Light Blue ‘White Glove’ contract signing

With the online booking forms and contract signing services in Light Blue 6, photographers have been streamlining a key part of running their business. Gone are the days of vast amounts of paper being shuffled back and forth; instead, it’s really simple for your customers to complete their booking online.

But sometimes, you need that special touch – perhaps you’ve got a posh client who’s booking a family portrait, or a celebrity couple confirming a wedding shoot, and you feel that simply sending them an email asking them to fill out a form isn’t classy enough. That’s where our new ‘white glove’ contract signing service comes in. Providing a truly bespoke, personal service, our team of specially trained butlers will receive your instructions, then visit your client and present them with an iPad ready-loaded with the form they need to fill in and the contract for them to sign. They can also handle taking payment by any of the standard methods (card, PayPal etc.), by wire transfer from offshore bank accounts, or in bullion.

To ensure a speedy service, our butlers are permanently stationed at strategic locations around the UK, each with a selection of luxury cars, or a helicopter for clients who have their own helipad. And, if your customer’s not in the UK, we have butlers on standby in Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, and Melbourne, each with a private jet ready to fly at a moment’s notice. There’s a selection of vehicles, too, to match your client’s tastes; having a butler turn up in a Ferrari 599 GTO when your client prefers a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta would be a serious faux pas.

Long-time Light Blue user and beta tester Didcott Parqué is a great fan of our new service. “I regularly take family portraits for Premier League footballers, politicians and the like”, says Parqué. “For them, it’s all about image. I’ve got nothing but praise for the three butlers I’ve worked with so far – Gerard, McAlmont and Lambert have all been exceptional, and my clients are so impressed. Light Blue makes the process of filling out a form, signing the contract online and paying the booking fee is already really straightforward, but having a butler on hand to say ‘now click the “Submit” button’ at the appropriate moment makes all the difference to my conversion rate for these high-value clients.”

Photographer Dalston Kingsland agrees. “For many of my customers, clicking a link in an email is far too much like hard work. The new butler service is great, because the Light Blue butler can arrange an appropriate time with my client’s PA, and then arrive in style, at my client’s convenience.”

The new ‘White Glove’ service is available starting today, April 1. Find out more…

Online contract singing

We launched our online contract signing service a few days ago, and we’ve been bowled over by the response. However, our beta testers have been telling us they’ve sometimes mistakenly typed ‘contract signing’ as ‘contract singing’, then hitting ‘send’ without spell-checking.

We don’t like it when people lose face like that, so we’ve teamed up with Cambridge Chorale to launch the world’s first contract singing service with options available for all occasions and budgets. It’s available from today, Wednesday April 1.

With many thanks to Cambridge Chorale (@CambChorale or facebook.com/CambridgeChorale).

Light Blue: The past is our future

Here at Light Blue Software, we’re intimately connected to the world of photography. We live and breathe it, and draw inspiration from both our customers and the trends we see in the wider photographic world. And who can have failed to notice the biggest thing to hit both photography and cameras in the last few years – retro styling?

Take the Nikon DF. It’s a modern marvel that recalls some of Nikon’s historic design triumphs, combining modern technology with classic looks. Likewise, Olympus’ OM-D harks back to the days of chunky steel and leather. It’s clear to everyone: the past is the future.

This is all well and good for companies that have been making physical products for nearly a hundred years, but software as powerful as ours has only recently been possible, so we don’t have the decades of history behind us. At first, this seemed like an insurmountable problem, but we love a challenge, so we locked ourselves in the Light Blue secret bunker until we came up with the answer: Light Blue: Retro.

We’ve taken the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the original Apple Macintosh as a sign that we should take inspiration from that icon of software design: Apple’s original System Software.

Challenges along the way

Bringing Light Blue: Retro to fruition has been the toughest project we’ve ever worked on. We’re used to building software for photographers with high-resolution, perfectly calibrated screens, so scaling the interface down to black and white and just 512 x 342 pixels was a challenge. But that was a cinch compared to the work it’s taken to make Light Blue: Retro run with just 128KB of RAM.

Whilst we think we’ve been true to our desire to take inspiration from classic software, we’ve had to make some compromises along the way. The Internet didn’t really take off until the 1990s, so to be really authentic we’d need to implement syncing simply by telling you to phone up any of your other members of staff and tell them what you’d changed. However, we know that lots of our customers rely on our online services, so we’ve given ourselves a bit of leeway and optimised our remarkable data sync system to work over a 14.4Kbps modem.

What people think

We’ve been testing Light Blue: Retro for the last few months, and our beta group loves it. Ian St Agram, one of the group, comments “The Light Blue team is always innovating, and Light Blue: Retro is just fantastic. They’ve really managed to recreate the spirit of early computers, right down to the blocky fonts, tiny screen layout, and slow response times. It brings back so many happy memories!”

Future plans

We’re banking on Light Blue: Retro being a hit, so we’ve halted all development on Light Blue 5 to really improve the Retro version. Future improvements include a Windows version (compatible with Windows 3.1, of course), support for 28.8k modems, a load time of less than five minutes, and the possibility of shipping Light Blue: Retro on laserdisc. Watch this space for more announcements!

Availability

Light Blue: Retro is available today, 1 April 2014, and is supplied on twenty-seven 3.5″ floppy disks. For full pricing details, visit our website; we’re accepting payment by cheque, which can be posted to the secret Light Blue bunker. We’ll be showing it off at the forthcoming Digital Imaging Roadshows in Dublin, Belfast, Bolton and Bradford, so do come along and say hello to us there.

ThinkSync: a brand-new way of working with Light Blue

Here in the secret Light Blue bunker, we’re always working to make running your photography business even easier. Today, 1 April 2013, we’re announcing a revolutionary piece of kit which allows you to work with Light Blue completely hands free.

Check out our video above for more on how ThinkSync can help you revolutionise your business. And, when you’ve done that, download a free, fully functioning trial of Light Blue!

You can pre-order your ThinkSync headset today; we’re aiming to ship them at the end of April.

Video: Ian Martindale; Talent: Matt Pereira