The Photographers’ Guide to Finances and Budgeting

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Spreadsheets and sums. Never as much fun as cameras and creativity.

But when you’re running a photography business, there’s no escaping the financial responsibilities.

Alongside nurturing clients, planning shoots and managing your diary, you also need to maximise profitability. Are as many pennies as possible being spent wisely? Is some belt-tightening required?

Here we’ll share some practical tips for managing your finances efficiently and budgeting carefully for software, equipment and marketing.

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How to Give an Exceptional Client Experience

Reading Time: 7 minutes

As a photographer, taking exquisite images for your clients is a must. But it’s an exceptional experience that will bring them back for more.

We all know it’s more efficient and less expensive to tempt an existing client to book again than it is to find a new one.

So how you can make that second, third or fourth shoot an irresistible option? And how can you inspire the levels of lucrative loyalty your business thrives on?

Here we share eight ways that photographers can give a truly memorable client experience. One that maximises the chances of those all-important repeat bookings.

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Light Blue 2023.1.2 release notes

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We’ve just released Light Blue 2023.1.2, which is a minor update that adds new features and fixes bugs reported since we launched Light Blue 2023.1. It includes the following changes:

  • We’re now handling a change in 12-hour time formatting in macOS 14 Sonoma that could interfere with autocompleting times.
  • You can now import multiple sales from the Inbox in a batch by using Shift-click on Command/Control-click to select several sales before clicking the “Import” button.
  • You can now open “failed to send” emails from the Outbox and send them via a different email account, e.g. using the Light Blue email servers instead of one of your own email accounts.
  • Our HTML editor now allows mailto: and tel: URLs to be added.
  • Added a “Check Server Connection Before Trying to Sync” preference. We’re also providing more information in the “Background Activity” window if your internet connection appears to not be working.
  • Importing a form that’s been submitted for a shoot that’s been deleted is now treated as if you’re importing a form that’s not linked to anything.
  • On Windows, we now default to ignoring your display’s scale factor when printing.
  • Added a “Reset” button to the template translation editing dialog, to clear any customised translation and revert it to the default value.
  • In the custom report dialog, changed the wording from “quick or saved query” to “quick query”.
  • Changed the wording of the “Set Opt-In” button in “Set Mailing List Opt-In For Contacts From CSV” dialog to “Change Opt-In Status”.
  • In the “Revenue By Product” report, the “Product Code” column is now only be shown if if “Show Product Code” option is checked.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the query for potential duplicate contacts when you’re previewing incoming data to be case-sensitive.
  • Fixed a bug where drag-reordering contact methods in contact add dialog appears to not work.
  • Fixed a bug where querying on a time field and setting the operator to “Is Blank” or “Is Not Blank” wasn’t hiding the value field and the query couldn’t be run.
  • Fixed a bug where the query dialog’s advanced mode’s closing bracket could disappear when clicked on to activate them.
  • Fixed a bug where the printed version of quotes weren’t using the “Quote/Sale Notes Label” from template translations.
  • Fixed a bug where the last row of the CSV file could be ignored when using “Set Mailing List Opt-In For Contacts From CSV” housekeeping tool.
  • Fixed a bug where the address label popup arrows don’t appear in contact add dialog when adding a contact to a shoot.
  • Fixed a bug where mail-merging a centrally aligned %InvoiceURL% tag in an email template changed it to left-aligned.
  • Fixed a bug where merging duplicate contacts from a shoot could cause the sort order of the preserved contact to change unexpectedly.
  • Fixed a bug where checking the “preview mail-merge tags” checkbox while editing contract text opens blank pages in your default browser.

Light Blue compatibility with macOS 14 Sonoma and iOS 17

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Over the next few weeks, Apple are going to be releasing major upgrades to macOS and iOS. iOS 17 is going to be released on 18 September. macOS 14 Sonoma is being released on 26 September.

We’ve been testing the current versions of our macOS and iOS apps on the prerelease versions of macOS 14 and iOS 17 and haven’t found any major issues. We’ll be releasing an update to our desktop app very soon that fixes the only minor issue we’ve found. However, please read on for our usual health warning about the dangers of installing a major operating system update as soon as it’s available!

Health warning

As with all major operating system updates, it is a very sensible idea to be cautious about updating your computers until Apple have had a chance to fix some of the bugs that will inevitably be present in macOS Sonoma. Although our testing of Light Blue 2023.1.1 on macOS Sonoma has been positive, there is every chance that Apple could change something that breaks compatibility or that we’ve missed something because we can’t test every conceivable combination of devices and settings.

If you rely on Light Blue to run your business, we would therefore recommend holding off from updating your operating system as soon as macOS Sonoma is available. At the very least, if you really really want to update on day one, make sure that you have at least one computer on the ‘old’ operating system until you’ve had a chance to test that all of the features that you depend on are fully functional.

Also, please note that our testing has been has been focussed on the latest version of our desktop app. The vast majority of our subscribers are already using Light Blue 2023.1, and if you’re using an older version of our desktop app then please update to the latest version to ensure that you’re able to take advantage of all of the new features and bug fixes that we’ve been adding. You can update the desktop app by using the ‘Check for updates’ command (in the ‘Light Blue’ menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the ‘Help’ menu if you’re using it on Windows).

How to Reduce Costs Without Hurting Your Photography Business

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Is your usually healthy balance sheet looking a little under the weather? Maybe bookings numbers are down or your usual expenses have crept up as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite?

Then your photography business may benefit from a comprehensive cost critique. A thorough investigation into exactly what’s going out of your account on a regular basis.

And then action taken to drive expenses down and push profits up.

Here we’ll share tips about how you can reduce costs without harming your photography business.

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Online booking platforms for photographers: Acuity vs Calendly

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Choosing the best online booking platform is a key decision to make within your photography business.

You want a platform that creates a seamless process for your client to find a suitable time and make their booking; you don’t want them to get frustrated at any stage and deciding not to press ‘confirm’! And from a business perspective, you’ll be looking for a cost-effective solution that you’re able to integrate with your CRM system.

So let’s have a look at two of the most popular platforms; Acuity and Calendly and see how they stack up for use in a photography business.

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How using the right tools can help you focus on what matters

Reading Time: 6 minutes

It’s safe to assume that you didn’t choose to run a photography business because you want to spend lots of time doing admin, right?

With one simple change Loudoun County Newborn, Family, and Birthday Portrait Photographer Jess Lynn and her admin assistant Annie are now able to spend more time with their families, focus on other areas of their business, and save $100-200 a year.

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How to get more photography clients

Reading Time: 10 minutes

No matter whether you’re a seasoned pro, or just starting out, something a lot of photographers want to know is how to get more photography clients.

It’s no secret that the success of your photography business hinges on your ability to consistently attract new clients.

Even if you already have a set of tried and tested tactics for attracting clients to your photography business, you’ll still want to explore other methods of gaining new enquiries so you’re not overly reliant on one source of leads.

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Using your phone’s autocorrect to respond to enquiries in ANY app

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Notification noise is a truly modern phenomenon.

Another WhatsApp message from an unrecognised number. A Facebook DM lurking in the depths of Messenger. Even a trusty, traditional text message ping can add to the sense of overwhelm and disorganisation.

For photographers dealing with daily client communications from all these different sources, this noise can quickly waste time and energy. And potentially even drown out a new enquiry that’s inadvertently missed.

The answer? Autocorrect.

Read on to discover why this humble tool could banish the confusion and chaos, revolutionising how you field enquiries.

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Light Blue 2023.1.1 release notes

Reading Time: 2 minutes

We’ve just released Light Blue 2023.1.1, which is a minor update that adds new features and fixes bugs reported since we launched Light Blue 2023.1. It includes the following changes:

  • The “Current Events” and “Enquiries” widgets now have an option to reverse their sort order.
  • When importing orders from ProSelect, include the image filenames from multi-image layouts.
  • Added a warning if you’ve pasted what looks like a truncated Stripe API key in the “Online Payments” tab of the “Integrations” section of the Preferences window.
  • Added an option to ignore display scale factor when printing on Windows.
  • Changed the custom date range option for the task manager widget to no longer include outstanding tasks that are outside the selected date range.
  • The main window can now be made fullscreen again on macOS.
  • Removed the “Edit List” item from email server selection menus.
  • Fixed a bug that caused “Studio Closed” to appear twice in the list of time off types.
  • Fixed a bug that caused colons in scheduling calendars names to break scheduling request mail-merge tags.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when double-clicking on an item in the workflow visualiser.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when selecting the email “Tracking” field in the query dialog.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed the %InvoiceURL% mail-merge tag to be used from sections other than the Sales section.