Light Blue 2020.1.3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We’ve just released Light Blue 2020.1.3, which adds more new features and some bug fixes.

You can update to Light Blue 2020.1.3 by using the “Check For Updates” command from within Light Blue. You’ll find that in the Light Blue menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the Help menu if you’re using Windows. You can also download the installer for the latest version of Light Blue by logging into your account on our website.

Here’s a list of the changes that we’ve made in this update:

  • Fixed a runtime error that could occur on Windows when opening a window containing an HTML editor.
  • On Windows, reports are now opened in Light Blue’s reports viewer instead of in your default web browser.
  • Viewing an invoice that was created in a version of Light Blue before 2020.1 in the desktop app will make that invoice available online if it has an unpaid amount greater than zero and has payment reminders set up.
  • A warning is now displayed when you’re composing or viewing an email sent via your own SMTP server when you have Light Blue’s email tracking features enabled, because our email tracking features only apply to emails sent via our own email servers.
  • Added SaleNextPaymentDueDate and SaleFinalPaymentDueDate mail-merge tags, and made the old SalePaymentDueDate tag work as SaleNextPaymentDueDate.
  • Added support for ‘NextAppointment’ and ‘NextConfirmedAppointment’ address mail-merge tags in workflow emails.
  • Changed localisation of form address headings so that the notification email you receive when a client fills in a form will use your localised headings.
  • Wedding roles are now translated in the shoot linked contacts role menu.
  • Translated the “Are you sure you want to sign this contract?” confirmation dialog into French and German
  • Improved the automatic linking of Contact records by company name when importing Purchase records from a CSV file.
  • The “Ask Every Time” print branding option is now only applied for “real” printing: PDFs will always include branding.
  • The “Received Today” filter in the Inbox no longer shows items received yesterday and today if your current timezone is UTC+something.
  • When adding new contacts to a shoot on Windows, the Role field for additional linked contacts now includes a popup menu.
  • Fixed a bug where the bounding box for a selected image in an HTML editor wouldn’t move if you use the mouse wheel or trackpad to scroll the HTML editor.
  • Fixed a bug where a payment reminder email that crosses the daylight savings time boundary would be scheduled an hour earlier or later than intended.
  • Fixed a bug where the HTML editor text size menu would always show “12”, even when you’ve selected text that’s a different size.
  • Fixed a problem on Windows where changes made in an HTML editor could be lost if you click into it after making changes in a different control.
  • Fixed a bug where the “Mark As Paid” button was shown on instalments that have been overpaid.
  • Fixed a problem where Google Calendar publishing could stop working after several months.
  • Fixed an obscure bug where editing a record and saving it by clicking a quick query that the edit moves it into selects that record in the records list but not in the detail panel.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented contact photos from being included on the shoot detail printout.
  • Fixed a bug where loading a long list of items, scrolling to the bottom of the list and selecting an item would scroll the list back to the top.

Light Blue 2020.1.2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

We’ve just released Light Blue 2020.1.2, which adds more new features and some bug fixes.

You can update to Light Blue 2020.1.2 by using the “Check For Updates” command from within Light Blue. You’ll find that in the Light Blue menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the Help menu if you’re using Windows. You can also download the installer for the latest version of Light Blue by logging into your account on our website.

Here’s a list of the changes that we’ve made in this update:

  • The Outbox search now includes linked shoot titles and contact names in its search criteria.
  • Changed knowledgebase links to point to our new knowledgebase.
  • Added an option to display VAT-exclusive unit prices on a VAT-inclusive invoice.
  • Our tax report now includes tax-exempt items from invoices.
  • Added extra logging to help track down a problem that could prevent a few users from being able to set up Google Calendar publishing.
  • Fixed a problem where using the “Create Enquiry” button from an email or text message in the Inbox wouldn’t automatically set the enquiry date for the shoot that’s created.
  • Fixed a glitch where using the date picker popup in the query dialog would not position the date picker correctly, and cancelling the query dialog while the date picker was open wouldn’t automatically close it.
  • Fixed a problem where using the “Next” and “Previous” buttons in the task dialog wouldn’t load the completed status of the task.
  • Fixed a problem where custom fields that are no longer used could show up as blank items in the export records dialog.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented the status of online bookings from being displayed in the Inbox.
  • Fixed rare crashes that could occur when updating quick query result counts, selecting a custom colour, accepting a payment, or editing automated payment reminders.

Measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your business

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of us in a variety of ways. We’re a small company and the whole Light Blue team is either currently or previously a professional photographer, so we understand the difficulties that you are going through at the moment.

Being able to measure the impact that the pandemic has had on your business certainly isn’t something that you will want to do, however it is helpful if you are applying for some sort of financial assistance for your business.

This guide walks through how to get the details that could help you.

Using charts to get an overview

The benefit of managing your business with Light Blue is that your data’s all in one place, so the information that you need is already here. So you won’t need to spend ages analysing complicated spreadsheets to get an idea of where you stand.

The charts view is your friend, and here are a few different charts that you could load with a couple of clicks and then present as necessary evidence if required.

Note that I’ve got “cumulative totals” turned on and I’m comparing this year to previous years (feel free to go as far back as you feel is appropriate).

To change the data that your chart is displaying, just tweak the options at the top of the screen.


Enquiries by enquiry date,


Planning ahead

As well as taking a look at how things have changed for your business this year, it could be useful for you to take a look at the road ahead so you can take appropriate action.

Identifying bookings at risk of postponement due to the latest restrictions

The lockdown restrictions and rules keep on changing, and in the UK we’ve recently been told that the current restrictions are likely to be in place for six months.

If you’re taking payments for sessions that haven’t happened yet but are at risk of cancelling, there’s a possibility that you may find ourself in a position whereby you need to return some of what’s been paid. We’re not in a position to offer legal advice so if you’re ever in doubt about what you should be doing with regards to cancellations, we recommend consulting an independent legal professional.

Creating custom reports in Light Blue can help to provide the necessary figures in order to manage the potential financial exposure to cancelations of future bookings. That’s a three step process:

1) Find the right records

Use the query tool to search for all of your shoots that are booked over the next 6 months (for example, you can choose another period if you wish).

2) View the list

Then view the results in the List View and customise that view (Window > Customise List View) to show the information that you’re most interested in.

3) Save a custom report

Finally, save the query and list view settings as a custom report so you can view the most up to date information again in the future with a few clicks.

Forecasting your potential income

Getting a clear picture of when you’re going to receive income is very important and helpful at the best of times, but during this unprecedented period of uncertainty your businesses ability to forecast its income is essential.

No forecasting model is going to be iron clad, but the ability for you to look ahead will allow you to remove some of the guesswork from this situation and help you to make some informed decisions.

We’ve got an in-depth guide on how to use Light Blue’s quoting tools to forecast your income, which you can read here.

Keeping an eye on your fixed outgoings

The money coming in to your business is just one part of the equation and even with a reduction in work you will still encounter a certain amount of fixed costs necessary for keeping the business going.

We’re doing what we can to help reduce those costs for our customers and we know that many other suppliers to the trade are as well.

If you’ve been recording your businesses expenditure within Light Blue then it’s fairly quick to get a picture of the fixed costs that you’ve incurred this year. It may also be helpful to look at the figures for last year in order to establish a trend.

Using the query tool, search for purchases that haven’t been linked to shoots and also haven’t been categorised in a way that indicates that they’re a cost of sales. The advanced options allow you to be more precise in your search.

Then you can customise the list view to show the columns that are most relevant to you, and group the purchases by year so that you can compare this years fixed costs to those of previous years.

Need more help?

We’re always ready and willing to support our customers if they need help with things like this. Send an email to or schedule a free 1:1 call via the help page.