Scheduled downtime this weekend

We’re going to be carrying out some essential maintenance to our servers over the Easter weekend, and this will cause a short amount of downtime for our online services on the morning of Sunday 1 April (and, no, this isn’t an April Fool).

Because Light Blue is desktop software that you can use offline, most of you won’t even notice that our servers will be offline for a few minutes. You’ll be able to carry on using almost all of Light Blue’s features, and any changes that you make while our servers are offline will automatically be synced up to our servers as soon as they’re up and running again. However, our online contracts, forms, and invoices will be unavailable during the downtime.

We’ll be carrying out this maintenance early on Sunday morning, and our servers should unavailable for no more than a few minutes.

2 April update: Yesterday’s maintenance work went well, but we might need another short amount of downtime this afternoon. If so, it will be less than five minutes, and usage of our online services is currently very low due to today being another public holiday. TC

Light Blue 7.0.4

We’ve just released Light Blue 7.0.4, which is a free minor update for everyone who’s using Light Blue 7. It includes the following changes:

  • Added a ‘Remove Resources From Shoots’ command to the Housekeeping menu.
  • Updated some of our French translations.
  • The ‘Mark Found Shoots As Completed’ command in the Housekeeping menu can now be used to mark enquiries as completed, as well as confirmed shoots.
  • Restored the ‘Configure Proxy Server’ command, which had gone missing from the setup wizard.
  • Increased the timeout for sending emails via Light Blue from one minute to five minutes to make sending large attachments easier if you’ve got a slow upload speed.
  • For forms that are part of a contract, we no longer display the “you need to add some linked contacts” warning message, and instead display a message that reminds you that the form is part of a contract.
  • Duplicating appointment types or email signatures wasn’t setting the name field to “Duplicate of ‘original name'”.
  • Fixed a problem where, when using a comma as a decimal separator, closing a quote or sale item that has a quantity beginning with “0” and no description could delete that item.
  • We’ve changed the way that Light Blue prints on Windows so that, if you’re not able to set your page setup margins to zero, the printed content won’t be pushed down and to the right.
  • Fixed a problem where, when you duplicate a shoot, the shoot requests wouldn’t get duplicated.

The Photography Show 2018

The Photography Show at the Birmingham NEC is the UK’s biggest photography trade show, and we’ll be there on stand A68 from Saturday 17 March through to Tuesday 20 March.

If you’d like to find out more about how Light Blue can help you to run a successful photography business, we’d be delighted to see you there. We’ll be running demos throughout the show, and coming to see us at the show is the perfect opportunity to ask us any questions you might have about how you can put Light Blue to work for your business.

Admission to The Photography Show is free for professional photographers, and the deadline for registration is Wednesday 14 March. You can register for the show by visiting its website.

Free one-to-one training at the show

We’re going to be running demos throughout the show for people who are new to Light Blue, but we love seeing existing customers so please come and say hello!

This year, we’re also offering free one-to-one training at the show. If there’s anything that we can help you with, or that you’d like to talk to us about, you can book a free 20 minute session with us so that we can give you our undivided attention.

We’re only able to offer a limited number of one-to-one sessions at such a busy show, so please make sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Light Blue 7.0.3

Light Blue 7.0.3 is out now, and is another free minor update for everyone who’s using Light Blue 7. It includes the following changes:

  • Added a ‘required’ option to form checkboxes.
  • When checkboxes are included in forms, the email that you receive now says “yes” or “no” (or the localised version of that) instead of “1” or “0”.
  • Added an option to form fields that allows you to choose whether to display the description above or below the input.
  • When accepting an online booking fee, online invoice payment, or ShootProof order, we’re now recording the details of the linked invoice in the Notes field, instead of in the Activity panel.
  • We’ve added an additional warning when you try to accept a contract that has been signed, but hasn’t had its booking fee paid yet.
  • Fixed a problem where long lines in unbranded emails sent from Light Blue could wrap beyond the apparent edge of the email.
  • Fixed a problem where text copied from an HTML editor can’t be pasted into apps that are expecting plain text.
  • Fixed a problem where the “Age” and “Age next birthday” fields weren’t working properly in the query dialog.
  • Fixed a problem where scrolling the HTML editor using the arrow keys could cause the formatting toolbar to disappear if the editor contains a very tall image.
  • Fixed a problem that could prevent our HTML viewers from loading certain types of content.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when using Light Blue’s colour picker on Windows.
  • Fixed a problem with the series labels when viewing the ‘Income, Expenditure & Profit’ option with the ‘Last 12 months’ option in the Charts section.
  • Updated the URL for our old Light Blue 1-3 data exporter utility.

Light Blue Success Stories – GWS Photography

GWS Photography keeps clients up to date with the help of Light Blue 7Grahame Smith LMPA is an award winning weddings, portrait, and dog photographer, based in Dunbar, Scotland.

After a lifelong interest in photography, and a short lived career as a trainee aircraft technician in the RAF, Grahame (assisted by his wife Allison) embarked upon the journey into professional photography in the early 1990s. And now (with the ongoing support of Allison and daughter Annie), runs the busy, and incredibly well organised GWS Photography… with a little help from Light Blue!

Having used Light Blue for several years now, it’s become an important part of our ‘always on’ workflow… and the new additions to version 7 have been brilliant for us.

We run quite a tight process for following up enquiries… and the implementation of integrated emails & texts has cut out no shows almost completely.

Using templates for emails & texts, we can keep in touch with clients right up to the last minute, without having to leave Light Blue, and having a ‘paper-trail’ of all parts of a conversation in once place, helps with keeping track of enquiries and bookings too.

So by the time we make our courtesy phone call to a client on the day before the shoot, we know they’ve been sent all the necessary information, and are fully versed in how we operate, and what will happen on the day.

Knowing that a lot of email ends up in people’s spam folders, being able to send a follow up text as part of the workflow to say that we’ve sent the requested information has become an invaluable part of the process with Light Blue 7.

Combined with the existing  features – such as integration with Shootproof – Light Blue provides a really effective business marketing, sales and planning platform.”

Click here to try Light Blue 7 free for 30 days!

Light Blue 7.0.2

We’ve been continuing to improve Light Blue 7, and we’ve just released another minor update. Light Blue 7.0.2 includes the following changes, based on the feedback that you’ve been sending us:

  • Fixed a problem on Windows where editing the content of an HTML editor, and then immediately clicking on another record, could update the wrong record.
  • Fixed a problem where viewing the Outbox with a particular combination of filters set could cause a crash.
  • When you copy and paste text in one of our HTML editors (e.g. when editing an email or email template), the formatting of the copied text is now preserved.
  • When you export a form template, it now includes the public form submitted email, submit button text, and HTML versions of the form emails.
  • Fixed a problem on Windows where printing from a computer that includes accented characters in the username could cause an error.
  • The margins for unbranded emails sent from Light Blue are now more standard.
  • If a client uses the ‘I will pay offline’ button on a contract that includes a booking form, the confirmation page that appears now includes your alternative payment information.
  • The business hours preferences menus now include 30 minute intervals.
  • Fixed a problem where, if you’re using using a localisation that includes translations of the “weddings”, “bride”, and “groom” keywords, the English versions of those words wouldn’t trigger various special features (e.g. setting the shoot title to the bride & groom’s name, selecting the bride & groom as signatories for a contract, and mail-merge tags that would include both the bride and groom’s details).
  • Linking an incoming email or text message to a record, or creating a new enquiry from it, now marks the message as read.
  • When printing or mail-merging custom field checkboxes, show their values as “yes” or “no” (or the localised value) instead of “1” or “0”.
  • Added a ‘Reply All’ button to the email dialog.
  • When trying to send or schedule an email, you’re now warned if it doesn’t have a subject line.
  • Fixed a problem where editing custom dates in the report dialog was producing database errors.
  • Fixed a problem where billing names and net amounts on a tax report could be displayed incorrectly if the report is run on a cash basis and includes sales that include items with more than one tax rate.
  • On printed templates, we’ve made your client’s VAT number & contact details part of the same chunk of text as the contact name and address. This means that they will use the same margin settings as the main address, but you might need to adjust your ‘first page top margin’ setting to accommodate the extra height.
  • Removed a rogue # on the printed version of a purchase record.
  • When creating an email from a sale or quote record, its linked shoot is now automatically included in the list of linked records. This means that the email will appear in the shoot’s Activity panel as well as that of the sale or quote.
  • When importing into a custom checkbox field, we’re now treating “1”, “true”, “yes”, and the localised value of “yes” as “1”
  • When parsing a full name into parts (e.g. when importing a contact’s full name from an API submission), we now assume that a single word name is the first name.
  • If you’re sending emails via your own outgoing mail server, we’ve now raised the maximum number of attachments to 50, and the maximum total size of the attachments to 25MB.
  • Incoming Data records (from forms and API submissions) are now handled properly when you merge or delete the record that you’ve linked it to.
  • If your ‘Prices Include Tax’ preference is set to true, display gross income, expenditure, and profit in charts. Otherwise, display net income, expenditure, and profit.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when loading the Outbox.
  • Corrected the French spelling of our “form unavailable” message.
  • Fixed a problem where Cmd-Tabbing out of Light Blue when you’re clicked into an HTML editor, and then going back to Light Blue, treated it as if the Cmd key was still held down.
  • Fixed a problem on Windows where hitting the Return key while editing a form or contract email would be treated as if you clicked the Publish button.
  • Fixed a problem where the alignment of text in an email could be ignored when you send it.
  • Added support for yyyy/mm/dd formatted dates to our API.
  • Fixed a problem where the email sent out when a client fills in a form didn’t use any custom text colour that you’d set.
  • When sending an email via your own outgoing mail server, the reply-to address is set to that email account’s email address instead of the default email address for your Light Blue client portal.
  • We’ve adjusted the padding around checkbox controls in our forms.
  • Fixed a problem where multiple paragraphs in a static text block on forms could fail to be displayed properly.
  • If you’re charging your client a booking fee as part of an online contract, and your client clicks the “I will pay offline” button, we now display your alternative payment text on the confirmation page.
  • Fixed a problem where clicking ‘Add Payment’ on a sale that’s been included in a tax report could erroneously warn you that the sale hasn’t been invoiced.
  • When you credit a sale that’s been published for online payment, you’re now asked if you’d like to remove the sale from your client portal.
  • Fixed a problem with trying to import from CSV files that contain quoted line breaks.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when using the ‘Split Day View Into One Column Per Resource’ option in the calendar.
  • Fixed any unexpected quits that have been reported to us.

Light Blue 7.0.1

We released Light Blue 7.0.1 today, which is a minor update to Light Blue 7 that tweaks a few things based on your feedback since the launch:

  • Added the shoot reference prefix field to the ‘Import Shoots and Contacts From CSV File’ dialog.
  • Improved our French translation for “Production Order”.
  • Fixed a problem where two different warnings could be displayed simultaneously in the Email preferences screen.
  • Fixed a hang that could occur when switch between shoot types that include multiple default resources.
  • Fixed a problem with saving contracts and contract templates that were longer than expected.
  • Fixed a crash that could happen when right-clicking on an empty row in the Outbox.
  • Fixed a problem with upgrading to Light Blue 7 for some customers using older versions of Light Blue.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when dragging events in the calendar Day view when multiple resources are being displayed.

Come and see Light Blue at The Societies’ trade show!

We love meeting photographers and hearing how they’re using Light Blue to grow and streamline their photography businesses, and we’re going to be doing just that at The Societies’ 2018 convention and trade show, which runs from Friday 12 January to Sunday 14 January.

If you’d like to find out more about how Light Blue can help you to run a successful photography business, we’d be delighted to see you there. We’ll be running demos throughout the day on stand K8/K9 in the King’s Suite, and coming to see us at the show is the perfect opportunity to ask us any questions you might have about how you can put Light Blue to work for your business.

Free one-to-one training at the show

We’re going to be running demos throughout the show for people who are new to Light Blue, but we love seeing existing customers so please come and say hello!

This year, we’re also offering free one-to-one training at the show. If there’s anything that we can help you with, or that you’d like to talk to us about, you can book a free 20 minute session with us so that we can give you our undivided attention.

We’re only able to offer a limited number of one-to-one sessions at such a busy show, so please make sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Unmissable masterclasses at the convention

One of the things that makes The Societies’ convention much more compelling than many other trade shows is the extensive masterclass programme that’s running alongside the show.

We’ve got acclaimed children’s photographer and Canon ambassador Helen Bartlett working with us on the Light Blue Software stand throughout the show, and she’ll be presenting a masterclass about how to find your own style of photography on the Sunday afternoon.

There’s going to be dozens of other great speakers at the convention who are already using Light Blue to run their businesses, and we’ve put together a list of some of the highlights of the programme on our blog.

Unmissable masterclasses at the SWPP 2018 convention

The Societies of Wedding & Portrait Photographers convention is one of the highlights of our calendar. We’re looking forward to talking to photographers during the extensive trade show on the Friday, Saturday & Sunday. There’s a wealth of talks and masterclasses being held during the convention, and we’ve listed a selection that we think are well worth a visit!

 

Helen Bartlett

The exceptionally talented Helen Bartlett is giving a masterclass all about Finding Your Style in Family Photography on Sunday 14th Jan from 13.00 to 15.00.

Since 2003 Helen Bartlett has built up one of the most respected family photography businesses in London. With an approach focused on natural pictures taken on location, and always in black and white, clients book her for her distinctive visual style.

In this Masterclass, Helen will discuss her approach to photography and offer guidance on finding your own vision within your family photography work. This isn’t a ‘shoot like me’ workshop, rather a look at how to improve your own work, and focus your photography to help you build your brand and improve your business.

Catherine Connor

Catherine’s going to be busy again this year. She’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!

Annie Armitage

Annie will be delivering A Beginners Guide to In Person Sales on Sunday 14th Jan. Eight years ago, Annie changed from selling online to her family clients and adopted an in person sales (IPS) model. Since then, she has seen a dramatic increase in business turnover.

Annie’s Masterclass will cover how she transitioned from online to IPS, then progressed to employing a viewing consultant, and the benefits this has brought to her business.

Julia Boggio

Julia established her photography business in 2005 and has since become one of the most well-known and respected portrait photographers in the luxury family market. With multiple awards under her photographic belt, she has looked after many notable clients from all over the world.

She’s delivering a couple of classes:

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 a number of interesting talks during the convention, which are well worth a look:

Margaret Soraya

Living in the highlands of Scotland Margaret has found a niche wedding business which is the mainstay of her business. However, she also shoots commercial images, being published regularly in Build it magazine and Homes and Interiors and Scotland on Sunday. Her landscape work of Loch ness has been recognised widely and she takes around 5 worldwide travel assignments throughout Europe and beyond.

Learn all about Margaret’s work in her two masterclasses:

Elli Cassidy

Elli Cassidy of Mini Memories Newborn Photography will be delivering a couple of really interesting talks at the convention:

Lee Broders LLM

Lee will be sharing the experience of his legal training and his perspective as a photographer to deliver a couple of vital classes that will be of benefit for any professional photographer.

Jocelyn Conway

Jocelyn’s delivering a couple of Newborn related talks, which will be of value to anyone working in (or considering working in) that photography specialism:

John Denton

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!

George Fairbairn

There’s a couple of interesting classes from George at The Societies of Photographers 2018 convention, which you may find worthwhile:

Vagelis Giotopoulos

Vagelis is going to be  exploring wedding photojournalism and explaining how he creates memorable images for his clients to treasure forever.

Robin Goodlad

Robin is a multi-faceted photographer from Dorset, specialising in documentary weddings, lifestyle portraits, pet photography and food photography. He’s delivering a couple of interesting talks:

Ross Grieve

With the strong emergence of mirrorless cameras on the market, photographers have never before had such a range of cameras to suit their needs to choose from.

Ross is going to take you through his journey from DSLR to mirrorless.

Jakob Gronkjaer

Jakob’s talk about Shooting Away from the Studio at Home and Abroad on Sunday 14th looks like it’ll be fascinating. Planning for an on location shoot can be as simple as taking your main body with a 24-70 lens with you and wearing your most charming smile… or it can be as complex as requiring a government-approved translator to explain exactly why hanging off of a 6th Century BC railing is justified ‘for the sake of the art’.

Panikos Hajistilly

Multiple award winning photographer Panikos Hajistilly runs a successful – and beautifully equipped – home studio in North London and will be delivering a few talks:

Cass Davies and Gary Hill

Cass & Gary are delivering a whole series of interesting talks relevant to portrait photographers:

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 2018 convention about The language of LGBTQ Love on Sunday 14th

Scott Johnson

Scott’s masterclass on The Art of Bride and Groom Portraits on Saturday 13th will be valuable to many photographers.

He will be giving a short Keynote on posing and lighting techniques, followed by a walk in and around the hotel to show you that amazing images can be had at ANY venue.

Audrey Kelly

Audrey will be sharing her knowledge and experience with a couple of seminars at The Societies of Photographers 2018 convention:

Damian McGillicuddy

Principal Photographer and Educator for Olympus UK – and one of the most decorated photographers in the world – Damian will be sharing his years of experience with audiences at convention.

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

Steven Neeson

Steven is a multi Award Winning Wedding & Portrait Photographer based in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. He’s delivering a couple of talks at the convention which will be valuable for wedding photographers:

Lisa North

Lisa will be Demystifying the Networking Maze on Sunday 14th. Lisa is an avid networker, belonging to several local and national groups. She also gives presentations at these meetings, welcomes new members, and has set up and run networking groups for ladies in business. Today recommendations form the backbone of her established photography business in Norfolk.

Neil Shearer

Commercial sports photographer Neil Shearer will lead an action packed day giving you the chance to shoot professional athletes in a state-of-the-art Crossfit Box. You’ll learn what’s involved in Shooting a Commercial Look Book on Thursday 11th.

Magdalena Sienicka

Magdalena will show you her recent Award Winning images featuring children and will also tell you the stories behind these images. You will discover how she works with children and how she poses them. Magdalena will also talk about how she styles each session using simple tricks without spending a fortune on props and dresses.

Paul Wilkinson

With a life-long love of photography and a passion for creating beautiful, timeless images, Paul Wilkinson has established himself at the very top of the profession as a people photographer. Paul’s masterclasses will be well with a look:

Light Blue 7

Light Blue 7 is a major upgrade to our desktop app. With improved email and text messaging features, a brand new charts section, expanded options for online forms, and a whole host of other new features and enhancements, Light Blue 7 is focused on helping you to communicate with your clients and grow your business.

Improved email options*

Subscribers can now send emails via Light Blue, and make use of great features like HTML formatting and being able to schedule emails to be sent in the future. You can also send emails directly to your Light Blue account, which makes it really easy to keep a copy of all of your clients’ correspondence linked to their records in Light Blue.

“The simple addition of letting me use our Google email account in Light Blue has simplified our response to enquiries to perfection.” – David Armour

” Emails being linked directly to shoots and contacts has made communication workflow so much more streamlined. In fact, I am blissfully unaware of all the filing and attaching that goes on in the background. This is how management software should work. It does the legwork while I get on with running the business.” – Peter Nutkins

Charts

Light Blue’s reporting features have been enhanced with a new Charts section, which allows you to generate insightful reports that help you to grow your business in just a couple of clicks.

Multiple brands for forms, contracts, and online invoices*

Your client portal can now include multiple brands, allowing you to use different formatting and branding options for your forms, contracts, online invoices, and emails.

More customisation options

Light Blue’s detail views are more customisable than ever, and you can simplify them even further to show just the information that’s relevant to your business.

And much, much more…

Behind the scenes there are thousands of tweaks and refinements to make Light Blue faster, better and more intuitive. You can read the full release notes here, and we’ve gathered together the video tutorials that cover Light Blue 7’s new features into a convenient group for you.

A free upgrade for all of our subscribers

Subscribers to Light Blue’s online services can update to Light Blue 7 by using the ‘Check For Updates’ command within the Light Blue desktop app.

If you already have a Light Blue licence, but don’t subscribe to our online services, the best way of upgrading to version 7 is to add a subscription. As well as being able to upgrade for free, subscribers have access to Light Blue’s most popular features, including our online contract signing service, forms, online invoices, and our new email features.

 

* Some of Light Blue 7’s new features require a subscription to our online services.