New online scheduling features

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Light Blue’s online scheduling feature is very popular with our subscribers because it they make it really easy for your clients to book shoots or meetings with you without needing to send messages back and forth to find the perfect time. We’ve just added a new feature to our scheduling calendars, and more are coming very soon…

First of all, you’ll notice that the booking confirmation page now features “Add to Apple Calendar/Outlook” and “Add to Google Calendar” buttons. Your clients can use these to quickly add their booking to their calendar, and of course you can use Light Blue’s powerful workflows feature to send automated reminders via email and text message.

Today, we’ve started beta testing another new scheduling feature: you can use scheduling requests to book meetings or shoots with existing clients. Your clients will love them because the booking form will be pre-filled with the information that you already have, and you will save time because the event that’s created will automatically be linked to the relevant records in Light Blue. Please let us know if you’d like to join our list of beta testers so that you can start using this feature today!

Christmas & New Year support

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We’re still here to help over the festive season, but we’re also going to be taking a bit of a break so won’t be answering emails quite as quickly as normal between Christmas and New Year:

  • We’ll be offering our usual support hours until 5pm UK time on Friday 23rd December.
  • There’ll be no email support during the public holidays on Monday 26th & Tuesday 27th December.
  • We’ll be offering limited email support 28th-30th December.
  • There’ll be no email support during the public holiday on Monday 2nd January.
  • We’ll return to normal hours from Tuesday 3rd January onwards.

Wishing you all the best,

Tom & the Light Blue team

Looking back on 2022

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We hope that 2022 has been a successful year for you. It’s been another rollercoaster, with emerging from the pandemic being a real highlight but plenty of other challenges along the way.

We always like to take stock at the end of the year and reflect on the things that we’re particularly proud of and we hope you’re able to do the same!

“Best Professional Software” award

We’re here to help professional photographers to run a successful business, so we’re delighted that so many of you voted for us in the “Best Professional Software” category at The Societies of Photographers convention awards. Light Blue was up against giants of the photography industry such as Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop in this category, 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. We’d love to win again in 2023, so we would really appreciate you casting your vote for us in the “Best Professional Software” category!

Major updates and new features

This year has been a great year for launching new features that are helping thousands of photographers to book more shoots and keep themselves organised.

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. This has been a really popular addition and we’ve had great feedback from customers, old & new.

Most recently, Light Blue 2022.2 is a major update that expands the range of third-party apps that you can use with Light Blue. Linking your Zoom account to Light Blue makes scheduling online meetings with your clients even more convenient and you can now configure your scheduling calendars to automatically create a Zoom meeting when a client makes a booking. Light Blue’s new Zapier integration is the most comprehensive in the photography industry, with triggers and actions that allow you to use Light Blue for all of your day-to-day work while taking advantage of industry-leading apps and services in a totally automated fashion. We also launched new integrations with Pic-Time, Square, and GotPhoto, helping you to make the most of other apps while keeping Light Blue at the heart of your business.

Out and about

Things definitely felt like they were getting back to normal in the UK by the Spring, so it was great to be able to get back to seeing photographers face to face at trade shows including The Photography Show, The Societies of Photographers convention, and the The Newborn and Portrait Show.

If you’d like to come and see us in person to find out more about how you can use Light Blue to organise and grow your business, your first opportunity in 2023 will be The Societies convention in London in March.

What’s next?

We’re always working hard for you, helping photographers to succeed with Light Blue and building new features that will help your business in exciting new ways.

Our prerelease testers will shortly be getting their hands on features including forms in workflows, scheduling requests that make it more convenient to use online scheduling calendars with existing clients, and new online payment options for anyone who’s using Stripe with Light Blue. All of this work is happening alongside work on our Android app, so if you’d like to get early access to any of these features then please let us know.

Meanwhile, we’re always available to help you get started with Light Blue or to make the most of any of the features that are designed to help you make the most of the opportunities out there while delivering a great service to your clients. The Help section of our website lists the ways we can help you, from our getting started guide through to booking a Zoom call to give you a hand with anything that you need to get 2023 off to a great start.

Wishing you all the very best,
Tom & the Light Blue team

Light Blue 2022.2 integrates with thousands of other apps

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Light Blue 2022.2 is a major update that expands the range of third-party apps that you can use with Light Blue.

Zapier

Zapier is a service that saves you time by connecting the apps and services that you use and automating them for you. Light Blue offers a set of triggers and actions that allow you to use it with thousands of other apps. With Light Blue at the centre of your business, you can use it for all of your day-to-day work while taking advantage of industry-leading apps and services in a totally automated fashion. You can also use Light Blue’s Zapier integration actions to send information to Light Blue.

Light Blue’s new Zapier integration is the most comprehensive in the photography industry, with triggers and actions that allow you to use Light Blue for all of your day-to-day work while taking advantage of industry-leading apps and services in a totally automated fashion.

“Invoices are now automatically sent from Light Blue to our accounting system, clients unsubscribing from our mailing system update Light Blue, and we can send bulk emails through our mailing system by tagging contacts in Light Blue! With the latest updates, all of these tasks just happen. Thank you Light Blue!”Rose Stacey

Zoom

Linking your Zoom account to Light Blue makes scheduling online meetings with your clients even more convenient. You can now configure your online scheduling calendars to automatically create a Zoom meeting when a client makes a booking.

Pic-Time

Pic-Time offer beautiful client galleries and art galleries with smart sales features, so we’re delighted that you can now link your Pic-Time account to Light Blue. Doing so allows Pic-Time to send client orders to Light Blue’s Inbox, from where you can import them at the click of a button and keep all of your orders together in one place.

Square

Making things more convenient for your clients makes them love working with you even more, and the feedback that we get from photographers is that their clients love using Light Blue’s online scheduling, contract signing, and invoice payment services. Using an online payment option with any of those services helps you to get paid more quickly, so we’re pleased to be able to add Square to the list of online payment processors that you can use with Light Blue.

GotPhoto

Schools photographers using GotPhoto can now import batches of orders into Light Blue and automatically link them to the right shoot, enabling you to combine Light Blue’s planning and reporting tools with GotPhoto’s sales tools.

And more…

You can find out about the other new features and changes in this release in the Light Blue 2022.2 release notes.

Free upgrade for subscribers

Light Blue 2022.2 is a free upgrade for all of our subscribers. We’ve loved seeing how our prerelease testers have been using it to streamline their admin and make the most of the other apps they use in their business, so we’re keen to see what you do with it!

Light Blue 2022.2.2 release notes

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Changes in Light Blue 2022.2.2:

  • Our Zoom integration is now available to all of our subscribers. Your online scheduling calendars can now create Zoom meetings when a client makes a booking, and automatically update a linked Zoom meeting if they reschedule or cancel their booking.
    • Holding down the Alt key when navigating from the calendar to an appointment now takes you to the appointment’s parent record without opening the appointment window.
    • Fixed a bug where clicking the “Import” button in the Inbox for a Pic-Time order wouldn’t treat it as incoming sale data.
    • Fixed a crash that could occur when editing scheduling calendar availability and specifying an invalid date.
    • Fixed a crash that could occur when customising an appointment type’s colour.

    Light Blue 2022.2 release notes

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    Light Blue 2022.2 is a major update that expands the range of third-party apps that you can use with Light Blue.

    New and updated integrations

    • Light Blue’s new Zapier integration is the most comprehensive in the photography industry, with triggers and actions that allow you to use Light Blue for all of your day-to-day work while taking advantage of industry-leading apps and services in a totally automated fashion.
    • Your online scheduling calendars can now create Zoom meetings when a client makes a booking, and automatically update a linked Zoom meeting if they reschedule or cancel their booking.
    • We’ve added Square to the list of online payment processors that you can use with Light Blue’s online invoices, scheduling calendars, and contract signing services.
    • Pic-Time joins the list of online photo galleries that can send client orders to your Light Blue account, allowing you to import them at the click of a button and keep all of your orders together in one place.
    • Schools photographers using GotPhoto can now import batches of orders into Light Blue and automatically link them to the right shoot, enabling you to combine Light Blue’s planning and reporting tools with GotPhoto’s sales tools.

    Please note that the minimum OS version required for Light Blue 2022.2 is now macOS 10.14 (Mojave) or Windows 8.1.

    Continue reading “Light Blue 2022.2 release notes”

    macOS Ventura

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    Apple is currently beta testing their next big macOS update, macOS Ventura, and is releasing it on Monday. Ventura is a big update to macOS, and the reports we’ve had from some of our subscribers is that the public betas have caused some problems for them, so you might want to wait a few months before you upgrade any of your work computers to Ventura.

    We’ve been testing Light Blue 2022.2 (which is being released in the next few days) with the macOS Ventura betas and it mostly works well. However, there’s a bug in macOS Ventura that affects publishing contacts from Light Blue to the macOS Contacts app: if you’re using that feature, please don’t install macOS Ventura until we have a fix for it. There’s been a bit of confusion between “contacts” and “contRacts”: Light Blue’s online contracts are working well, it’s publishing client contact details to the Contacts app that’s affected by Apple’s bug.

    Please read on for our usual health warning about the dangers of installing a major operating system update as soon as it’s available!

    Continue reading “macOS Ventura”

    Google Calendar reauthorisation

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    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!

    1. If you’re not already using Light Blue 2022.1.2, please use the “Check For Updates” command to update to it.
    2. Open Light Blue’s Preferences window and go to the “External Programs” section.
    3. Under the “Google Calendar” heading, click the “Unlink Google Calendar Account” button.
    4. After you’ve un-linked your Google account, the button changes to “Link Google Calendar Account”. Click this button. 
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.

    Light Blue 2022.1.2 release notes

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    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.