When it comes to client communication, the humble text message can work wonders within your photography business.
Short but mighty, an SMS message wields the power to nurture relationships, boost your reputation and showcase your professionalism. Not bad for a bit of tech first used 30 years ago by a software programmer to wish his colleague Happy Christmas.
Here we explore how embracing the text functionality within your photography business CRM can create tailored, high-touch communication between you and your clients. Building rapport and trust to keep your diary nicely busy.
Why use text messages?
Text messages go direct to your client: to the device in their hand, on their desk or next to them on the sofa. Deliverability success rates are good and, when well-written, they can feel more personal than an email.
Choose the topic and timing of your text well, and they provide an immediacy that’s more difficult to ignore than an unopened email languishing low down in an inbox. An approach that can genuinely help to strengthen relationships.
“Photographers tend to obsess about the promotional image, the set that they’re using, the props they’re using. For your clients, I don’t think the actual image matters all that much.” – Amy Knowles, Slinky Photography
Google are making a change to their APIs that requires some Light Blue users to reauthorise their access to Google Calendar.
Anyone who used a version of Light Blue older than Light Blue 8.2.7 (which came out in February 2020) to set up Google Calendar publishing needs to reauthorise it before October 2022. From 3 October 2022, anyone who hasn’t reauthorised Light Blue’s access to their Google account will probably find that Google Calendar features will stop working, including event publishing and scheduling calendar blocking.
What you need to do to keep your Google Calendar features working
Reauthorising Light Blue’s access to your Google account is essentially a case of “switch it off and then switch it back on again”, but there are a few details you need to be aware of to ensure that it carries on working as expected.
We’ve recorded a short video that shows you how to reauthorise your Google account, but if you prefer written instructions then read on!
If you’re not already using Light Blue 2022.1.2, please use the “Check For Updates” command to update to it.
Open Light Blue’s Preferences window and go to the “External Programs” section.
Under the “Google Calendar” heading, click the “Unlink Google Calendar Account” button.
After you’ve un-linked your Google account, the button changes to “Link Google Calendar Account”. Click this button.
Your default web browser will open up and you’ll be asked to log into your Google account and give Light Blue access to Google Calendar.
Once you’ve given Light Blue access to Google Calendar, your web browser will redirect you to Light Blue and the Preferences window will show that you’ve linked your account.
If you were publishing events to Google Calendar, you need to tick the “Publish to Google Calendar” checkbox to turn that on again. In the dialog that appears, you can select the calendar that you were previously using. You do not need to create a new calendar.
If you were using Google Calendar to block availability for online scheduling calendars, please check that the same calendars are still selected under the “Use Google Calendar to block online scheduling availability?” heading.
As always, please let us know if you need any help with any of this.
We’ve just released Light Blue 2022.1.2, which is a minor update that adds new features and fixes bugs reported since we launched Light Blue 2022.1. It includes the following changes:
You can now import GotPhoto orders into Light Blue as sales, using the GotPhoto orders export CSV format. You’ll find the “Import GotPhoto Orders CSV” command in the Records menu and Light Blue will offer to set up one of your shoot custom text fields to store the GotPhoto job ID and automatically link all of the orders for a particular GotPhoto job to the correct Light Blue shoot.
Added an “Open URL In Browser” button to our HTML editor’s link dialog, to allow you to test the URL.
Made the member of staff linked to a mileage claim available in the query window.
Fixed a bug where the Preferences window could show a grey bar at the top on macOS 12.
Fixed a bug that could cause the quick sale window to default to the wrong tax rate.
Fixed a bug that could show options that don’t apply to the selected type of report when changing the “basis” option.
Fixed a bug where converting a workflow message to a normal message for an appointment that’s also linked to a shoot could use the shoot’s details instead of the appointment’s details for %EventX% mail-merge tags.
Fixed a bug where Sale “next payment due date” and “next payment amount” values could be incorrect if the payment schedule due dates have been manually edited.
Fixed a bug where clicking the “Export Template” button in “Email Templates” section of Preferences window doesn’t save changes to the body of the email.
Fixed a bug where the cash basis version of the tax report can fail to show the tax amount for some individual payments.
Fixed a bug where importing sales from a CSV file and using the “Tax name” column would not save the that tax name and would instead show it as “Custom”.
Fixed a crash that could occur when editing a form that has a contact roles control that doesn’t specify any roles.
Fixed a crash that could occur when editing a quote with a percentage booking fee when using a space as your thousands separator.
These trade awards are some of the most prestigious in the photography industry and voted for by thousands of professional photographers. In this category, Light Blue was up against giants of the photography industry such as Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop, so it’s an enormous achievement for such a specialised product to win.
We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who voted for us, and to our customers for placing their trust in us to look after such an important part of their business. It’s been a tough couple of years for the professional photography industry but we’ve come through it together and we were touched by all of the feedback we had at the show from everyone that we’ve helped during the pandemic.
We’re looking forward to an exciting year ahead, building upon our recent majorupdates with exciting new features and improvements that continue to help photographers grow their businesses and streamline their admin.
Light Blue’s new online scheduling calendars allow your clients to book shoots and appointments directly into your diary. You no longer need to send messages back and forth to find the perfect time, or rely on complicated integrations with third-party tools.
We’re excited to announce launch of the latest version which is available as a free upgrade for all subscribers.
“Light Blue’s online scheduling automates another task that helps me focus on improving other aspects of my business, and makes the whole experience much more professional and seamless for my clients.” – Michael Love
Streamline enquiry management
Online scheduling simplifies the booking process for your clients whilst providing tight integration with Light Blue’s other powerful features such as contracts, forms, payments, and workflows (including automated emails and text messages), so you have all the important details together in one place.
“I can’t always reply to client’s calls and emails when they want to book me. Now they can check my availability and book without waiting for me to get back to them. It saves so much time for me and is a better experience for the client!” – Jane Jordan
Avoid double bookings
We know that you have to juggle all sorts of commitments so, as well as automatically blocking off times that clash with events in Light Blue, we’ve also made it possible to link your scheduling calendars to Google Calendar or calendar feeds that you can use to stop clients from making bookings that clash with your personal commitments.
Your availability is updated in real-time as you (and your clients!) schedule events in your diary, and it’s easy for you to set up weekly availability as well as ad-hoc availability for specific types of event.
“It’s a really good way to streamline booking in smaller sessions so you have to do very little, but from the client point of view it’s extremely efficient and straightforward. You can also set options to make sure you aren’t overwhelmed and ensure that your client has all the information they need to proceed without having to send a million emails. Plus, when you open Light Blue, everything you need is at your fingertips.” – Angela Ward-Brown
Free upgrade for subscribers
This has been a really popular feature request and something that we’ve been keen to implement for some time, so we are really pleased to have had such positive feedback from our testers and are delighted to offer this feature to our subscribers for no extra cost.
“Having CRM and scheduling in the same program saves a ton of time and money. Plus it saves all the headaches of trying to make two separate systems integrate.” – Julian Austin
Light Blue 2022.1 is a major update that introduces an online scheduling tool that allows your clients to book shoots and appointments directly into your diary. You no longer need to send messages back and forth to find the perfect time, or rely on complicated integrations with third-party tools.
Setting up our online scheduling tool is quick and easy, and you can choose which types of shoot or appointment are available online. Your availability is updated in real-time as you (and your clients!) schedule events in your diary, and it’s easy for you to set up regular availability as well as ad-hoc availability for specific types of event.
Our new online scheduling features also give you options to include a customised booking form, contract, and booking fee when a client is scheduling a shoot, making the online booking process easier than ever. It’s also tightly integrated with Light Blue’s automation tools, so the reminder emails, text messages, and tasks from your workflows help you to deliver great a great service for your clients.
Read on for a summary of the other new features and changes included in Light Blue 2022.1…
There’s a wealth of talks and masterclasses being held during the convention, with topics covering business, workflow, sales and technique. We’ve listed a selection that we think are well worth a visit!
Increasing your average sale for every session that you shoot means reaching your business goals more quickly or by relying on a smaller number of clients. Newborn photographer Mhari-Clare of Flutterby Photography shared how she’s seen a 2.4x increase in average sales from her sessions with a few simple steps.