Light Blue Success Stories – GWS Photography

GWS Photography keeps clients up to date with the help of Light Blue 7Grahame Smith LMPA is an award winning weddings, portrait, and dog photographer, based in Dunbar, Scotland.

After a lifelong interest in photography, and a short lived career as a trainee aircraft technician in the RAF, Grahame (assisted by his wife Allison) embarked upon the journey into professional photography in the early 1990s. And now (with the ongoing support of Allison and daughter Annie), runs the busy, and incredibly well organised GWS Photography… with a little help from Light Blue!

Having used Light Blue for several years now, it’s become an important part of our ‘always on’ workflow… and the new additions to version 7 have been brilliant for us.

We run quite a tight process for following up enquiries… and the implementation of integrated emails & texts has cut out no shows almost completely.

Using templates for emails & texts, we can keep in touch with clients right up to the last minute, without having to leave Light Blue, and having a ‘paper-trail’ of all parts of a conversation in once place, helps with keeping track of enquiries and bookings too.

So by the time we make our courtesy phone call to a client on the day before the shoot, we know they’ve been sent all the necessary information, and are fully versed in how we operate, and what will happen on the day.

Knowing that a lot of email ends up in people’s spam folders, being able to send a follow up text as part of the workflow to say that we’ve sent the requested information has become an invaluable part of the process with Light Blue 7.

Combined with the existing  features – such as integration with Shootproof – Light Blue provides a really effective business marketing, sales and planning platform.”

Click here to try Light Blue 7 free for 30 days!

Building a professional image to your customers with Light Blue Software. 

This is the second in a series of articles written by photographer & Light Blue customer, Nick Church, about how Light Blue has helped him to grow his photography business.

In my previous article, I discussed how Nick Church Photography relies on Light Blue to handle all aspects of my bookings, customers and shoots to free up creative time. However, during the pre-sales stage it is important to give your clients the best possible impression. This article explores how I do this, and how Light Blue helps me put a professional face on my business.

You can be the most talented photographer in the world but if you are unable to offer professional, informed interactions, potential clients may never see your brilliance! It is disappointing to lose a booking because the client doesn’t like your photographic style or your prices. But it is downright criminal to lose one through being disorganised, missing an appointment or generally looking like you are not up to speed on them or their wedding.

After learning the hard way, the first thing I do with an enquiry is enter all the information I have, even if it is just first names and a potential date, into Light Blue. After all an enquiry is just a shoot that has not yet been confirmed.

I respond to requests for package details using email templates. This means I can send branded Package Details to my clients with the email automatically referencing their wedding date and venue. With Light Blue this takes about five seconds, and I can do it while out and about using the mobile app! A speedy and professional reply always impresses, and perhaps the response gets to them before they consider contacting other photographers!

As SMS, Facebook messages and emails start to flow, the details increase. Having all this information in one place allows valuable interactions with your customer to continue throughout the booking process. Before I arrive for a consultation, from my phone, Light Blue will give me all the information from my phone about the clients and the booking. Being knowledgeable about their interests and kids’ names may not seem relevant, but builds a trusting rapport with your client.

Workflows are used in Light Blue to drive your processes to ensure things happen in the correct order and at the correct time. I have set up my ‘enquiry’ workflow to give me a set of tasks with an appropriate gap between them, to keep the client consistently informed at every key stage:

  • The first response to the enquiry happens immediately. No-brainer.
  • The second response is an informal follow up two days later. Maybe you would want to leave it a little longer, say a week. Too soon and you seem pushy, too long and they make have forgotten about you and drifted into the open arms of a pesky competitor.
  • Third, fourth and final chase ups are around one week, one month and 6 months. If they are still ignoring you at this stage, they are probably not interested, but I have had two bookings come back from the dead like this, and given it all takes so little time, it’s worth the investment.

Another workflow can be attached to appointments. When you have an upcoming meeting, you can use Light Blue to add a reminder to confirm with your clients so that all parties remember the appointment. It looks polite and organised, but this feature has saved me a wasted journey on more than one occasion. If a client goes cold, better to know the day before you sit at a venue on your own for an hour.

I have recently started entering the wedding day schedule and any requested shots into Light Blue. I can then email all this information to the client for confirmation, again all on headed stationary with your consistent branding, using mail-merge document templates.

Continuing your customer service after a shoot is important too in fostering future business opportunities. Remembering their anniversary and sending a card might be the difference in getting a valuable recommendation.

Light Blue’s online services provide digital contract signing, online payments, and allow you to create shoot records directly from enquiry forms on your website. This deserves its own discussion and will be discussed in a later article. Watch an introduction to the Light Blue online services

Nick Church Photography might be a small business, but letting Light Blue do some of the admin for me, I can present a confident and consistent front to customers that will match the quality and creativity they will get through my photography.

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Using Light Blue for non-photography related work

We’ve made Light Blue a powerful and versatile tool for running your photography business. We understand that photography businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and with different needs depending on your particular genre(s) of work.

What you may not know is that Light Blue can also be used to help organise other types of work, too. On his blog, Light Blue customer and London graphic designer, Jason Miller, talks about how Light Blue is one of his invaluable “tools of the trade”.

Light Blue is principally designed for photographers, and because your photography business is based around shoots, Light Blue’s based around shoot records, too. But if you swap the word “Shoot” for “Project”/”Job”/”Event” it can easily apply to any other client-driven business.

Light Blue Success Stories – Matt Ross Photography

Matt Ross is a family and headshot photographer, offering a mix of on location, and studio based shoots from just outside of London, in the UK.

After a successful career in the world of finance, working in both the Formula One industry, and for a Big Four professional services firm, Matt brings his professionalism and belief in “good old fashioned customer service” to his photography business, with the help of Light Blue.

“Light Blue has helped me to be a professional business, and equally importantly to appear to be a professional business too!

Being able to send branded invoices and contracts with a few simple clicks, and track and accept card payments online in one simple and elegant workflow has been a massive change, and helped me to deliver an impressive and convenient experience to my clients.

Behind the scenes, it’s great that I no longer have to wait for bank transfers, or spend time manually checking which ones have been paid, with the ever present risk of one getting missed.

Light Blue is my to-do list, personal assistant, and accountant rolled into one.

Without it, I would be constantly wondering what on earth  I should be doing next, and which clients have failed to pay me. My life would be spent doing long-winded admin tasks, such as sending contracts, raising manual invoices, tracking receipts, and apologising to clients for missing things!

I’d much rather be taking photographs!”

If you’d like to add a little extra professionalism to your photography business, spend less time doing admin, and be even more organised, try Light Blue today – free for the first 30 days.

Moving from adhoc organisational systems to a centralised system

This is the first in a series of articles written by photographer & Light Blue customer, Nick Church, about how Light Blue has helped him to grow his photography business.

Do what you do best, outsource the rest

To be a successful photographer, your business needs sound marketing, PR and sales strategies as well as outstanding organisation. The chance of one individual excelling at all of the above is low, and the reality is that we are distracted by admin tasks that eat into the time we spend on taking pictures and improving our creativity. In this series of articles I share the various ways how Light Blue Software ring-fences valuable creative time.

When I started Nick Church Photography I had a demanding full time job. Any time spent on business development was snatched in lunch hours and evenings.

With a handful of bookings and occasional consultations, I was on top of the admin. I had a spreadsheet noting wedding dates, another for finance, a calendar for appointments, and booking forms for clients detailing information about the shoot. All very organised, what could go wrong…?

The problem is that all these systems are unlinked. When the calendar prompted a wedding, I’d have to refer to the other spreadsheets, re-read emails and Facebook messages to get the full picture. I’m sure that some clients thought I looked a bit vague in meetings. The truth is that I was often “winging it”!

A spreadsheet set-up is a passive data store so it must be manually driven with a routine process. If you get a text message while you’re out and just once forget to copy-paste this information when back home you will have major problems and a lot of stress. With bookings, email and Facebook enquiries and appointments I felt like I was drowning; having no chance to come up for air before the next wave crashed over me. My creativity and business development was stunted, just at the time I needed it most.

Then two incidents last year made me realise I had to work smarter. Firstly some good friends got engaged and asked me to shoot their wedding. Thrilled, I gave dates I was free so they could book their venue in the knowledge I’d be available. When they contacted me with their confirmed date, I was not available. The new booking was from Instagram, the one system I had not checked.

The second incident was the nightmare we all dread… Mid-way through a call at work a text  came in… “Hi Nick, just checking all is ok, we’re all at the venue and waiting for you. Hope you’re on your way!”.

I had no idea who the message was from or what venue they were at. Eventually when the call finished, in a cold sweat I ran through my systems to find out which clients would be having their day without a photographer… and wondering whether I’d be facing my own day in the small claims court. It turned out not to be wedding I’d missed, but a venue visit. But I’d still been disrespectful of my clients’ time and I’d lost faith in my ability to run my business in this way.

As with all small businesses, photographers need a return on investment and so when I found a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system that had a free tier I gave it a go. This was an improvement, but it would need a lot of customisation time, and it’s true: time is money.

I heard about Light Blue Software’s platform via my professional network and saw that it had the huge advantage of being written by and for photographers. They know what we need and with the free 30 day trial – you’ve got nothing to lose!

After entering two weddings into the system I saw this was the holy grail I’d been looking for. Light Blue automatically sets workflows, gives meeting reminders, there are sections for wedding day agendas, shots requested, contacts, notes, finances, Social Media etc. Critically, all this information is in a single place and linked together logically. Overnight it replaced all my disparate systems and out of the box it was up and running in 10 minutes.

Yes, it is an extra cost to my business, but along with the likes of Adobe Lightroom it is something that I now see as critical to Nick Church Photography. The time and the stress saved by having this ‘second brain’ is priceless.

In following articles I will be discussing other parts of my growing business and how Light Blue Software allows those parts to develop effectively and smoothly.

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Light Blue Success Stories – Nick Ray Photography

Light Blue Success Story - Nick Ray Photography


Nick Ray is a photojournalist, and wedding photographer based just outside of London, in the UK.

Following his boyhood dream, Nick studied photography at art college, and worked his way up to becoming a photographer for The Times in London, where he spent more than 10 years covering assignments in far-flung destinations alongside some of the best photographers in the world.

Nick carries over his photojournalistic style from work on frontlines in combat zones, and with a number of high profile corporate, and NGO clients, to the world of wedding photography – where hopefully there are a few less explosions.

To help keep things under control, Nick uses Light Blue to organise his shoots from enquiry to completion… and beyond!

“I would not be anywhere near as organised if I didn’t have Light Blue to help me out – I’d still be manually filling out my sales lists in a spreadsheet (the idea sounds archaic now!), and definitely be missing out on sales.

I am a great fan of workflows and I have different ones for each part of the process – from the initial enquiry, to following up after the wedding, and remembering anniversaries. It’s amazing how often a follow-up leads to a booking, or after an event (at Christmas or on an Anniversary) to print and album sales.

Without Light Blue, I’d never remember to schedule all of this manually.”

As well as helping out with organisation and sales, Nick makes use of Light Blue to keep his finances in check too.

“Light Blue makes the process of invoicing and billing so fast and easy – this used to take me hours (and a certain amount of frustration) to do manually in a spreadsheet.

As well as making sure I get paid on time, the financial tools seamlessly enable me to produce a list of sales for my VAT returns, and keep HMRC happy too.”

If you’d like to be as organised, and in control of your finances as Nick, click here to start your free, 30 day trial of Light Blue.