We know that a lot of photographers run multiple brands under one business. Maybe you shoot both weddings and newborn photography, or you have a separate website for corporate photography. With Light Blue you can run all these brands in a single account.*
This is really handy for a lot of people because, while they may have different websites and logos for the different types of shoots they are doing, they’re still running one business.
You can run as many different brands as you like with Light Blue. Our custom branding means that you can change the logos, colours, and fonts on the emails, forms, contracts, and online invoices that you send to customers.
Setting up your different brands is really easy. You have probably already set up your main brand already if you are using our online services. Log in to your account on the Light Blue website and select the client portal section. Got to the branding area, then run through each section to choose your fonts, header images, background colours and form styling for each of your brands.
You can also apply your branding to the invoices, quotes, and receipts that you print (or PDF) from Light Blue. As well as your main branding (which you set up in the “Printing” section of the Preferences window), you can use separate branding for any of your shoot types. To do that, go into the “Shoot Types” section of the Preferences window and upload a different background PDF.
*Important point: Light Blue is designed to run a single business, but you can use shoot types with their own branding to essentially split up your income into different categories. One of the big advantages of this approach is that you have a single client database, and everything is nice and simple to manage. However, when it comes to things like the built-in reports, we assume that you’re running a single legal entity (e.g. a single limited company) because that’s what the vast majority of our customers need.
tl;dr: we’ve taken care of this so that you don’t need to do anything.
On 14 September 2019, new regulations are being introduced across Europe to protect people using cards to pay for goods and services online. These new regulations are called Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) and will add a requirement for two-factor authentication for many online payments.
The requirement for two-factor authentication means that affected transactions will require something in addition to the card number. Details will vary between card providers, but they might include codes generated by your online banking app, a security dongle, etc.
If you’re using our popular online contract signing or online invoice payment services and accepting card payments from your clients via our Stripe integration, you will be affected by SCA. However, we have already made all of the necessary changes and there is nothing that you need to do. Your clients won’t notice anything different: they’ll still be able to pay you quickly and easily by card.
If you’re not already using our online contract signing and invoice payment services, we’d be delighted to show you why photographers give us so much great feedback about them. Our customers love how easy these services make it for their clients to confirm a booking or pay an invoice.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw
In any business, effective communication is crucial. In photography, it’s a simple way to set and meet expectations before, during and after a shoot.
Keeping in touch at every stage of the customer journey helps to avoid misunderstandings and ambiguity, clarifies arrangements and establishes a warm relationship, often before you’ve even met your client.
And the easiest method to use? Email: efficiently managed and recorded thanks to the magic of specialist software.
Here, we’re sharing with you a suggested set of email templates to use throughout the lifetime of a shoot. From your initial response to a query to your post-project thank you, using them as inspiration for your own messages will ensure that no vital communication stage is ever overlooked.
Email #1: Automatic Reply To Website Contact Form
Consumers’ email etiquette expectations have never been higher. So rise to the challenge by being the photographer with great manners right from the start of the relationship.
If potential clients get a response immediately after sending their enquiry, you’ll quickly get a tick next to your name on their list of photographer possibilities. Your professional, efficient and helpful approach has been established quickly and with minimum effort.
This is a great opportunity to send them some basic information such as a link to your price list or some sample shoots.
And don’t shy away from telling them that it’s an automatic reply. Pretending that it isn’t won’t fool anybody. Instead, use it to showcase your honesty and, of course, to prove that you’re busy with your camera and not just waiting for an enquiry.
Hi there, thanks for your enquiry! I know that planning a wedding is a very busy time, so I really appreciate you taking the time to get in touch! As you can probably guess, this is an automatic reply to your enquiry. I’ll send you a proper reply as soon as I’ve had a chance to check my diary & confirm that I’m available. In the meantime, I thought you may find it helpful to get a little more information about how I work, so below are a few links to some sample weddings and a few frequently asked questions …
Email #2: Detailed Reply To Enquiry
Once you’ve swapped your lens for a screen and are back in admin mode, you can send a more detailed and personalised reply confirming your availability.
Hi Charlotte & Paul, thanks again for taking the time to make an enquiry about photographing your wedding! I’m delighted to say that I am available on Saturday 20th June 2020, which is great news! Why don’t we line up a meeting to talk through your plans and spend a little time getting to know each other?
You can then use different templates depending on the type of shoot. For example, if it’s for a wedding at a venue you’ve worked at before you can refer to your experience there and add a link to some inspiring images.
Hi Charlotte & Paul, thanks again for taking the time to make and enquiry about photographing your wedding! I’m delighted to say that I am available on Saturday 20th June 2020, which is great news! Exampleton Hall is such a wonderful choice of venue for a wedding celebration, and I’ve had the pleasure of working there many times before! Sarah and the team at the Hall are fantastic, and I always love working there – you’re going to have a great day! You can see some of my favourite images from weddings that I’ve shot there on my website: www.example.com/exampleton-hall-wedding-photos Why don’t we line up a meeting to talk through your plans and spend a little time getting to know each other?
Email #3: Follow-Up To Enquiry
If you hear nothing after your polite reply to their enquiry, a gentle email prompt is an ideal way to warm up a tepid lead.
Hi again, Charlotte & Paul, I hope that you’re well and that wedding plans are coming together nicely! I know how much of a busy time planning a wedding can be, and there’s a great deal to think about! I was wondering if you’d had a chance to take a look at the information that I sent over recently in response to your wedding enquiry? I’ve attached a copy of my price list & brochure so you can take another look. Why don’t we line up a meeting to chat about your plans & answer any questions that you may have?
Email #4: Follow-Up To Sending Contract
Email three did the trick: you’ve had an initial chat, the rapport was great and you’ve sent over a contract and then … silence.
If a client is dragging their feet about signing, you could spur them along by sending a polite email reminder. When you get a response, Light Blue’s powerful online contract signing service can do this for you automatically.
Hi Charlotte & Paul, I hope that you’re well. This is just a gentle reminder about the contract that I sent through recently, which you’ll need to review & sign in order to confirm our booking. Please, can you follow the link to view & sign the contract. If you have any questions, please do let me know!
Email #5: Nurturing Messages In the Run-Up To The Shoot
With the contract signed, thanks to your effective email communication, your focus now needs to shift to pre-shoot preparation.
This is your chance to really nurture your client, especially if they’re a little nervous about being in front of a camera. Build on the growing relationship by giving them a regular point of contact, providing advice and offering to answer any burning questions.
You can also helpfully direct them to relevant links on your website, including blogs, to manage their expectations and make them feel suitably looked-after.
Hi Sam, thanks for booking your portrait session with us! We’re really looking forward to welcoming you into the studio. We understand that it isn’t every day that you’re getting your photo taken, so we’ve prepared a handy guide to help you to prepare for the experience. If you have any questions, please do let us know!
Email #6: Excitement Messages Before The Shoot
It’s nearly shoot day so an email sent a day or two before acts to confirm, reassure and prepare.
You can outline what the client needs to do or consider beforehand, e.g. the weather forecast, and start sowing ideas for up-sells afterwards, e.g. albums and prints.
Hi again, Sam, we can’t wait to see you in the studio for your portrait session tomorrow! I’ve attached a guide to help you to prepare for the shoot. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water between now and the session, so your skin looks as good as possible. Also, have a think about the places in your home where you’d like the images to be displayed; we’ll have a chat about that before we start shooting. Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Email #7: Sales Messages Before The Shoot
At this stage, you can also send an email aimed at adding other items onto their package, for example booking an extra couple of hours or offering a discount if they order a product before the shoot takes place.
This highlights both your flexibility and generosity, further building on client rapport and trust.
Hi Charlotte & Paul, I hope that everything’s going well in the run-up to the big day! I wanted to check in with you to make sure that you had everything that you need – I’m currently booked to start at 11:00 and wrap up at 19:00. If you need to add more coverage, then I’ve got a special offer available to book additional time at a discounted rate if you confirm it before the wedding. If that sounds like something that you’d be interested in, then just pop a quick reply to this email and I’ll take care of it!
Email #8: Checking In Shortly After The Shoot
Images captured, the client communication continues with a reminder of what happens next and when they can expect to first see their images.
Hi Charlotte & Paul, it was great to be part of your special day, thanks for having me along! I’m popping an email with a quick reminder of what happens next with your photos. I’ve already got everything backed up & safe and I’ll be getting to work on editing the images very soon. It usually takes me around 3-4 weeks to get the gallery ready, so you’ll hear from me then with a link. If there’s anything you need in the meantime, please let me know!
If they haven’t already booked a viewing, encourage them to do this now so you can get your online diary organised.
Hi Sam, thanks for coming in for your portrait experience! Here’s a reminder about what happens next. We’ll be hard at work processing your photographs in time for our viewing session which is booked in for Saturday at 11:00. We look forward to seeing you back in the studio to show you the images – they’re looking great!
Email #9: Sending An Online Gallery Link
Your editing work is done and now it’s time to share your impressive images. If you’re not having an in-person viewing and sales session then this email is the one they’ve been waiting for: the big reveal.
This one will contain the link to their gallery and a password to access it, along with the opportunity to provide feedback and a review of your work.
Hello David, thanks for booking me to photograph your event recently. I’m delighted to send through a link to the online web gallery where you can view your images. Your feedback is important to me, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on the images. If you’d like to leave a review, you can do so by following the second link below. If there’s anything more that I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note.
Email #10: Keeping In Touch After the Shoot
By now, your client relationship and email tone of voice will be well-established. You know you’ve done an excellent job and have received some great feedback.
Next, it’s time to keep building that loyalty with the aim of encouraging further sales and bookings.
Use your database wisely, analysing customers to assess what products and services could most appeal and to precisely target your emails.
Even if one particular client never gives you another penny, your friendly professionalism could inspire them to recommend you to others.
This email can focus on up-selling albums and other products after the shoot, along with suggesting gift vouchers for friends and family.
And of course, you can invite them to book another shoot. After such a fabulous service and awe-inspiring images, how could they refuse?
Hi Sam, I hope that you’re well. It was so great to have you in the studio for a portrait experience earlier this year – I can’t believe time’s flown by! We’ve got a special offer on right now for past clients to enjoy a free session when they buy gift vouchers for their friends & family. They make for wonderful Christmas presents! You can find out more via the link below.
With a straightforward email template system in place, your basic client communication strategy is sorted.
If you use pre-prepared messages with a consistent tone of voice, you’ll not only save time but can also ensure that a crucial detail or vital stage along the customer journey is never missed.
The result? An organised, friendly approach to every shoot that will foster loyalty, build trust and make the whole experience easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
Straightforward, efficient and time-saving, Light Blue makes it easy to communicate with clients.
Learn more below about how specialist software designed exclusively for photographers can help:
On 14 September 2019, new regulations are being introduced across Europe to protect people using cards to pay for goods and services online. These new regulations are called Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) and will add a requirement for two-factor authentication for some online payments.
The requirement for two-factor authentication means that affected transactions will require something in addition to the card number. Details will vary between card providers, but they might include codes generated by your online banking app, a security dongle, etc.
If you’re dealing with European clients and using Light Blue’s client portal to take payments from them, you will be affected by SCA. However, we will ensure that Light Blue’s client portal is ready for SCA in plenty of time for the 14 September 2019 deadline, and you probably won’t need to make any changes at all.
Keep an eye on our blog and email newsletter for further news!
Light Blue includes powerful email features that you can use to respond to enquiries, stay in touch with your clients, save time, and keep all of your communications together in one place.
When a new enquiry comes in to Light Blue via email or your contact form, you can use an email template to craft the perfect response. Using a template saves you time (because you don’t have to type it out!) and makes sure that you don’t miss out any important information (because you crafted your email template in advance). But Light Blue’s email templates also allow you to personalise your responses, using intelligent mail-merge tags that customise it with your client’s details and always allowing you to add your own touch to the message before you send it to your clients.
When you’re sending an email from Light Blue, we recommend that you send it from your own email account. Using your own email account looks professional and helps your messages to get through to your client. You can add as many email accounts as you like, and if you need a hand with setting them up then we’d be delighted to help.
When a client replies to an email you’ve sent from Light Blue, the reply goes to your email address but it also appears in Light Blue’s Inbox. This makes it really easy to keep track of all of your communications with your client, because you’ll have copies of the emails you’ve sent and your clients replies in one place. This is especially useful if you’ve got more than one person working in your business, because the messages that your team are exchanging with clients aren’t spread out over lots of different systems.
If you receive an entirely new email from a client (e.g. a new enquiry), all you need to do to get it to appear in Light Blue is forward it onto your unique @lightbluecustomermail.com email address. All of our subscribers get one of these special email addresses, and anything that you forward to it will appear in the Inbox. From there, you can turn it into a new enquiry and send a reply using one of your email templates.
Light Blue’s text messaging feature is popular with photographers all over the world. It allows you to stay in touch with clients, and to massively cut down on no-shows that cause your business to lose money and frustration for you! You can find out more about our text messaging service in this blog post.
We’re delighted to announce a new feature for everyone who’s using our text messaging service: automatic top-ups for your text message credits.
With this feature, you no longer need to keep an eye on the number of text message credits you have left. Just tell us when you’d like us to automatically top up your balance and we’ll take care of it for you.
If you’d like to take advantage of this new feature, get in touch and we’ll set it up for you.
Photographers all over the world are using Light Blue’s powerful forms to streamline their workflows, using them to feed new enquiries straight from their website into Light Blue. They’re really easy to set up and embed in your website, and you can also our forms as part of your online booking process.
Light Blue also offers an API that gives you more advanced options for sending information to your Light Blue account. You (or your website designer) could use the API to link a customised contact form to your Inbox, or you could use in combination with Zapier to link a variety of other services to Light Blue.
Online Scheduling tools
Using a powerful combination of our API and calendar publishing options, can be used to link Light Blue to popular online scheduling systems like Acuity Scheduling.
Online scheduling tools like Acuity can allow your clients to book shoots online, based on your availability. The customer can choose their own session without needing any input from you, and the details arrive in Light Blue without needing to type anything in.
This article focusses on how to set up an integration with Acuity using the middle-man service, Zapier, to send booking information into Light Blue for you.
The next step is to link Acuity back to Light Blue, so that new bookings are sent to Light Blue using our API and integration with Zapier.
Zapier is a service that acts as a middleman between a variety of web services, with some services providing triggers (e.g. “a new booking has been made via Acuity“) and other services providing actions. Zapier allows you to set up a number of “Zaps” that link a trigger to an action. We’ve written a Zapier action that allows you to send information to the Light Blue API in response to one of these triggers.
As well as a subscription to our online services, you need a Zapier account. Zapier offers a variety of subscriptions (including a free one) but please be aware that each subscription level will only handle a certain number of tasks per month.
The Light Blue action for Zapier is currently a “private” action, so you need an invitation code to be able to use it. You can invite yourself to use the Light Blue action by clicking the following link: Light Blue on Zapier
Creating your Zap
The first step in creating your “Zap” is choosing which app or service will trigger the Zap to start running. Choose Acuity Scheduling from the list of apps and enter your account details.
When a new appointment has been created in Acuity, the Zap will be triggered.
Select the ‘Send to Light Blue API’ action
Now you can select Light Blue from the list of action apps. You might need to type “Light Blue” in the search field to find it.
Enter your Light Blue API key
When you’re prompted to select a Light Blue account, enter your Light Blue API key. You can find your API key by logging into the My Account section of our website.
Match up the data from your trigger app to Light Blue API parameters
Once you’ve set up the trigger app for your Zap and linked your Light Blue account to it, you need to associate data from the source app with parameters that the Light Blue API recognises.
To do this, you need to fill in the ‘Light Blue API Parameters’ section shown in the screenshot below. You type Light Blue API parameters in the left-hand column and select items from the trigger app in the right hand column. You can use the + button to add extra items.
You can find a list of the parameters that the Light Blue API recognises in the Supported Parameters section.
You should leave the ‘Type’ and ‘Source’ fields alone.
Working with dates and times
Different systems show dates and times in different formats, which other systems may not necessarily be able to read or understand. When adding the date and time for a shoot from Acuity to Light Blue, we’d recommend using the ShootStartTimestamp API parameter and linking it to the DateTime value from Acuity.
Test and then save your Zap
Once you’ve linked your Zap to parameters that the Light Blue API recognises, Zapier will ask you to test and save your Zap. If any errors occur (e.g. you don’t provide any parameters that the Light Blue API recognises) then Zapier should inform you and display an error message that you can send to us for further help.
Help & support
If you’re having problems setting up your integration with Light Blue’s API, we’d be delighted to help you. The most useful thing to do is send some screenshots of what you’re trying to do and/or where you’re getting stuck. Screenshots of the settings you’re using in your Zap are most helpful!
Light Blue’s online contract signing service is one of the most popular features of our online services. It’s really easy to publish contracts for your clients to sign quickly. You need to set up at least one contract template which contains your terms and conditions in order to send contracts to your clients.
We don’t provide any sample contract templates with Light Blue, so you’ll either need to create your own, copy and paste the text from a contract that you already have in perhaps PDF or Word format, or obtain a contract template from a reputable third party.
Only you can know if a contracts wording is right for you, so if you’re in any doubt then talk to a lawyer.
Adding a Light Blue contract template from a third party
Some third parties have created templates that can be imported directly into Light Blue, without needing to copy & paste any wording. There’s a short video tutorial, followed by some step by step instructions on how to import that template, below:
If you’ve obtained a contract template that’s been provided in Light Blue’s contract template format, it’ll be given to you as an XML file.
To import that into Light Blue (you need to be using Light Blue 7.1 or later), click Records > Import > Contract Template, and choose the XML file.
If the contract template also includes an accompanying form template, you’ll be prompted to choose whether or not to import the form, too. You most likely do want to import the accompanying form.
When that’s done, the contract template & form template (if you imported one) will appear in the preferences pane and will be ready to use.
With Light Blue 7.1.2, you can now send your clients to a special form that allows them to opt in to your mailing list. Each of your contact records has a special URL that identifies them, and you can get that URL in two different ways:
If you only want to send mailing list opt-in links to a small number of clients, you can use the %ContactMailingListOptInURL% mail-merge tag in an email template.
If you want to send mailing list opt-in links to lots of clients, you can export a CSV file of contact names, email addresses, and URLs from Light Blue. You can then import this spreadsheet into a service like MailChimp to email it to your clients.
Read on to learn how to use either of those methods of sending a mailing list opt-in form to your clients!
Using Light Blue
If you want to email a small number of contacts, you could send an email to your clients using an email template.
After you’ve queried for the records that you’re interested in, either by using the Query dialog or one of your Quick Queries, then you could send an email to all of those contacts based on a template that you’ve already set up.
There’s a short tutorial covering how to create your own email templates here.
You’ll need to include the %ContactMailingListOptInURL% mail-merge tag in your email template, so that each contact receives their own unique link to the special opt-in page.
It’s a good idea to try sending a test message to yourself first, to make sure that you’re happy with how everything appears & works, before sending it out to your customers.
We’d discourage you from using this approach to send more than a small number of emails, because you can run the risk of your mail host temporarily suspending your account for sending too much mail or marking your address as a producer of spam.
If you have a larger group of clients you’d like to invite to opt into your mailing list, we’d recommend using a service like MailChimp.
MailChimp is great for sending big mail-outs to lots of contacts. You can personalise those messages to include information that’s unique to each person, too. That means that you can include the unique URL that identifies each client in the email to that person.
In order to do that, you need to add a list of contacts to MailChimp.
1. Exporting a spreadsheet of contacts, including their unique opt-in URLs
The first step is to export your contacts’ names, email addresses, and the unique URLs that they can use to opt into your mailing list. You should use the Query dialog or one of your Quick Queries to find the contacts that you want to include in this mailing, and then go into the Housekeeping section of the Records menu and select ‘Ask Contacts To Opt-In To Mailing List’.
Light Blue will give you a preview of the contacts who will be included. You can remove contacts by selecting them and clicking the ‘Remove From List’ button. When you click the ‘Export’ button, Light Blue will export a CSV file that you can import into MailChimp.
2. Creating a special “List” in MailChimp
Log in to your MailChimp account and then, in the Lists section, click ‘Create List’.
Give the list a name and complete the other required information, then save the list. You don’t need to include the “Enable double opt-in” or “Enable GDPR fields” options for this list: the purpose of messaging contacts on the list is to ask them to complete their unique opt-in form which will update Light Blue.
3. Adding a special field to the list for the unique URL
Once you’ve created the list, we need to set up a special list field to store the unique opt-in form URL. In the Settings menu, click on “List fields and *|MERGE|* tags”:
Click the “Add A Field” button at the bottom:
Choose Website as the type:
Give the field a name & tag name (e.g. “Light Blue Opt-In” and “LBOPTIN”) then save your changes:
4. Importing the contacts from Light Blue into the MailChimp list
You’re now ready to import the CSV of contacts from Light Blue into MailChimp. To do that, click Add Contacts > Import Contacts:
Choose CSV or tab-delimited text file and click Next:
Choose the file that you exported from Light Blue. Now you can map the columns in the CSV file to the relevant MailChimp fields.
Light Blue’s CSV file includes a full name field, which isn’t relevant to MailChimp, so you can click “skip” so MailChimp ignores it:
When you get to the unique Opt-In Form URL column, choose to map that to the “Light Blue Opt In” field that you created earlier:
Click Save, then click Next.
Categorise the imported contacts as “subscribed” so that we can send the email to them:
When you click Import, MailChimp will import the contents of the CSV.
5. Creating & sending the email message
You can now create your email message which will be addressed to the contacts in this list by creating a new email campaign. To do that, return to your MailChimp account home screen and click the “Create Campaign” button.
Choose to “create an email” and give the campaign a name (e.g. “Opt in mailout”). In the To field, click “Add Recipients”, then choose the list you created earlier:
Enter relevant “from” & “subject” fields, then click on the “Design Email” button to design the content of your message.
Choose a layout format that you want to work with and start to compose your email message. Click on the text of your email, choose to edit the text block.
You can now customise the text of the email so that it can include the unique URL. To do that, click on the “Merge Tags” button and choose the “Light Blue Opt In” tag that you created earlier:
Once you’re done, click “Save & Close”. You can send a test message to preview how the email looks. When you’re ready, click the “Send” button to send the email to all of the contacts that you imported.