Using Quick Queries to find information in Light Blue

Reading Time: 4 minutes

One of the great advantages of using Light Blue is that all of the information that you need is in one place. That data can tell you a lot about how your business is doing, and help you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

That’s where Light Blue’s reporting features are invaluable, allowing you to use everything you’ve entered into it to give you an overview of how your business is performing and where you need to focus your efforts so that you can hit your goals.

You don’t need to spend ages collating the data, there’s no need to be copying and pasting things, formatting spreadsheets or setting up complicated pivot tables in Excel!

Reports & queries pull up your live data, so you’re always seeing the most up to date information. We’ve got a lot of useful reports already in Light Blue, and we’ve taken a quick look at those in this handy tutorial video:

Quickly finding useful information in Light Blue

This is the first in a short series of articles that will be covering how to make the most out of the information that you’ve already entered into Light Blue. We’ll be looking at how to create your own reports, with some specific useful examples, and also discussing when exporting information out of Light Blue may come in handy.

Before that, I’d like to tell you more about Quick Queries which are saved searches of your current data. The queries are automatically updated and show all of the relevant records that match each saved search. In each of the main sections in Light Blue, you’ll notice a column on the left hand side which displays a set of Quick Queries.

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You’ll see a different set of Quick Queries, depending on whether you’re looking at the Shoot screen, Contacts screen, Sales screen or Purchases screen, for example.

Keeping an eye on your outgoings is important for any business, and there’s a load of Quick Queries in the Purchases screen to help you. You can see all of the purchases that have been made within a variety of periods – all of last months purchases or all of the purchases you’ve made this financial year, for example.

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In the Sales screen, you can see a list of all of your invoices that have been sent to customers and should have been paid by now, but are currently marked as unpaid. This is really helpful for seeing all of your overdue invoices in one place and allows you to quickly chase them all up at once. You could send an email to all of those billing contacts, so you’re not spending ages sending them all messages.

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In the Contacts screen, there’s a few Quick Queries that help you to see when you’ve got upcoming birthdays within your customer base. That’s great for sending a simple “happy birthday” message, or planning ahead and suggesting that they book a portrait session.

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Giving you control…

One of the really great things about Light Blue is how flexible and customisable it is, and that’s what I’d like to focus on in this series. It’s possible to create and save your own Quick Queries, which we’ll be talking about in our next post.

Using the Query dialog to dig deep into your data
Using List View & Custom Reports to analyse data in more detail
Exporting Data from Light Blue for use with third-party tools 

Using price lists to save time in Light Blue

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Price lists are one of the many time-saving features built into Light Blue, allowing you to create a list of predefined products & services that can be used to quickly and accurately enter a quote or sale. They save lots of repetitive typing, or copying and pasting from old invoices.

You can find out how to set up a price lists in our video tutorials section.

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Templated, but flexible…

Light Blue is full of features that allow you to set up templates to save time, but those templates are always designed to give you the flexibility you need to treat your clients as individuals. Price lists are no different.

Sometimes, you may have a client who requests a small change to an existing product or service that you offer. Perhaps you’re a wedding photographer, and they’re not interested in the parent albums that are included in the package that they’ve chosen?

The simplest approach is for you to use your price list, but then adjust the description and value of a product once it’s been added to a quote or sale.

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Keeping an eye on profitability

Another handy feature of price lists is being able to include an estimated cost for each item. These costs are used when creating quotes, and allow you to keep a close eye on your estimated profit for the job when setting up a bespoke quote.

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Offering packages

Many photographers sell packages of products and services, and there are a variety of ways of structuring these in your quotes and sales in Light Blue. Again, price lists can help you to set up them up quickly and flexibly.

The simplest and most popular approach is to create a single item in your price list for the package, give it a sensible name, and list the contents of the package in the description field.

However, some photographers prefer to break the package down into separate items. One drawback of this more granular approach is that this could encourage your client to chop and change things a little more than you’d like, or invite them to scale down their package by more than you are comfortable.

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To avoid that, you could create a dedicated “Bespoke package” price list where the unit price of each item is £0, but you’ve still entered the unit costs as accurately as you can. Then, have another item just called “Bespoke Package”, to which you manually add whatever unit price you intend to charge. That way you’ve got a good idea of your material costs before you decide what you plan to charge for the package.

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