Light Blue 8.1.2

We’ve released Light Blue 8.1.2, 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.

  • Using “partner” as a contact role now supports all of the same features as using “bride” or “groom”. For shoots with a type of “wedding” or “weddings”, this applies to automatically setting the title, automatically selecting contract signatories when you add a new contract, mail-merge tags that use the couple’s details, and the “wedding couple” section in your forms and questionnaires. The default role for wedding couple controls on forms is now “partner” rather than “bride”. We’ve also added %ShootPartner1FirstName%, %ShootPartner1LastName%, %ShootPartner2FirstName%, and %ShootPartner2LastName% mail-merge tags, which use the first and second contacts with roles of “bride”, “groom”, or “partner” (or their localised equivalents) linked to a shoot.
  • Flagged more mail-merge tags as being available in workflow messages.
  • Added a “Mark As Unread” button to the Inbox and in the incoming email dialog.
  • When accepting a contract with a linked form, the form import dialog’s “Import” button is no longer disabled if there isn’t any updated information to import. This makes it simpler to get forms from repeat clients who haven’t changed their details off your Inbox’s pending list!
  • If you’re password protecting your copy of Light Blue, the staff login dialog is now displayed immediately after your initial data download or a client app reset sync.
  • On Windows, the “Check For Updates” command now downloads the installer much faster. n.b. this will apply to updates that you download from Light Blue 8.1.2 onwards, so downloading this update won’t be any faster.
  • When renaming the “Ungrouped requests” shoot requests group, default the name to that rather than “New group”.
  • Our QuickBooks export now includes separate rows for any percentage discount that has been applied to an invoice.
  • %EventX% tags in a workflow email preview could show the wrong value when linked to an event other than the shoot’s start date.
  • Fixed a rare crash that could occur when generating picture thumbnails.
  • Fixed a problem with the “Issue Refund” button on fully paid invoices, where the credit note would be created with the wrong sign.
  • Fixed some timezone irregularities with displaying incoming emails’ received dates.
  • Fixed a glitch where the calendar resource view includes column titles at top of timed section as well as the all-day section.
  • Fixed a problem where multi-date calendar notes linked to specific resources don’t show the note description on any day other than the first day.
  • Fixed an encoding problem that could occur when exporting a tax report to CSV.
  • Fixed unexpected quits that have been reported to us.

Light Blue 8.1.1

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.

Light Blue 8.1

We’ve just released Light Blue 8.1, which builds on the success of Light Blue 8 by adding new features, improving existing features, and squashing bugs.

Light Blue 8.1 is a free update for all of our subscribers. You can install the update by using the “Check For Updates” command in Light Blue (which is in the Light Blue menu on macOS, or in the Help menu on Windows) or by downloading the installer from your Light Blue account.

Improved staff access restriction options

For businesses that have members of staff, you now have much more control over the parts of Light Blue that your staff can access. The new “Restricted” access level allows you to choose which features they can access, so you can disable access to sensitive information (such as finances) or entire sections of the app.

Windows performance improvements

We’ve made big improvements to our Windows app, making it more responsive and improving its graphics performance.

Simplified account password management

Changing your Light Blue account password no longer requires you to re-enter your password in the desktop app. This used to be a common source of confusion, and the new approach also allows you to permanently remove Light Blue 8.1 and above devices from your account without needing to change your account password. We’ve also introduced a new one-off setup code feature that allows you to add a device to your account without having to type your account password into it. This is perfect for adding members of staff or contractors without letting them know your main password.

 

Other changes

Light Blue 8.1 includes lots of other new features and bug fixes. Here’s a summary of the improvements that we’ve made:

  • Light Blue launches more quickly and the Preferences window takes less time to open.
  • The Preferences window has been reorganised, and the “General Preferences” and “Custom Fields” panels have been split up into tabs to make it easier to find the settings you’re looking for.
  • The speed of processing large data syncs has been improved, making the initial download of data onto a new computer much faster.
  • Client portal emails (for example, the ones that are sent when you publish a contract) are now sent from your default email account, so they can come from your email address rather than using our email servers.
  • Form and API submissions in the Inbox that contain a shoot date are now colour coded to show whether they clash with an existing event or enquiry.
  • Orders from theimagefile can now be sent to your Light Blue account and imported as new Sale records.
  • Your current SMS credit balance is now displayed in the text message dialog.
  • Improved our VAT report for use with the UK government’s new Making Tax Digital initiative.
  • Added a preference that lets you choose whether to allow members of staff that don’t have a password set to log into Light Blue.
  • In the staff login dialog, if you fail to enter the right password the existing password is automatically highlighted for you so that you can immediately start typing to correct it.
  • Added a staff-level default email account setting, so members of staff can automatically use their own email address when they create an email.
  • Contracts and contract templates now have an optional thank you URL. If you specify this, your client will be taken to that URL after they have completed the contract (and paid their booking fee, if you’re charging one). You could use this to take your client to a custom thank you page that you’ve created on your own website.
  • When publishing a contract that includes a form, you’re now warned if the selected form template has been deleted.
  • When accepting a contract, the “Mark Shoot As Confirmed” checkbox is now displayed for cancelled shoots as well as enquiries.
  • Added a second confirm dialog to the “Send All” and “Schedule All” buttons in the Outbox.
  • Fixed a timezone-related problem where items in the Outbox could be displayed as being sent on the wrong day.
  • Added a “Copy Email Address” command to the Linked Records contextual menu.
  • Added a “Load In Query Dialog” command to the quick query list’s contextual menu.
  • When parsing an email address, Light Blue now recognises email addresses formatted like “Name [address@example.com]” as well as “Name <address@example.com>”.
  • Improved support for macOS 10.14 Mojave’s AppleScript security restrictions.
  • Added a preference for whether you want to include prices in a printed production order.
  • Added default photographer and salesperson options for new Sale records. When you create a sale, if there’s an assigned resource with the role “photographer” or “salesperson” then they are always used, otherwise we use the new default staff.
  • The “Add New Contact” dialog now includes the contact notes field.
  • Added an “Automatically Check For New Versions Of Light Blue” checkbox to the Preferences window, to give you the option of only manually checking for updates.
  • When you trash a shoot, if its linked contacts aren’t linked to any other records then we now offer to move them to the trash as well.
  • Fixed a problem where the first item in the Inbox could have its details appear to be repeated appear to be repeated.
  • Fixed a problem on Windows where if you have the staff login dialog enabled, Light Blue could quit after doing a database upgrade instead of carrying on.
  • Fixed a character encoding problem with the export financial data tool.
  • Fixed a problem where the EventX mail-merge tags could use the wrong event’s details when used as part of a shoot that has multiple upcoming sessions and appointments.
  • Fixed a problem that could occur when querying for contacts using linked contact criteria.
  • Fixed a problem where un-ticking the mailing list opt-in box in the add contact dialog behaved as if you were ticking the box.
  • Fixed a bug where the contract dialog “you need to add contacts” label is displayed on all tabs, not just the signatories tab.
  • Fixed a rounding error that could occur when using the “Calculate Net & Tax Amounts From Gross Total” button in a purchase item.
  • Dragging an event in the calendar to another date or time is no longer interrupted by the calendar getting reloaded during the drag.

Google Calendar API update

Google are going to be making some changes to their Google Calendar API in the near future. We’ve recently released free updates to both Light Blue 8 and Light Blue 7 that will allow Light Blue to carry on publishing events to your Google Calendar.

If you’re using our Google Calendar publishing feature, please make sure that you’re using Light Blue 8 (any version of Light Blue 8 will do, but it’s always best to use the current version to makes sure you’re benefitting from all of the updates that we’ve been working on) or Light Blue 7.1.8.

Light Blue 8.0.3

We’ve released Light Blue 8.0.3, which is another free update to everyone who subscribes to our online services or has bought Light Blue 8.

  • You can now use the “Add To Found Set” section of the Records menu to add a Resource to a selection of records, and the “Remove From Found Set” section to remove a Resource from a selection of records.
  • Our QuickBooks invoice export now includes the invoice due date and the linked shoot’s title and shoot type.
  • The “Tidy Popup Menus” housekeeping command now allows you to tidy the purchase item Name field.
  • Added .cr3 and .raf file extensions to the list of unprocessed file extensions supported by our picture renaming feature.
  • The background activity window no longer contains an item unhelpfully labelled as “Description” when you first open it.
  • Updated the printed version of workflows to show email and text message steps correctly.
  • On Windows, the staff login dialog now focuses the password field when it opens to save you needing to click or tab into it.
  • Fixed a problem where underscores in contract mail-merge values could appear as \_
  • Fixed a problem where charts section could fail to take percentage discounts into account.
  • Fixed a problem with the “Staff Shoots” report that prevented shoots from being included more than once if multiple staff are assigned to it. Enquiries and cancelled shoots are no longer included in the report.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause macOS contacts to be published to an account other than the default account.
  • Fixed a database error message that could appear when using the Sales list view with both the Photographer and Salesperson columns.
  • Fixed extra text that could appear when printing a contact record.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause an attachment to be duplicated when sending emails in quick succession.
  • Fixed a printing problem that could cause the rightmost column to be cut off the Purchases section of a tax report.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause unsaved changes to be lost when dragging an attachment into an email.
  • Fixed a problem with updating workflows when upgrading from an early Light Blue 8 beta.
  • Fixed a problem where setting a custom label for a contact method wouldn’t display that custom label until you enter the phone number or email address.
  • Fixed a couple of unexpected quits that could occur in unusual circumstances.

Light Blue 8 release notes

Light Blue 8 is a major upgrade to our desktop app. We’ve added new automation features and made lots of improvements to Light Blue’s email and text messaging features, helping you to book more shoots, cut down on no-shows, and free you up to spend more time on delivering great images to your clients.

Read on to find out more about the new features that we’ve added to Light Blue 8!

 

Automate your emails and text messages with workflows

Requires a subscription to our online services

Light Blue 8 introduces some big improvements that allow you to automate the routine emails and text messages that you send. For example, shoot and appointment reminders or enquiry follow-ups can now be set up in advance and automatically applied to your shoots and contacts.

We’ve achieved this by allowing you to include emails and text messages in your workflows. Workflows could already include tasks and appointments, and you can now include templated emails and text messages. You have control over when your automated messages will be sent by telling Light Blue how many days before or after a shoot, enquiry, etc, you want them to be sent, and at what time of day they’ll be sent out. You can preview your workflow messages, and you add your own personalisation or customisation to your automated messages as well as using Light Blue’s flexible mail-merge tags.

Workflow messages are automatically rescheduled if the date that they’re based on is changed (e.g. if a shoot is rescheduled). If you’re using automated messages as part of an enquiry workflow (e.g. to send follow-up messages to your clients), they’ll be automatically deleted when you either confirm or cancel the shoot.

If you need any help setting up your workflows, get in touch and we’ll be delighted to help you get the most out of them.

Please note:

  • Workflow message features require Light Blue 8. If you add a workflow, reschedule, or change the status of a shoot from an older version of Light Blue, workflow messages might not be handled correctly. If you’re going to use workflow messages, please update all of your computers to Light Blue 8.
  • Support for workflow messages has also been added to our mobile app. If you’re using the Light Blue mobile app, please update to version 4.3 via the App Store.
  • You can use most of Light Blue’s mail-merge tags in workflow messages, but a few of them aren’t supported. If you use any mail-merge tags that aren’t supported in workflow messages, you’ll see a warning in Light Blue.

Other email and text message improvements

Requires a subscription to our online services

  • Sending emails and text messages is much faster because they are now sent in the background, freeing you up to carry on using Light Blue while they’re being sent.
  • Emails can now be composed in a separate window, rather than in a dialog box. This allows you to compose multiple emails at the same time, or carry on using other parts of Light Blue while you’re composing an email.
  • You can now use one of your email templates when you’re replying to an email.
  • You can easily add contacts’ email addresses to an email by clicking the new + buttons that appear next to the To, CC, and BCC fields.
  • We’ve added a reply-to field for emails sent from Light Blue.
  • Text messages are now included in the Outbox.
  • The number badge on the Outbox shows the number of draft messages and messages that have errors. It’s shown in grey if there aren’t any errors, or red if there are any errors that need your attention.
  • On macOS, Light Blue’s dock icon now shows you the number of items in the Inbox that need your attention.
  • If you’re using the “Pending Items & Unread Messages” filter in the Inbox, marking an email or text message as read no longer makes it disappear straight away. It will only get hidden when you reload the Inbox or change your filters.
  • The “go to linked record” contextual menu command for emails in the Inbox now includes any contacts that Light Blue has automatically recognised based on the sender’s email address.
  • We’ve improved how timezones are handled when you manually schedule an email or text message to be sent in the future.
  • Images in emails can now have alt text.
  • When you reply to an email that included attachments, you now have an option to include those original attachments in your reply.
  • Fixed a problem where adding a signature to an email reply could put the signature below the quoted text.
  • When emails or text messages are sent or scheduled, their status in the Activity panel now updates as soon as it happens.
  • When you duplicate a text message template, the new template is now named as “[Original name] copy”

Other new workflow features

  • You can now export or import workflows, which allows you to share your workflows with other photographers or import a Light Blue workflow that someone else has shared with you.
  • Added “Add Workflow” buttons to shoot sessions (instead of making you go into the session’s options menu to add a workflow to it), custom date fields, and the appointment date field.
  • When you click an “Add Workflow” button for a field that allows you to specify a default workflow (e.g. the shoot enquiry date), instead of only allowing to add that default workflow the “Choose Workflow” dialog is now presented and the default workflow is pre-selected for you. This means that you just need to click the “Add” button if you want to use the default, but can select an alternative workflow if you want to.
  • The “Add Workflow to Found Set” menu command now allows you to add workflows to shoots based on their start date or enquiry date. Any shoots in the found set that don’t have your selected type of date are skipped.
  • You can now set a default confirmation workflow for appointment types.
  • Added a “Today” option to the list of key dates you can base a workflow on. The “Custom Date” option already defaulted to today, but this new option will provide a more understandable option.
  • Changed the “Delete Outstanding Tasks” command from the Activity panel options menu to “Delete Outstanding Items”. This will delete uncompleted tasks and unsent scheduled emails and text messages, but leaves any future appointments.
  • When you change the status of a shoot from “Confirmed” or “Completed” to “Enquiry”, Light Blue now offers to tidy up outstanding items (in exactly the same way as when you cancel a shoot).
  • You can now reassign multiple tasks to another member of staff from the Task Manager, or change their category.
  • Added an “Assign Workflow Tasks Without Allocated Staff To Logged In User” preference to the “General Preferences” section of the Preferences.

Online contract signing, forms, online invoice payments, and API

Requires a subscription to our online services

  • Shoot and contract forms can now include image and file upload fields. You add these to your form or template like any other field (although they can’t be included in contact forms, mostly for security reasons) and clients can use them to upload an image or file to you. If a client uploads a file to you, the filename will be included in your notification email and in the Inbox, and the uploaded file will appear in the shoot’s Activity panel. Being able to request an image or file from a client is useful in lots of situations, such as asking a client for a picture of a room they want to hang wall art in for a viewing session. Warning: although we’re not allowing image or file uploads in contact forms, you should always treat files that have been sent to you by anyone else with a certain amount of caution!
  • Added a setting to contract templates that allows you to choose whether (and which type of) booking fee you want to charge for that contract.
  • Added support for separate Stripe and PayPal details for each client portal brand, so you can have payments going to separate accounts for different shoot types. Please get in touch if you might be interested in this feature.
  • We’ve added an option to not CC you into client portal emails that we send on your behalf (e.g. when a contract is published, etc).
  • Incoming data sent to your account via Light Blue’s API now includes a date field that you can use in queries.

Fundy client order import

  • You can now import Fundy Design Suite orders into Light Blue. You’ll find commands for importing Fundy files in the Import section of the Records menu.

Speed improvements

  • Upgrading Light Blue’s database is much, much faster than before. In our tests with large databases, it’s now 20x faster to upgrade your database.
  • Loading the Inbox and Outbox is now much faster when they contain large numbers of items.

Inbox and Outbox features

  • The Outbox date filters have been changed so that you can more quickly find what you’re interested in. The “Today”, “Yesterday”, “Last 7 Days”, and “Last 28 Days” options no longer display messages scheduled to be sent on future dates, and you now have “Tomorrow”, “Next 7 Days”, and “Next 28 Days” options that will show you scheduled messages. The default option is now “All Dates”.
  • Added “Create Enquiry” and “Link To Existing Record” buttons to emails opened up from the Inbox, to save you needing to close the dialog and use the buttons in the Inbox.
  • When you’re previewing incoming data (e.g. from a contact form) that includes an email address, a new “Reply” button allows you to create an email to the first email address included in the data.
  • Text messages that you open from the Outbox now display their linked record and can be linked to a different record.

Sales and invoicing

  • You can now export a set of invoices in a format that is easier to import into QuickBooks.
  • We’ve improved the “Issue Credit” button on invoices to make it easier to credit or refund a wider variety of invoices.
  • You can now choose to include the Payment notes field when printing a receipt.
  • You can now choose to include the shoot type on a printed invoice or quote.

Calendar and Home screen

  • Added an option to display week numbers in Week and Month view.
  • We’ve added an option that allows you to display cancelled shoots in the built-in calendar.
  • We’ve added an option to include cancelled shoots in the results of quick searches. This is turned off by default, to avoid cluttering your search results with cancelled enquiries unless you’re specifically searching for one.

Reporting

  • The various data export commands that used to live in the File menu have been moved to a new “Export” sub-menu in the Records menu. This is a more logical place for them to live, is more consistent with the “Import” sub-menu, and removes clutter from the File menu.
  • The list view now remembers any column widths that you manually adjusted, and restores them when you go back to that list.
  • In list view, selecting a quick query that doesn’t include any records no longer takes you back to detail view.
  • In the query dialog, you can now query on the “role” of resources linked to a shoot.
  • You can now use “Invoice Number (without prefix)” and “Invoice Number Prefix” in the query dialog, lists, and data exports. You’ve always been able to use the full “Invoice Number” field in these situations, but these new options give you more flexibility.
  • We’ve added new fields that you can use in queries, lists, and data exports: “No. of Confirmed Shoots” has been added to the Contacts section, “First Appointment Start Date” has been added to the Shoots section; and “Shoot Start Date” and “Most Recent Payment Method” have been added to the Sales section.
  • When you’re running a report, the report options dialog now defaults the most recent reporting period and output options to the options that you used for that report.
  • Calendar notes are now included in the “Today’s Information” report.

Other changes

  • Google are making a small but important change to their Google Calendar API, and Light Blue 8 is now ready for this change.
  • Improved the design of the staff login window to make it more welcoming when you launch Light Blue, as well as clearer in its purpose.
  • We’ve updated the APIs that we use to publish contacts to the macOS Contacts app, which makes publishing contacts much faster (and future-proofs this feature in case Apple decides to stop supporting their old API). This requires macOS 10.11.
  • You can now import individual contacts from the macOS Contacts app, as well as importing an entire group of contacts.
  • Added a housekeeping command that marks any Sale records in the current found set as paid.
  • Notes fields on Windows now have spell-checking enabled.
  • Added a timezone setting to the Preferences window and setup wizard. This allows us to implement the %CurrentDate% and %CurrentTime% mail-merge tags in workflow messages.
  • Added %ShootAcceptedQuoteTotal%, %ShootNetAcceptedQuoteTotal%, %ShootPaidTotal%, and %ShootOutstandingBalance% mail-merge tags.
  • We’ve made our German localisation more comprehensive, and included both formal and informal options to give you a choice as to how formal you want to be when printing invoices, sending contracts, etc.
  • When you set up a new database, we now create a default email signature for you.
  • When you’re merging two contact records, spaces are now ignored when deciding whether to deduplicate a phone number.
  • When linking a shoot to a purchase item, the “new record” button shouldn’t be available.
  • The field label for custom paragraph text fields can now wrap onto extra lines if the label you’ve specified is long.
  • Fixed a bug where duplicating time off wouldn’t publish the duplicated event to Google Calendar or the macOS Calendars app.
  • Fixed a bug where printing a single record from the list view could print the wrong record.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when trying to attach a PDF of the built-in calendar to an email.
  • Fixed a database error that could occur when using an unusual combination of related sections in the query dialog.
  • Fixed a bug where shoots created via the API might not use their shoot type’s default session length.

Light Blue 7.1.3

We’ve released Light Blue 7.1.3, which is another free update to everyone who subscribes to our online services or has bought Light Blue 7.

  • When you’re publishing a contract or form but not sending an email to your client, you can now open the contract or form in your browser as well as copying its URL to the clipboard.
  • The “Print/Send” checkbox in the print dialog now defaults to whatever you last set it to, so if you prefer to create invoices without printing them then you no longer need to un-check that box every time.
  • Added a 24 hour option to the built-in calendar’s week and day views.
  • If an email doesn’t already have attachments, you can now drag attachments onto the ‘Add Attachment’ button. You could already drag attachments into the list of existing attachments.
  • In the query dialog, you can now search on incoming data fields when you’re querying for shoots.
  • You can now query for records that have notes, tasks, or documents that are linked to a particular member of staff.
  • Added %ContactBirthDateDay%, %ContactBirthDateMonth%, and %ContactBirthDateYear% mail-merge tags.
  • Added support for detecting forwarded messages from the iOS version of Mail and the macOS version of Outlook.
  • The dialog for setting up sending a batch of text messages now closes automatically after you send or schedule your messages.
  • When you open the appointment editing dialog, the cursor will default to the start time field if the appointment doesn’t already have a start time.
  • If your country setting is set to one of France’s international territories, we now apply the French address format.
  • Fixed a problem where pasting text into an HTML editor on Windows could paste it in the wrong place.
  • Fixed a problem where you couldn’t paste formatted text into an HTML editor.
  • Fixed a problem that meant that you could only drag-reorder form fields if you kept your mouse near the left hand edge of the list of fields.
  • Fixed a problem on macOS where tabbing into an HTML editor required hitting the Tab key twice.
  • Fixed a problem where reschedule tasks that are scheduled for the same day could fail to reschedule some of those tasks.
  • On some dates, the “Last 12 months” date range in Charts view could show the wrong results.
  • Fixed a problem with the HTML editor that could make it hard to add a space in a specific place.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when opening the Charts view.
  • Fixed a bug where the %ShootRequests% mail-merge tag didn’t include some requests.

Light Blue for iOS, version 4.0

This update brings more of the desktop version of Light Blue’s features over to iOS, including lots of the features that we added in Light Blue 7:

• Light Blue’s optional password protection feature now works on iOS, and if you have a device that supports Face ID or Touch ID you can use that to quickly and securely log into the app.

• The app’s built-in calendar can now display events from the Calendars app, to make it easier to schedule your shoots and appointments around your personal commitments.

• Incoming emails and text messages are now included in the Inbox, and you can use them to create new enquiries.

• The Inbox can now display items that are more than 28 days old.

• You can now trash and restore records from the main sections in the iOS app, just like you can in Light Blue 7. You can access the trash via the Settings screen.

• When you create an email from our iOS app, we now automatically set the BCC to the unique ID for the record that you created it from. That means that – even though the email isn’t sent via Light Blue itself – you’ll get a copy of it in that record’s Activity panel.

• Light Blue 7’s shoot tags now appear in the iOS app.

• Added support for Light Blue 7’s new custom field types.

• Add support for the new VAT number fields that were added in Light Blue 7.

• The new mailing list opt-in detail fields that we added in Light Blue 7.1 now appear in the iOS app, and are set when you import a form that contains a mailing list opt-in checkbox.

• Added support for Light Blue 7’s new Sale and Quote fields.

• If you’re in the middle of editing a field, its value is automatically saved when you switch to another app.

• Shoot and Contact references are now displayed, if you’ve turned that option on via the desktop app.

• You can now create a Sale from a Quote.

• When you change the status or type of an appointment, the app will ask you if you want to add / remove workflows.

• Items on Sale, Quote, Purchase, and Payment records can now be reordered.

• You can now reorder shoot requests within a group.

• Your localised versions of “wedding”, “bride”, and “groom” will now trigger special wedding-related behaviour, just like they do in Light Blue 7.

• Notes in Shoot, Contact, etc, records display more of their text without you having to drill down into them.

• Tasks are now sorted alphabetically within a date & linked record, to match their sorting in Light Blue 7.

• When you add a new contact to a shoot, you’re now asked if you want to make that contact part of a group.

• When you import a form that contains contacts, new contacts are no longer automatically grouped.

• When you cancel a shoot, the app now offers to cancel any future appointments for that shoot rather than deleting them.

• Fixed a bug where deleting a session from the ‘Current Events’ screen would only delete that particular session, rather than moving the shoot to the trash.

• Timezone handling has been improved for items displayed in the Inbox.

• Fixed a bug that made previewing contracts not display properly.

• Fixed a problem where new shoot requests added via the app didn’t have a sort order assigned to them, so reordering them could be unpredictable.

• Added better support for the iPhone X screen, and implemented iOS 11’s large titles in list views.

Light Blue 7.1.2

We’ve released Light Blue 7.1.2, which is another free update to everyone who subscribes to our online services or has bought Light Blue 7.

Like all of our minor updates, Light Blue 7.1.2 includes a variety of feature updates and bug fixes. We’ve also added a bigger feature that will help photographers who are keen to keep clients on their mailing list while making sure that they’re complying with the new GDPR regulations.

New Mailing List Opt-In Form

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 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. To do this, find the contacts or shoots that you want to send this to, go into the Housekeeping section of the Records menu and use the ‘Ask Clients To Opt-In To Mailing List’ command.
  • 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 customise the text of the link in your email templates, you can do so be using a tag like %ContactMailingListOptInURL:Click here to open the form%. We’ve included a sample email template in this update.

Your client portal branding is automatically applied to your mailing list opt-in form, and can customise the text that appears on the form by logging into your account on our website.

You can find out more about this feature in our blog post that explains how to use it.

Other changes

  • You can now customise more of the text that appears in your client portal when clients are signing contracts. You’ll find these customisable text options in the ‘Template Translations’ section of the Preferences window.
  • The following Sale reference values are now available in the query dialog, list views, and data exports: purchase order references, shopping cart references, courier references, client job number references, and quote references.
  • Added support for reading the original sender details from emails forwarded from Outlook for macOS to your unique Light Blue email address.
  • When you’re running a tax report, you now need to confirm that you want to mark the included records as claimed.
  • Added an option to use the shoot reference as the default prefix when you’re importing pictures for a shoot.
  • When creating a Sale record from a Quote, you’re now warned if the booking fee is greater than the quote’s total.
  • Added a “Email & Client Portal Branding” heading to the ‘Printing’ section of the Preferences window. This is to make it bit clearer where you need to go to adjust those branding settings.
  • Revised the wording of the “database upgrade required” dialog to make it less intimidating.
  • Fixed a rare problem where publishing an appointment to macOS calendars could make it appear at 12:00 instead of the correct time.
  • Fixed a problem on Windows where the email templates panel could end up with its scrollbar set to the wrong position.
  • Fixed a problem where clicking the “Save and add another” button in a form field dialog could fail to add the new item.
  • When you’re composing an email, the subject field is now always saved before you click the ‘Send’ or ‘Schedule’ button so you won’t see warning about having a blank subject. (unless you really do have a blank subject, of course!)
  • When changing a form field from a type that includes a ‘Description’ option to one that doesn’t, the description is now removed properly.
  • Fixed a problem that could affect rounding numbers to zero.
  • The quick sale dialog now works with European decimal separators.
  • The ‘add workflow’ dialog no longer gets stuck if you try to add a workflow based on a really old date.
  • Fixed unexpected quits that have been reported to us.

Light Blue 7.1 release notes

Light Blue 7.1 adds new features to Light Blue 7, and is a free update for everyone who’s subscribed to our online services or is already using Light Blue 7.

GDPR-related changes

GDPR is an update to the data protection laws throughout the EU. Light Blue Software already complies with GDPR, and we’re adding some features to Light Blue 7.1 that can help you to comply with it in your own business.

Updated licence agreement: GDPR requires data controllers (i.e. you!) to have a contract in place with their data processors. Agreeing to the updated licence agreement that comes with Light Blue 7.1 forms this contract.

Recording clients’ consent to receive marketing communications: Light Blue has always allowed you to record which clients have chosen to receive marketing communications from you, and we’ve added some extra enhancements to this in Light Blue 7.1:

  • You’ll find a command in the Housekeeping section of the Records menu that allows you to set the mailing list opt-in checkbox for all of the contacts in your found set. If you decide to remove all of your existing clients from your mailing list so that they will need to opt in again, this tool allows you to do that quickly and easily.
  • When you tick the mailing list opt-in checkbox, Light Blue now presents a dialog that allows you to record the date and reason for this. When someone opts in by checking the relevant box when filling in one of your forms, this is automatically recorded for you. The mailing list consent details are included in Light Blue’s built-in contact details printing template.
  • You could already include a mailing list opt-in checkbox in the contact fields in Light Blue’s forms, but we’ve now added an alternative mailing list opt-in checkbox that you can include anywhere in your form that will allow your client to set this opt-in for all of the contacts on that form. You can also include more explanatory text with this checkbox, to ensure that your clients understand what they’re doing.

Including booking forms in your contract PDFs: You could already choose to include your booking form as part of the contract PDF that’s sent to you and your clients once they’ve signed their contract, but we’ve made this setting easier to find and more flexible by moving it into the ‘Advanced Options’ section of the contract template. You might find this particularly helpful if you’re asking clients to opt into your mailing list as part of their booking form, or if you’re including other checkboxes that are relevant to your contract as part of the form.

You can now include checkboxes within the text of contracts: You can now have checkboxes within the text of a contract in Light Blue. When you’re editing a contract or contract template, you can use the ‘Insert Checkbox’ button to add optional or required checkboxes. Required checkboxes have to be ticked by your client before they can submit a signed contract.

When you are accepting a signed contract from the Inbox, or viewing a signed contract from the Activity panel of a shoot, any checkboxes that you included in the contract are listed for you to make it easy to see which options your client chose.

Including checkboxes within the text of your contract could be helpful if there are specific terms that you want clients to acknowledge, or options that you want to give them. For opting into receiving marketing communications, we would recommend using one of the mailing list opt-in options that are available as part of the booking form instead of a checkbox in the contract text, because using one of our ‘official’ options will automatically set the appropriate fields on your clients’ contact records in Light Blue.

If anyone has any questions about including checkboxes in their contracts, or needs any help setting them up, please let us know and we’d be delighted to help!

Identifying old personal data that can be removed: We’ve added a tool to the Housekeeping section of the Records menu that allows you to easily identify old records that you might want to remove from Light Blue if you can no longer justify holding the personal data that the contain. The ‘Find Old Records’ command allows you to specify which types of record you’re searching for, and how many years back you want to go. For example, you could search for all contacts that haven’t had any shoots, appointments, or sales within the last 6 years (or whatever you decide is reasonable). Once you’ve found these old records, you can check them carefully and then use the ‘Trash Found Records’ command to delete them.

Providing clients with a copy of the information that you hold about them: We’ve added a ‘Linked Records’ option to the list of optional extras when printing contact or shoot records. This is particularly helpful if you ever need to provide a client with a copy of all of the personal data about them that you hold, because printing a contact record with this option enabled will print both their contact details and a list of all related pieces of information.

Reduced information option in calendar feeds: Light Blue 7 added a ‘Show Only That I’m Busy’ mode to calendar feeds, but for situations where you want to give someone a bit more information about what you’re doing but don’t want to give out any personal data about clients we’ve now added a ‘Title & Location Only’ mode.

That’s the end of the GDPR-specific changes we’ve made in Light Blue 7.1, but read on to find out more about the other features and bug fixes that we’ve added.

Other client portal changes

  • When you export a contract template, you can now include that contract’s booking form as part of the same export file. This makes it easier to supply a booking form and contract to other photographers, who can import these templates into Light Blue 7.1 in just one step.
  • The emails that we send on your behalf when a client is working through a form or contract are now optional. Contract and form templates now have checkboxes that allow you to choose whether an email is sent when it’s published, submitted, etc.
  • Miscellaneous checkboxes and popup menu choices from a booking form are now included in the contract PDF.
  • When displaying a checkbox value from a form, we now display it as “yes” or “no” (or your localised equivalent) instead of “1” or “0”.
  • When a form that contains hidden fields is submitted, the email that’s sent to you and your client no longer includes those hidden values.
  • Fixed a problem where the “no contacts” warning could be displayed when setting up a contract or form and you have deselected the existing contacts.
  • Fixed a problem where a blank Purchase record could be created when accepting a contract with a booking fee that was paid offline.
  • Fixed a problem with editing contracts where, if a paragraph ended with italic text, an asterisk could be added to the end of the paragraph.

macOS calendar features

We’ve rewritten the way that Light Blue interacts with macOS calendars and reminders. While you shouldn’t notice any changes in the way that most of these features work (apart from loading macOS calendar events into Light Blue’s calendar being much faster!), we have had to disable the old feature where ticking off a Light Blue task from the Reminders app would tick that task off in Light Blue as well.

Do please let us know if you have any feedback about these changes to how Light Blue works with macOS calendars and reminders!

Emailing

  • We’ve added reply buttons to emails that have been sent from Light Blue (you could already reply to emails that you’ve received).
  • When editing an email template, the plain text version that’s automatically saved at the same time now has its paragraph spacing formatted to more closely match the HTML version.
  • Fixed a problem where creating an email to the found set in Mail would only create an email to the first contact.

Miscellaneous changes

  • We’ve improved the speed of loading large numbers of shoots.
  • If you’re using a proxy server, we now encrypt the password.
  • Added a ‘Reassign’ command to the Task Manager options menu, which allows you to reassign all of the selected tasks to a different member of staff in one go.
  • Added a ‘Business Address’ field to the ‘General Preferences’ section of the Preferences window, and a corresponding %BusinessAddress% mail-merge tag.
  • Fixed a problem with the capitalisation of some types of activity when included in shoot or contact printouts.
  • It’s now easier to query for shoots that have a particular tag, because we’ve added a calculated tags field (in addition to the existing option of querying the linked tags). We’ve also added a %ShootTags% mail-merge tag.
  • Added a “Warn If Invoice Is Older Than Other Invoices” option to the ‘Finances’ section of the Preferences window. This allows you to enable or disable the warnings that appear when you try to create an invoice, but already have invoices with dates that are ahead of the one you’re trying to use.
  • Added ContactMailingList, ContactVATNumber, and ContactNameMaiden parameters to the Light Blue API.
  • Fixed a database error that could occur when running an income and expenditure or tax report.
  • Changed the way that duplicated records are named from “Duplicate of ‘original record name'” to “Original record name copy”.
  • The quick search box now includes a wider selection of fields in its queries, including quote descriptions and the net and gross totals of quotes, sales, purchases, and payments.
  • When linking a received text message to a shoot, Light Blue is now a bit smarter about linking to an existing contact instead of offering to create a new one.
  • Added an “Update Linked Contact’s Address” command to the contact fields on quote, sale, purchase, and payment records. You can use this to update the linked contact’s address if you’ve added or edited the address from a quote, sale, purchase, or payment.
  • When you’re editing a text message template, you’re now given an estimated number of parts for that message. The number of parts can obviously change if you include mail-merge tags in the template, because the mail-merge tags will be replaced by real data when you use the template.
  • Fixed a problem where, when creating a task from the Home screen and trying to link it to a Quote or Payment record, the search box didn’t work properly.
  • Fixed a problem where, when using a date filter for the Task Manager other than ‘All Outstanding’, going to the linked record from an un-dated task could sometimes take you to the wrong record.