last week, and by most accounts it’s a good, stable update to macOS. We’ve heard very little about incompatibilities and Light Blue is running well on it, with one potential snag.
Sierra introduces a new iCloud feature called Desktop & Documents sync. This moves the contents of your Desktop and Documents into iCloud and syncs them across all of the devices that are linked to your iCloud account. While it’s convenient for a lot of Mac users, photographers might find this a bit problematic in that if you’ve got a lot of data in these folders (big piles of RAW files all over your Desktop, anyone?) then you’ll quickly run into iCloud’s storage limits unless you upgrade to one of Apple’s more expensive iCloud plans. You can find out more about how these feature works (including some scary things that can happen while setting it up, or turning this feature off again) here.
More importantly, this new synchronisation feature has the potential to interfere with Light Blue’s own data and file syncing. Therefore, we’ve released an update that moves Light Blue’s data folder to a location that won’t be affected by this feature.
All you need to do to ensure that your copy of Light Blue 6 doesn’t run into this potential problem is to update to version 6.1.4, and we strongly recommend that you do so before upgrading your Mac to Sierra. Light Blue 6.1.4 will automatically move its data folder to a new, safer location:  ~/Library/Application Support/com.lightbluesoftware.lightblue/
This new data folder location is less convenient for anyone who wants to manually create or restore backups, but avoids any potential problems caused by this new iCloud feature.

You can update to Light Blue 6.1.4 b1 by using the ‘Check for Updates’ command, which can be found in the Light Blue menu on a Mac or in the Help menu on Windows.

Versions of Light Blue older than Light Blue 6 store their data in a different location, and aren’t affected by this new iCloud feature.

Using ShootProof with Light Blue at Boggio Studios

Earlier this year, we launched Light Blue 6.1 and were delighted to be able to introduce integration with ShootProof. ShootProof provides stylish online galleries that beautifully showcase your work, and intuitive sales tools that help you to sell your images to clients. They’re also leading the way with allowing developers like us to automatically gather information about customer orders. With this new integration, anyone who subscribes to our online services can have notifications of new ShootProof orders automatically sent through to the Inbox in Light Blue, from where you can seamlessly import them, without having to re-enter anything.

Our friends at ShootProof got together with London photographer Julia Boggio recently to talk about how both Light Blue and ShootProof are key parts of her business, and how Light Blue streamlines all of the invoicing, bookkeeping, and management processes involved in dealing with ShootProof orders.

If you’d like to find out more about Light Blue’s integration with ShootProof, Ian’s recorded a short tutorial that walks you through how to set it up and start receiving ShootProof orders in Light Blue’s Inbox.