Featured

Light Blue and the GDPR

You’ve almost certainly heard about the EU’s new data protection and privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR requires businesses to follow strict guidelines when they’re using personal data. It comes into effect on 25 May, and affects all businesses in the EU. It also applies to businesses in other countries outside the EU that have any dealings with EU citizens.

We’ve made sure that Light Blue Software is ready for the GDPR, but we’ve done much more than simply making sure that we comply with the new regulations. We’ve also been hard at work adding new tools to Light Blue that help you to ensure that your business complies with the GDPR, and we’ve been working with legal and security experts to provide you with advice that can help you to do that.

Light Blue 7.1

Light Blue 7.1 is out today, and it includes several new tools that can help you to comply with the GDPR. Light Blue 7.1 is a free update for everyone who subscribes to our online services, or is already using Light Blue 7. You can find out more about the changes in the Light Blue 7.1 release notes.

Light Blue 7.1 also includes an updated licence agreement. The GDPR requires data controllers (i.e. you) to have a contract with their data processors (i.e. us, if you’re using our online services), and agreeing to this updated licence agreement forms that contract.

Helping you to understand the GDPR

You can find out more about the GDPR, how it affects your business, and how it affects your use of Light Blue in the FAQ that we have created.

Ensuring the security of your clients’ personal data is an important part of the GDPR, so we’ve also provided advice on securing the devices you use Light Blue on.

Updated legal information

As part of the changes that we’ve made to ensure that Light Blue Software complies with the GDPR, we’ve updated our privacy notice and the Light Blue licence agreement. This updated licence agreement is part of Light Blue 7.1, and agreeing to it covers the GDPR’s requirement for data controllers to have a contract with their data processors.

 

Sending text messages with Light Blue

Light Blue allows you to send text messages to your clients, which is great for appointment reminders and marketing.

There are two different ways of sending text messages from Light Blue:

  • Via our dedicated number service, which is available in most countries.
  • Or, if you’re based in the UK, Ireland, or Australia, you can send messages that appear to come from your personal mobile number or a short name.

Dedicated number service

With our dedicated number service, you rent a phone number from us. The text messages that you send from Light Blue come from this number, and any replies that your clients send will appear in the Inbox in Light Blue.

We can also forward clients’ replies to your personal phone number if you want to know about replies as soon as they arrive. This will cost you credits, because we’re effectively sending the message out again.

If someone tries to call your dedicated number, they’ll get an automated message saying that it can’t take calls. We can customise the message for you: just tell us what you’d like it to say.

This service is available in most countries. Renting a dedicated number from us costs £5 per month, and text message credits 7p each for UK numbers (please contact us for international pricing).

If you would like us to set up our dedicated number service for you, please get in touch via email!

Sending text messages that appear to come from you

Customers in the UK, Ireland, and Australia can use a version of our text messaging service where messages sent from Light Blue will appear to come from either your personal phone number or a short name.

This service can work in some other countries, but the local phone companies might change the number that the message appears to come from.

There is no monthly fee for using this version of our text messaging service, and text message credits cost between 7p and 9p depending on the quantity that you buy.

Using a “from name”

If you’re using a From Name, text messages appear from a name that can be up to 11 letters and numbers without spaces. Your customers can’t reply to those messages, because SMS only allows you to reply to a phone number. This is useful when you want to display your business name as the sender and don’t want/need to receive replies.

Using a “from number”

If you’ve set a “from number”, text messages appear to be sent from your own mobile phone number. Replies will go to your own mobile phone number just like any other text message, but replies from your clients aren’t imported into Light Blue (you need to use the dedicated number service in order for your clients’ replies to arrive in Light Blue).

How to send text messages from Light Blue

There’s a short tutorial showing how to send text messages from Light Blue, here:

You can set up text messaging from Light Blue via  your account page:

Set up text messaging with your Light Blue account

Light Blue 7.1.2

We’ve released Light Blue 7.1.2, which is another free update to everyone who subscribes to our online services or has bought Light Blue 7.

Like all of our minor updates, Light Blue 7.1.2 includes a variety of feature updates and bug fixes. We’ve also added a bigger feature that will help photographers who are keen to keep clients on their mailing list while making sure that they’re complying with the new GDPR regulations.

New Mailing List Opt-In Form

You can now send your clients to a special form that allows them to opt in to your mailing list. Each of your contact records has a special URL that identifies them, and you can get that URL in two different ways:

  • If you want to send mailing list opt-in links to lots of clients, you can export a CSV file of contact names, email addresses, and URLs from Light Blue. You can then import this spreadsheet into a service like MailChimp to email it to your clients. To do this, find the contacts or shoots that you want to send this to, go into the Housekeeping section of the Records menu and use the ‘Ask Clients To Opt-In To Mailing List’ command.
  • If you only want to send mailing list opt-in links to a small number of clients, you can use the %ContactMailingListOptInURL% mail-merge tag in an email template. If you want to customise the text of the link in your email templates, you can do so be using a tag like %ContactMailingListOptInURL:Click here to open the form%. We’ve included a sample email template in this update.

Your client portal branding is automatically applied to your mailing list opt-in form, and can customise the text that appears on the form by logging into your account on our website.

You can find out more about this feature in our blog post that explains how to use it.

Other changes

  • You can now customise more of the text that appears in your client portal when clients are signing contracts. You’ll find these customisable text options in the ‘Template Translations’ section of the Preferences window.
  • The following Sale reference values are now available in the query dialog, list views, and data exports: purchase order references, shopping cart references, courier references, client job number references, and quote references.
  • Added support for reading the original sender details from emails forwarded from Outlook for macOS to your unique Light Blue email address.
  • When you’re running a tax report, you now need to confirm that you want to mark the included records as claimed.
  • Added an option to use the shoot reference as the default prefix when you’re importing pictures for a shoot.
  • When creating a Sale record from a Quote, you’re now warned if the booking fee is greater than the quote’s total.
  • Added a “Email & Client Portal Branding” heading to the ‘Printing’ section of the Preferences window. This is to make it bit clearer where you need to go to adjust those branding settings.
  • Revised the wording of the “database upgrade required” dialog to make it less intimidating.
  • Fixed a rare problem where publishing an appointment to macOS calendars could make it appear at 12:00 instead of the correct time.
  • Fixed a problem on Windows where the email templates panel could end up with its scrollbar set to the wrong position.
  • Fixed a problem where clicking the “Save and add another” button in a form field dialog could fail to add the new item.
  • When you’re composing an email, the subject field is now always saved before you click the ‘Send’ or ‘Schedule’ button so you won’t see warning about having a blank subject. (unless you really do have a blank subject, of course!)
  • When changing a form field from a type that includes a ‘Description’ option to one that doesn’t, the description is now removed properly.
  • Fixed a problem that could affect rounding numbers to zero.
  • The quick sale dialog now works with European decimal separators.
  • The ‘add workflow’ dialog no longer gets stuck if you try to add a workflow based on a really old date.
  • Fixed unexpected quits that have been reported to us.

Importing Light Blue contract templates issued by third parties

Light Blue’s online contract signing service is one of the most popular features of our online services. It’s really easy to publish contracts for your clients to sign quickly. You need to set up at least one contract template which contains your terms and conditions in order to send contracts to your clients.

We don’t provide any sample contract templates with Light Blue, so you’ll either need to create your own,  copy and paste the text from a contract that you already have in perhaps PDF or Word format, or obtain a contract template from a reputable third party.

Only you can know if a contracts wording is right for you, so if you’re in any doubt then talk to a lawyer.

Creating your own contract template

You can create your own contract template within Light Blue by adding your own terms or copying and pasting the text from a contract that you already have. This tutorial walks through the steps of how to do that.

Adding a Light Blue contract template from a third party

Some third parties have created templates that can be imported directly into Light Blue, without needing to copy & paste any wording. There’s a short video tutorial, followed by some step by step instructions on how to import that template, below:

If you’ve obtained a contract template that’s been provided in Light Blue’s contract template format, it’ll be given to you as an XML file.

To import that into Light Blue (you need to be using Light Blue 7.1 or later), click Records > Import > Contract Template, and choose the XML file.

If the contract template also includes an accompanying form template, you’ll be prompted to choose whether or not to import the form, too. You most likely do want to import the accompanying form.

When that’s done, the contract template & form template (if you imported one) will appear in the preferences pane and will be ready to use.

Finding and deleting old personal data from Light Blue

One of the tools that we added in Light Blue 7.1 is a housekeeping command that makes it easier to find old records that you might want to delete from Light Blue. For example, if the introduction of the GDPR means that you no longer want to keep any personal information about your clients any longer than you need to, this tool will help you to find records that can be deleted.

To use this tool, go into the Housekeeping section of the Records menu and select “Find Old Records…”. You’ll be presented with the following dialog:

Let’s go through the options and explain what they do.

Search for records older than…

The first option in this dialog allows you to pick how old records need to be before this tool will find them. You just need to pick how far back in time you want to go.

For example, if you decide to delete all records that are more than 6 years old because that’s the period of time you’re required to keep financial records, you can select “6 years old” from the menu.

Record types

Next, you need to select which types of record you want to find. For Shoots, Quotes, Sales, Purchases, and Payments these options are really simple: all records with a date older than your chosen number of years will be found.

Contacts

Searching for contacts requires a few more decisions, because you might consider a contact “old” if you haven’t done a shoot for them recently, or you might only consider them “old” if you haven’t heard from them at all recently.

If you’re using this tool to search for old contacts, you need to tell Light Blue which types of record that can be linked to a contact to take into account. In the screenshot above, I’m searching for anyone who hasn’t had a Shoot, Quote, Sale, Purchase, Payment, or Appointment in the last 6 years. i.e. I’m not counting people that I’ve sent emails, etc, to as being “recent” unless they’ve actually enquired about a shoot, placed an order, etc, during that time.

Filtering out tags

The final option uses Light Blue’s tagging system to filter out records from these results. For example, you could tag any shoots that have given you permission to use their images for marketing and then use that tag to make sure that you keep those records in Light Blue.

Checking your results

When you click the ‘Find Records’ button, Light Blue will find all of the old records that match your criteria. Before you delete those records, it’s important that you check them carefully! If you want to exclude a record from the found set, use the “Omit Record” command from the Records menu to hide it from the selection.

When you’re ready to delete the found records, use the “Move Found Records To The Trash…” command from the Records menu.

Asking your clients to opt into your mailing list

New Mailing List Opt-In Form

With Light Blue 7.1.2, you can now send your clients to a special form that allows them to opt in to your mailing list. Each of your contact records has a special URL that identifies them, and you can get that URL in two different ways:

  1. If you only want to send mailing list opt-in links to a small number of clients, you can use the %ContactMailingListOptInURL% mail-merge tag in an email template.
  2. If you want to send mailing list opt-in links to lots of clients, you can export a CSV file of contact names, email addresses, and URLs from Light Blue. You can then import this spreadsheet into a service like MailChimp to email it to your clients.

Your client portal branding is automatically applied to your mailing list opt-in form, and can customise the text that appears on the form by logging into your account on our website.

Read on to learn how to use either of those methods of sending a mailing list opt-in form to your clients!

Using Light Blue

If you want to email a small number of contacts, you could send an email to your clients using an email template.

After you’ve queried for the records that you’re interested in, either by using the Query dialog or one of your Quick Queries, then you could send an email to all of those contacts based on a template that you’ve already set up.

There’s a short tutorial covering how to create your own email templates here.

You’ll need to include the %ContactMailingListOptInURL% mail-merge tag in your email template, so that each contact receives their own unique link to the special opt-in page.

It’s a good idea to try sending  a test message to yourself first, to make sure that you’re happy with how everything appears & works, before sending it out to your customers.

We’d discourage you from using this approach to send more than a small number of emails, because you can run the risk of your mail host temporarily suspending your account for sending too much mail or marking your address as a producer of spam.

Using MailChimp

If you have a larger group of clients you’d like to invite to opt into your mailing list, we’d recommend using a service like MailChimp.

MailChimp is great for sending big mail-outs to lots of contacts. You can personalise those messages to include information that’s unique to each person, too. That means that you can include the unique URL that identifies each client in the email to that person.

In order to do that, you need to add a list of contacts to MailChimp.

1. Exporting a spreadsheet of contacts, including their unique opt-in URLs

The first step is to export your contacts’ names, email addresses, and the unique URLs that they can use to opt into your mailing list. You should use the Query dialog or one of your Quick Queries to find the contacts that you want to include in this mailing, and then go into the Housekeeping section of the Records menu and select ‘Ask Contacts To Opt-In To Mailing List’.

Light Blue will give you a preview of the contacts who will be included. You can remove contacts by selecting them and clicking the ‘Remove From List’ button. When you click the ‘Export’ button, Light Blue will export a CSV file that you can import into MailChimp.

2. Creating a special “List” in MailChimp

Log in to your MailChimp account and then, in the Lists section, click ‘Create List’.


Give the list a name and complete the other required information, then save the list. You don’t need to include the “Enable double opt-in” or “Enable GDPR fields” options for this list: the purpose of messaging contacts on the list is to ask them to complete their unique opt-in form which will update Light Blue.

3. Adding a special field to the list for the unique URL

Once you’ve created the list, we need to set up a special list field to store the unique opt-in form URL. In the Settings menu, click on “List fields and *|MERGE|* tags”:


Click the “Add A Field” button at the bottom:

Choose Website as the type:

Give the field a name & tag name (e.g. “Light Blue Opt-In” and “LBOPTIN”) then save your changes:

4. Importing the contacts from Light Blue into the MailChimp list

You’re now ready to import the CSV of contacts from Light Blue into MailChimp. To do that, click Add Contacts > Import Contacts:

Choose CSV or tab-delimited text file and click Next:

Choose the file that you exported from Light Blue. Now you can map the columns in the CSV file to the relevant MailChimp fields.
Light Blue’s CSV file includes a full name field, which isn’t relevant to MailChimp, so you can click “skip” so MailChimp ignores it:


When you get to the unique Opt-In Form URL column, choose to map that to the “Light Blue Opt In” field that you created earlier:

Click Save, then click Next.
Categorise the imported contacts as “subscribed” so that we can send the email to them:

When you click Import, MailChimp will import the contents of the CSV.

5. Creating & sending the email message

You can now create your email message which will be addressed to the contacts in this list by creating a new email campaign. To do that, return to your MailChimp account home screen and click the “Create Campaign” button.

Choose to “create an email” and give the campaign a name (e.g. “Opt in mailout”). In the To field, click “Add Recipients”, then choose the list you created earlier:


Enter relevant “from” & “subject” fields, then click on the “Design Email” button to design the content of your message.

Choose a layout format that you want to work with and start to compose your email message. Click on the text of your email, choose to edit the text block.

You can now customise the text of the email so that it can include the unique URL. To do that, click on the “Merge Tags” button and choose the “Light Blue Opt In” tag that you created earlier:

Once you’re done, click “Save & Close”. You can send a test message to preview how the email looks. When you’re ready, click the “Send” button to send the email to all of the contacts that you imported.

Customising your mailing list opt-in form

Your client portal branding is automatically applied to your mailing list opt-in form, and can customise the text that appears on the form by logging into your account on our website.

The customisation options for your opt-in form include:

  • Whether or not you want to receive a notification email whenever a client opts in or out of your mailing list via this form.
  • The heading and text that appears on the form.
  • The text of the buttons on the form.
  • The headings and text that appears on the pages that are displayed when a client opts in or out.

 

GDPR: what you need to know

We take the security of your personal data, and your clients’ personal data, seriously. That’s why we’ve been working hard to prepare this document for you to help you prepare for upcoming changes in privacy law, when the GDPR comes into force on 25 May.

If you’re already complying with the current data protection laws in the UK (the Data Protection Act), it’s likely that you’ll only need to make a few changes to ensure you’re complying with the new law.

We’ve had a number of questions from photographers in relation to the GDPR, and so we hope this FAQ is helpful to explain how your use of Light Blue affects your responsibilities under the GDPR.

What’s changing?

The law dealing with the way in which people handle personal data for commercial purposes is changing. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on 25 May 2018 and you need to be ready to comply with the new rules from that date.

What does the GDPR do?

The GDPR is designed to ensure that people are transparent in their processing activities and when they communicate with data subjects (i.e. your clients).

Does the GDPR apply to me?

Yes, it’s likely that it will apply to you (and most other businesses in the UK and EU).

Data protection laws apply to people who, for commercial purposes, handle ‘personal data’ – which means any information that can identify a living person. By managing your clients, enquiries and bookings, you are handling their ‘personal data’.

Is Light Blue Software GDPR-ready?

Yes. We’ve taken various steps to ensure that we’re ready and compliant. For example, we’ve updated the privacy notice on our website and updated the Light Blue licence agreement to cover the new regulations.

If Light Blue Software are ready and GDPR compliant, why do I need to do anything?

The GDPR distinguishes between the roles of a data processor and a data controller. Light Blue Software is a worked solution used by you to provide a service to your clients. Where Light Blue Software receives information about your clients (e.g. name, address, a photo), Light Blue Software is just a data processor acting on your behalf. You are the data controller. That means the primary responsibility of the GDPR rests with you in relation to your client. However, Light Blue Software has taken steps to help you comply with the GDPR: for example, by adding new GDPR clauses to our licence agreement with you which deals with our processing of your clients’ data.

Light Blue Software will be the data controller in respect of the information we hold about you (our customers) for billing, management, and administration. For more information about how we collect and use your personal data, see our privacy notice.

So what do I need to do?

In relation to your use of Light Blue, you need to be clear and transparent about your use of a third party processor.

Do I need to tell my clients about Light Blue?

Yes, transparency is key under the GDPR. You must inform your clients about the collection and use of their personal data.

What’s the best way to inform my clients that I use Light Blue?

You can update your website privacy notice. Under the GDPR, you’re only required to say that you’re using an externally hosted third party to enable you to provide your service, rather than name Light Blue specifically.

As an example, you could add some wording like this to your website privacy notice: “[Your business name] uses an externally hosted third party to manage and administer your account.”

Will I need consent from my clients to enter their details into Light Blue?

Some aspects of the GDPR are unclear at the moment, but we’ve been working with legal experts and they don’t expect you to need consent from your clients to manage their personal details with Light Blue. Another legal basis for processing (that’s likely to apply here) is that it’s in the legitimate interest of your clients for the administration of their account.

You’ll need to ensure this legal basis is noted in your website privacy policy.

How long can I retain my clients’ data in Light Blue?

Under the GDPR, personal data shall be “kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed”. This means that you can retain your clients’ information whilst you provide the services to them, plus a reasonable period after that.

As part of Light Blue 7.1, we’ve introduced a new tool that can help you to identify personal information that you no longer need to keep so that you can securely delete it. You can find out more about this tool (and the other new features that we’ve added to Light Blue to help you comply with GDPR) in the Light Blue 7.1 release notes.

Will my clients’ personal data be kept secure by Light Blue?

Yes. We take extensive precautions to secure every aspect of Light Blue’s online services, including (but not limited to): encrypting all communications between the Light Blue desktop and mobile apps and our servers; encrypting data at rest on our servers; securing our servers according to industry best practices.

Because Light Blue stores a copy of your data on the devices that you use it on so that you can use it when you don’t have an internet connection, you should take precautions to ensure that no-one has unauthorised access to your own copies of Light Blue. We’ve provided some helpful tips for securing your copies of Light Blue on our blog.

Where does Light Blue Software store my clients’ personal data?

If you’re using our online services, we store a copy of the current version of your data on our servers. Our servers are located in the EU, and we ensure that the providers that we use are compliant with the GDPR.

This is not a substitute for legal advice. You are responsible for your own compliance with data protection laws. This is guidance only and is based on normal use of Light Blue Software products. You’ll need to seek your own advice.

GDPR: advice on securing the devices you use Light Blue on

The introduction of GDPR is a good opportunity to make sure that you’re following best practices when it comes to securing the data that you use to run your business.

Light Blue Software takes extensive precautions to secure every aspect of the online services that we offer, but because Light Blue stores a copy of your data on each of the devices you’ve installed it on (which allows you to use it even if you don’t have a fast internet connection, or are completely offline, and even allows you to use some of Light Blue’s features even if you don’t want to subscribe to our online services) you should also take steps to ensure the security of those devices.

There’s always a tradeoff between convenience and security, but we’ve put together a list of security measures that you should consider. It’s your responsibility to secure your clients’ personal data, but this should give you a starting point if you haven’t already put your own data security policies in place.

Password protect your computers

Password protecting your computers is essential for securing the data on them: not just your clients’ personal data, but everything else you’ve stored on there! Both macOS and Windows have built-in options to require a password when turning the computer on, or waking it from sleep or the screensaver.

If you’re using a computer in a situation where other people are around, it’s sensible to activate the screensaver to lock it whenever you leave your computer. On macOS, I find using a “hot corner” to activate the screensaver really convenient because all I have to do is move the mouse pointer to the top-right corner of the screen to lock it.

If you’re using Light Blue’s iOS app, you should ensure that you’re using  Face ID, Touch ID, or a secure passcode on your iOS devices to prevent unauthorised access.

Use full disk encryption

Password protecting your computers is a good first step, but if someone steals it then they could remove the hard disk or SSD and bypass the operating system’s password protection. This is especially relevant to laptops, which are easily portable and tend to be used in more vulnerable situations than desktop computers.

You can mitigate this threat by using full disk encryption. When you use full disk encryption, the encryption makes the disk unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the encryption key.

macOS has an excellent full disk encryption system called FileVault built into it, and on a modern computer that uses an SSD or Fusion Drive it’s incredibly convenient to use. You can find out how to set up FileVault on Apple’s support site.

Not all versions of Windows include a full disk encryption option, but this handy article tells you how to use it and gives you some options if it’s not built into your version of Windows.

If you’re using Light Blue on iOS, your iOS device is already using full disk encryption if you’ve set a passcode lock, or are using Face ID or Touch ID.

Use a strong password for your Light Blue account

Securing your computers is essential, but you should also make sure that your Light Blue account is secured by a strong password to ensure that no unauthorised person can access it.

You can find lots of advice about creating strong passwords online, but the two most important points are:

  • Make your passwords secure. That means making them long (at least 15 characters is a good starting point) and preferably not using a single word that’s in the dictionary.
  • Never reuse passwords for different accounts! This is a very common mistake, and means that if someone gets hold of a password for one service then they can try to use that password to access your account on a variety of other services. For example, if you use the same password on your Netflix and email accounts, giving someone your Netflix password means that they can access your email and do any number of Very Bad Things.

We strongly advise using a password manager, which is a piece of software that makes it much easier to use strong passwords. The excellent 1Password is highly regarded by security experts, and is available for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android.

You can update your Light Blue account password here. If you change your Light Blue account password, remember to enter the new password into Light Blue!

Consider turning on Light Blue’s password protection feature

The other tips on this page will help you to secure your devices and Light Blue account. You can also make Light Blue require a password when you launch it. To turn this option on:

  1. Set up at least one member of staff in the ‘Resources’ section of Light Blue’s preferences window, and set a password for them.
  2. Turn on the ‘Show User Login Dialog When Launching Light Blue’ option in the ‘General Preferences’ section of Light Blue’s preferences window.

Light Blue 7.1 release notes

Light Blue 7.1 adds new features to Light Blue 7, and is a free update for everyone who’s subscribed to our online services or is already using Light Blue 7.

GDPR-related changes

GDPR is an update to the data protection laws throughout the EU. Light Blue Software already complies with GDPR, and we’re adding some features to Light Blue 7.1 that can help you to comply with it in your own business.

Updated licence agreement: GDPR requires data controllers (i.e. you!) to have a contract in place with their data processors. Agreeing to the updated licence agreement that comes with Light Blue 7.1 forms this contract.

Recording clients’ consent to receive marketing communications: Light Blue has always allowed you to record which clients have chosen to receive marketing communications from you, and we’ve added some extra enhancements to this in Light Blue 7.1:

  • You’ll find a command in the Housekeeping section of the Records menu that allows you to set the mailing list opt-in checkbox for all of the contacts in your found set. If you decide to remove all of your existing clients from your mailing list so that they will need to opt in again, this tool allows you to do that quickly and easily.
  • When you tick the mailing list opt-in checkbox, Light Blue now presents a dialog that allows you to record the date and reason for this. When someone opts in by checking the relevant box when filling in one of your forms, this is automatically recorded for you. The mailing list consent details are included in Light Blue’s built-in contact details printing template.
  • You could already include a mailing list opt-in checkbox in the contact fields in Light Blue’s forms, but we’ve now added an alternative mailing list opt-in checkbox that you can include anywhere in your form that will allow your client to set this opt-in for all of the contacts on that form. You can also include more explanatory text with this checkbox, to ensure that your clients understand what they’re doing.

Including booking forms in your contract PDFs: You could already choose to include your booking form as part of the contract PDF that’s sent to you and your clients once they’ve signed their contract, but we’ve made this setting easier to find and more flexible by moving it into the ‘Advanced Options’ section of the contract template. You might find this particularly helpful if you’re asking clients to opt into your mailing list as part of their booking form, or if you’re including other checkboxes that are relevant to your contract as part of the form.

You can now include checkboxes within the text of contracts: You can now have checkboxes within the text of a contract in Light Blue. When you’re editing a contract or contract template, you can use the ‘Insert Checkbox’ button to add optional or required checkboxes. Required checkboxes have to be ticked by your client before they can submit a signed contract.

When you are accepting a signed contract from the Inbox, or viewing a signed contract from the Activity panel of a shoot, any checkboxes that you included in the contract are listed for you to make it easy to see which options your client chose.

Including checkboxes within the text of your contract could be helpful if there are specific terms that you want clients to acknowledge, or options that you want to give them. For opting into receiving marketing communications, we would recommend using one of the mailing list opt-in options that are available as part of the booking form instead of a checkbox in the contract text, because using one of our ‘official’ options will automatically set the appropriate fields on your clients’ contact records in Light Blue.

If anyone has any questions about including checkboxes in their contracts, or needs any help setting them up, please let us know and we’d be delighted to help!

Identifying old personal data that can be removed: We’ve added a tool to the Housekeeping section of the Records menu that allows you to easily identify old records that you might want to remove from Light Blue if you can no longer justify holding the personal data that the contain. The ‘Find Old Records’ command allows you to specify which types of record you’re searching for, and how many years back you want to go. For example, you could search for all contacts that haven’t had any shoots, appointments, or sales within the last 6 years (or whatever you decide is reasonable). Once you’ve found these old records, you can check them carefully and then use the ‘Trash Found Records’ command to delete them.

Providing clients with a copy of the information that you hold about them: We’ve added a ‘Linked Records’ option to the list of optional extras when printing contact or shoot records. This is particularly helpful if you ever need to provide a client with a copy of all of the personal data about them that you hold, because printing a contact record with this option enabled will print both their contact details and a list of all related pieces of information.

Reduced information option in calendar feeds: Light Blue 7 added a ‘Show Only That I’m Busy’ mode to calendar feeds, but for situations where you want to give someone a bit more information about what you’re doing but don’t want to give out any personal data about clients we’ve now added a ‘Title & Location Only’ mode.

That’s the end of the GDPR-specific changes we’ve made in Light Blue 7.1, but read on to find out more about the other features and bug fixes that we’ve added.

Other client portal changes

  • When you export a contract template, you can now include that contract’s booking form as part of the same export file. This makes it easier to supply a booking form and contract to other photographers, who can import these templates into Light Blue 7.1 in just one step.
  • The emails that we send on your behalf when a client is working through a form or contract are now optional. Contract and form templates now have checkboxes that allow you to choose whether an email is sent when it’s published, submitted, etc.
  • Miscellaneous checkboxes and popup menu choices from a booking form are now included in the contract PDF.
  • When displaying a checkbox value from a form, we now display it as “yes” or “no” (or your localised equivalent) instead of “1” or “0”.
  • When a form that contains hidden fields is submitted, the email that’s sent to you and your client no longer includes those hidden values.
  • Fixed a problem where the “no contacts” warning could be displayed when setting up a contract or form and you have deselected the existing contacts.
  • Fixed a problem where a blank Purchase record could be created when accepting a contract with a booking fee that was paid offline.
  • Fixed a problem with editing contracts where, if a paragraph ended with italic text, an asterisk could be added to the end of the paragraph.

macOS calendar features

We’ve rewritten the way that Light Blue interacts with macOS calendars and reminders. While you shouldn’t notice any changes in the way that most of these features work (apart from loading macOS calendar events into Light Blue’s calendar being much faster!), we have had to disable the old feature where ticking off a Light Blue task from the Reminders app would tick that task off in Light Blue as well.

Do please let us know if you have any feedback about these changes to how Light Blue works with macOS calendars and reminders!

Emailing

  • We’ve added reply buttons to emails that have been sent from Light Blue (you could already reply to emails that you’ve received).
  • When editing an email template, the plain text version that’s automatically saved at the same time now has its paragraph spacing formatted to more closely match the HTML version.
  • Fixed a problem where creating an email to the found set in Mail would only create an email to the first contact.

Miscellaneous changes

  • We’ve improved the speed of loading large numbers of shoots.
  • If you’re using a proxy server, we now encrypt the password.
  • Added a ‘Reassign’ command to the Task Manager options menu, which allows you to reassign all of the selected tasks to a different member of staff in one go.
  • Added a ‘Business Address’ field to the ‘General Preferences’ section of the Preferences window, and a corresponding %BusinessAddress% mail-merge tag.
  • Fixed a problem with the capitalisation of some types of activity when included in shoot or contact printouts.
  • It’s now easier to query for shoots that have a particular tag, because we’ve added a calculated tags field (in addition to the existing option of querying the linked tags). We’ve also added a %ShootTags% mail-merge tag.
  • Added a “Warn If Invoice Is Older Than Other Invoices” option to the ‘Finances’ section of the Preferences window. This allows you to enable or disable the warnings that appear when you try to create an invoice, but already have invoices with dates that are ahead of the one you’re trying to use.
  • Added ContactMailingList, ContactVATNumber, and ContactNameMaiden parameters to the Light Blue API.
  • Fixed a database error that could occur when running an income and expenditure or tax report.
  • Changed the way that duplicated records are named from “Duplicate of ‘original record name'” to “Original record name copy”.
  • The quick search box now includes a wider selection of fields in its queries, including quote descriptions and the net and gross totals of quotes, sales, purchases, and payments.
  • When linking a received text message to a shoot, Light Blue is now a bit smarter about linking to an existing contact instead of offering to create a new one.
  • Added an “Update Linked Contact’s Address” command to the contact fields on quote, sale, purchase, and payment records. You can use this to update the linked contact’s address if you’ve added or edited the address from a quote, sale, purchase, or payment.
  • When you’re editing a text message template, you’re now given an estimated number of parts for that message. The number of parts can obviously change if you include mail-merge tags in the template, because the mail-merge tags will be replaced by real data when you use the template.
  • Fixed a problem where, when creating a task from the Home screen and trying to link it to a Quote or Payment record, the search box didn’t work properly.
  • Fixed a problem where, when using a date filter for the Task Manager other than ‘All Outstanding’, going to the linked record from an un-dated task could sometimes take you to the wrong record.

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