For many of our customers, Facebook is a key marketing tool. There are lots of different ways to market on Facebook from organic posting to paid adverts. One of the most popular tools is to use a Facebook lead generation advert. You might be running a competition or have a great offer that will get lots of people into your studio.
Facebook lead gen ads make the lead generation process easy. People can simply tap your advert and a form pops up, it’s already pre-populated with their Facebook contact information and ready to be sent directly to you.
But how do you get all these leads into Light Blue?
There are two main ways of doing it. Either manually or automated using Zapier. We have made this handy video to show you how:
The first is by downloading the leads to a .csv file. These can simply be uploaded as contacts into Light Blue using our “import contacts from .csv” option. This will create a new contact record for each of the leads. You can then attach shoot records and workflows like you would with any other contact.
The second option is to set up a Zap using Zapier. You may already have an account if you are using it to link a booking system like Acuity.
Zapier connects the apps you use everyday to automate your work and be more productive. There is a free version that allows you to set up 5 zaps and a paid version that starts at $20/month that offers more complex integrations and the ability to use premium zaps such as the one we use to connect Facebook lead generation adverts and Light Blue.
You can follow the steps for linking your Facebook lead gen ads to Light Blue in our handy video above.
If you have some ideas of good Facebook lead gen ads for photographers, why not post them in our new Facebook group.
We understand that it can be daunting learning a new software, especially one that’s as powerful and full of features as Light Blue. Its easy to put it off because its all too overwhelming. We want to help!
We have a great “Setting up Light Blue” webinar to help you get set up and if you have a spare hour its really worth sitting down to watch it. Sometimes, you just want some quick start tips. Today’s blog post gives you some easy ways to get begin setting up Light Blue for your business.
1. Input your upcoming shoots into Light Blue
One of the first things we recommend doing is to start inputting any current enquiries or confirmed shoots. It helps get you more familiar with the shoot records.
2. Set up your workflows
Using a workflow is a really quick way of scheduling tasks, emails, text messages, and appointments for a shoot. They’re easy to set up, and help you to deliver excellent service to your clients by making sure that you’re reminded about all of the key steps that you want a job to go through.
We recommend sitting down and detailing all the steps you do for each type of shoot. Include all tasks, emails, meetings you might have connected with the shoot. You will want to create an enquiry workflow, a confirmation workflow and one for each shoot type and think about when you do the tasks.
Eg your confirmation workflow might have the following simple steps:
Respond to enquiry (email)
Send a text message saying you have emailed them some information (text)
Follow up enquiry (email)
A simple portrait shoot workflow might be:
Check Portrait shoot details day before (task)
Send reminder email with direction for session (email)
A great way of speeding up your business admin is using template emails. Rather than typing an individual response to each email you receive you can set up a series of template emails that you send from initial enquiry through to a client collection their order.
You may already have a list of emails you send clients as part of the workflow planning we suggested in the previous section. If you don’t, sit down and write a list of all the emails you send a client throughout a job so that you can create templates for each one.
Our online services enable you to share your information between computers, hook up your web contact forms to your account, use our great online contract signing services and lets your clients pay your invoices online.
You will want to set up the online portal with so that any contract, forms or online invoices show your business branding. Some of our customers have more than one brand eg a wedding and a newborn business. You can use as many different brands as you like, there’s no limit!
One of the great benefits of using our online services is that you can add contact forms to your website that send enquiries into your inbox in Light Blue. No more manually inputting all the enquiry, you simply import the data as a new shoot record.
We hope this helps you with getting set up with Light Blue and allows you to enjoy the benefits of several of its features. We understand that people learn in different ways and that no two businesses are the same, so if you’d like some more help with getting the most out of Light Blue then we’d be delighted to chat with you over a 1 to 1 screen sharing session.
Keeping on top of your finances is really important when you are running a business and, while we have some great tools in Light Blue to help with this, some business need even more accounting tools. Many of our customers use QuickBooks to do their accounts and had asked for an easier way to get their information out of Light Blue and into QuickBooks, so they don’t have to enter information twice.
With our QuickBooks export feature, you can export all your invoices from Light Blue to import straight into QuickBooks. This means you have all the benefits of using Light Blue’s online services such as online booking forms and contract signing plus invoicing and you don’t have to create a duplicate invoice manually in QuickBooks. Here is a handy video to see how it works:
We love hearing how this has made your lives easier!
Rose and Garry Stacey from Timeless Images run their portrait studio from Bridgwater, Somerset.
“Light Blue has really helped with the day to day running of the business but with Making Tax Digital coming in, we knew we had to sort out our accounting package. QuickBooks was our choice as there is an import invoices function. So we can within 20 minutes have the month’s invoices imported into QuickBooks ready for the accounts to be reconciled. Thanks to the boys at Light Blue this is quick, easy, straight forward monthly process keeping us in line with government requirements.”
“I had set up QuickBooks before I signed up for Light Blue, I then was faced with how to manage the two. Initially, I was exporting the data to a CSV file and then re-formatting it for QuickBooks and then importing the data to QuickBooks. This took about an hour. Now with the new feature, I’m able to export the data in the correct format for QuickBooks and then import it directly into QuickBooks. This process now takes me about 15 minutes to complete, I’m sure that it will get quicker as I become more practised at it. Now I can easily keep both programs up to date.”
Preparing for a shoot always includes carefully packing your camera bag. But what exactly should you try to squeeze in to all those handy pockets?
And why might those bin bags come in handy?
Here we delve deep into the camera bag essentials that might just become your shoot superheroes.
The bulk of your bag must always of course contain all your kit.
Alongside your beloved cameras, you have lenses, spare memory cards and batteries, a microfibre cloth and flash guns.
Depending on your type of photography and what situations you might find yourself in, you probably already have some proven favourites.
Maybe as a specialist wedding photographer you never go anywhere without a stash of tissues and a spare packet of confetti.
Or if you spend your days capturing a newborn’s magical first days, you never dream of leaving the house without at least one packet of baby wipes.
Whatever your niche, here are the camera bag essentials (apart from tissues and wipes) we heartily recommend:
Indispensable in low light and on night shoots, a torch is your wingman for all things light-related. If you’re using an off-camera flash, you can use it to help you focus and then switch it off for the actual shot. And of course, they always come in handy during a power cut.
Random? Maybe. Useful? Definitely. Safety pins are your saviour for holding something in place, tidying loose fabric or mitigating a major wardrobe malfunction.
Your all-in-one friend, a penknife can be called upon in many an emergency. Alongside the blade, it can compactly hide a pair of scissors, tweezers, carabiner and even a corkscrew if you fancy making a post-shoot toast with your client.
They’re especially helpful on fashion shoots for snipping off labels and loose threads to make every garment look impeccable.
First Aid Kit
We’re not suggesting the whole works here, but it’s wise to carry a selection of painkillers, plasters and antiseptic cream to soothe minor ailments.
And don’t underestimate how hay fever can creep up on you and possibly wreck a shoot. A packet of antihistamine tablets might make the difference between getting beautiful images and having to reschedule.
Your clients already know who you are but what about the people who walk past your shoot and show an interest? You could just be in a park or school hall but if you’re in the foyer of a multi-national corporation, you’ll want to be ready for every opportunity.
Even when you can access your schedule on your phone, having a physical copy to stick up on a wall, stuff in your pocket or pass to an assistant and refer to quickly is super-helpful.
With Light Blue, you can easily print off a summary of all the crucial details for the day so you never miss a shot.
Pen and Paper
We love time-saving tech as much as, OK probably more than, the next person, but we’re not ready to abandon pen and paper just yet. In these mobile-dependent days, you could be the only person in the room to have a simple notebook where you can scribble down notes and ideas.
Snacks and Water
Your talented photographic brain needs fuelling so don’t forget to pack plenty of water and some snacks to nibble on. Nobody likes a hangry photographer …
Thought we’d forgotten about the bin bags? Apart from using them to actually put your shoot rubbish in, they double up as makeshift ponchos for when the heavens unexpectedly decide to open.
They’ll also come in handy as a barrier between client and soggy bench or log, keeping them dry and reasonably comfortable when they sit down. Just keep the tell-tale signs out of shot – clear/transparent bags make that a lot easier!
Being prepared doesn’t have to mean carrying a bag that looks like you’re off on a three-week hike.
But it could mean that your clients are dazzled by your helpful, organised approach to the shoot and inspire them to leave you a five-star review.
We’ve released Light Blue 8.1.1, which is another free update to everyone who subscribes to our online services or has bought Light Blue 8. This is a minor update that adds new features and fixes bugs that were reported after the launch of Light Blue 8.1.
You can now create Purchase records from Sale records, using the cost information that you’ve entered into your price lists. In a price list, you can now specify the supplier, net cost, and VAT / sales tax cost of the products that you offer. From a Sale record, you can use the options menu in the Items section or right-click on an item to create Purchase records for the items in the Sale.
You can now create one-time setup codes from the “Manage My Devices” section of your account. This allows you to add a device to your Light Blue account without giving your account password to the owner of that device.
You can now set up automatic SMS credit top-ups yourself by logging into your account on our website.
Non-breaking spaces copied and pasted from other apps are now automatically replaced when you edit a text message template. These characters could make a message use the Unicode character set despite looking like they only contain characters from the standard GSM character set.
Workflow messages linked to a session or an appointment can now use contact and shoot mail-merge tags.
Added a warning message when you try to go to records that you don’t have access to from the Home screen.
The “Restore From Backup” and “Reset Your Light Blue Account” commands are now only available to staff who have full access privileges.
Clarified the “you can only submit this contract once everyone has signed it” message that appears on unsigned contracts.
Fixed a problem where non-https images included in emails couldn’t be previewed on macOS.
Fixed a problem where restoring a Contact record from the trash wouldn’t restore it to the group that it was part of.
Fixed a rare problem where an email could be sent via our servers rather than your selected email account.
Fixed a problem where the date of a scheduled text message in the Outbox could be displayed incorrectly.
Fixed a problem where the purchase net and tax amount calculator wouldn’t work with European decimal separators.
Fixed a problem where creating a credit note could create one with the wrong cents value if you’re using European decimal separators.
Fixed a problem where re-entering your account password in the “continue trial” or “your trial has expired” pages of the setup wizard wouldn’t successfully authenticate your account.
Fixed a problem with upgrading from Light Blue 4 to Light Blue 8.
Fixed a problem that could cause the “your trial has expired” setup screen to appear when you’re not actually using a trial account.
Fixed a race condition that could cause “The email hasn’t been synced to our servers yet” errors when trying to send emails in quick succession.
Google are updating their security rules for apps that send emails via Gmail (and G Suite) and we’ve been keeping up to date with their changes to make sure that you’ll be able to continue to send emails from Light Blue via your Gmail account.
The new security rules mean that you might need to add your Gmail account to Light Blue again. You can easily tell if you need to do this: