Why you should always record enquiries in Light Blue

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Because your photography business is based around shoots, a lot of Light Blue’s features are centred around shoot records, too. Whenever you receive a new enquiry, we’d recommend creating a new shoot record.

Recording enquiries manually doesn’t take a great deal of time, and to start off, you only need to record some basic information:

  • When is the shoot?
  • Who’s your client?
  • How did they hear about you? (which is vitally important when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your marketing)


It’s all even easier if you’re using one of Light Blue’s built in forms or one of our fantastic API integrations, because all of this information simply flows into Light Blue’s Inbox.


Following up on enquiries

Recording all of your enquiries means that you can be reminded to follow each of them up. That doesn’t have to take long, a simple email template and/or SMS message can be sent with just a few clicks and will gently push up the number of converted enquiries through the year.


Managing the enquiries that don’t book.

Inevitably there will be enquiries that don’t come to fruition. Prospective clients may respond and let you know that they’re not going to make a booking with you, or they may simply not get back in touch with you.

Enquiries that let you know that they’re not going to book can be marked as cancelled right away. Recording a cancel reason can be helpful for reporting later.

Enquiries that have gone stale can be managed in a few ways. There’s a built in quick query in the Shoots view which will show all enquiries that don’t have any outstanding tasks associated to them – presumably by this point you’d added your enquiry workflow and have completed all of the tasks (responding to the enquiry and following it up some time later).


You may prefer to have a task within your enquiry workflow which reminds you to mark the shoot as cancelled so many days after the enquiry date – it’s a basic way of managing it and you’ll need to remember to disregard and delete that task if the enquiry does get confirmed.


You could create a more detailed query that shows enquiries for a specific type of shoot that you followed up a few weeks ago and still don’t have any outstanding tasks – it’s reasonable to assume that these enquiries aren’t going anywhere and can now be marked as cancelled.


“I get a lot of enquiries, why should I bother?”

By recording all of your enquiries in Light Blue, you’re building up a wealth of useful information that can help to guide your future marketing decisions. Even if the enquiry doesn’t lead to a booking, it’s worth having that information so that you can measure the effectiveness of your marketing.

Using custom reports and the list view – which we talked about in this article – you can see which dates are proving most popular, when the peak times for enquiries are, you can compare this years enquiry volume with that of previous years, you can track your enquiry conversion rate and you can also see which of your marketing streams are providing the most enquiries and conversions.

The more information you have about your business, the more you can do with it and the harder you can make it work for you.

Using text messages to stay in touch with clients and cut down on missed appointments

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Light Blue makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with your clients, or make sure that they turn up for their appointments because you can send text messages directly from within our desktop and mobile apps.

Text messages can be sent to individual clients, but we’ve also created tools that make it easy to send messages to a selection of clients, or send out reminders for the shoots and appointments that they’ve booked with you. Your clients’ replies can go straight to your mobile phone, and our customisable templates make it easy to set up personalised messages using our mail-merge tags.

You don’t need a subscription to our online services to send text messages from Light Blue, and text messaging credits cost as little as 7p per message. We’ve given everyone five free credits, so that you can try it out for yourself.

You can find out more about Light Blue’s text messaging features in this short video tutorial, and we’ll be presenting a webinar that goes into more detail at 13:30 on Wednesday 9 November. As with all of our webinars, we’ll be going into more detail than we can in our short video tutorials and also answering any questions that you might have about our text messaging service.

You can sign up for the webinar here.

(Text messages can’t be sent to US or Canadian phone numbers at the moment. We’re hoping to be able to let all our customers in the USA and Canada take advantage of this feature in the near future.)

Light Blue wins ‘best business app’ award at software developer conference

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Light Blue is built using a variety of software development tools, and one of the most important is Xojo. Xojo allows us to produce native apps that run on macOS, Windows, and iOS, but also to share a lot of those apps’ important logic between all of those platforms. That reduces the time it takes us to develop new features, and ensures that everything works consistently no matter which platform you’re using Light Blue on.

We’re very pleased to have been awarded the ‘best business app’ prize at this year’s Xojo Developer Conference. Tom was able to accept the award in person, and we’re delighted to have won an award in such a competitive field.

Light Blue 6.1.4: an important update for Mac users

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Apple released macOS Sierra last week, and by most accounts it’s a good, stable update to macOS. We’ve heard very little about incompatibilities and Light Blue is running well on it, with one potential snag.
Sierra introduces a new iCloud feature called Desktop & Documents sync. This moves the contents of your Desktop and Documents into iCloud and syncs them across all of the devices that are linked to your iCloud account. While it’s convenient for a lot of Mac users, photographers might find this a bit problematic in that if you’ve got a lot of data in these folders (big piles of RAW files all over your Desktop, anyone?) then you’ll quickly run into iCloud’s storage limits unless you upgrade to one of Apple’s more expensive iCloud plans. You can find out more about how these feature works (including some scary things that can happen while setting it up, or turning this feature off again) here.
More importantly, this new synchronisation feature has the potential to interfere with Light Blue’s own data and file syncing. Therefore, we’ve released an update that moves Light Blue’s data folder to a location that won’t be affected by this feature.
All you need to do to ensure that your copy of Light Blue 6 doesn’t run into this potential problem is to update to version 6.1.4, and we strongly recommend that you do so before upgrading your Mac to Sierra. Light Blue 6.1.4 will automatically move its data folder to a new, safer location:  ~/Library/Application Support/com.lightbluesoftware.lightblue/
This new data folder location is less convenient for anyone who wants to manually create or restore backups, but avoids any potential problems caused by this new iCloud feature.

You can update to Light Blue 6.1.4 b1 by using the ‘Check for Updates’ command, which can be found in the Light Blue menu on a Mac or in the Help menu on Windows.

Versions of Light Blue older than Light Blue 6 store their data in a different location, and aren’t affected by this new iCloud feature.

Using ShootProof with Light Blue at Boggio Studios

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Earlier this year, we launched Light Blue 6.1 and were delighted to be able to introduce integration with ShootProof. ShootProof provides stylish online galleries that beautifully showcase your work, and intuitive sales tools that help you to sell your images to clients. They’re also leading the way with allowing developers like us to automatically gather information about customer orders. With this new integration, anyone who subscribes to our online services can have notifications of new ShootProof orders automatically sent through to the Inbox in Light Blue, from where you can seamlessly import them, without having to re-enter anything.

Our friends at ShootProof got together with London photographer Julia Boggio recently to talk about how both Light Blue and ShootProof are key parts of her business, and how Light Blue streamlines all of the invoicing, bookkeeping, and management processes involved in dealing with ShootProof orders.

If you’d like to find out more about Light Blue’s integration with ShootProof, Ian’s recorded a short tutorial that walks you through how to set it up and start receiving ShootProof orders in Light Blue’s Inbox.

Importing purchases from a spreadsheet

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s all very well recording your income, but unless you also have your expenditure in the same system then you can’t see how profitable your business is.

The advantage of managing your photography business in Light Blue is that everything linked together. It allows you to quickly & easily run reports on the financial state of your business, something we discussed in more detail in an earlier article.

You may have previously recorded your business’ expenditure in another system, or perhaps you’re using some receipt scanning software that produces a spreadsheet of purchases. Alternatively, you may have recurring expenditure in the form of subscriptions or regular purchases.

We introduced a really handy feature in Light Blue 6 which allows you to create many purchase records in one go by importing from a spreadsheet file (.csv). It’s a huge time saver when you’ve got lots of expenditure records to add at once.

Here’s an example of how to format your CSV file, you’ll notice that each line of the spreadsheet represents a new purchase, with the details about that purchase recorded in separate columns.


The formatting of dates and numbers is quite important. You must make sure that dates are written as dd/mm/yyyy (separated with slashes and using 4 figures for the year). You don’t need to include the currency symbol for financial amounts, just the number.

Importing this spreadsheet into Light Blue is really straightforward:


You can choose which fields in Light Blue will correspond to the columns in your CSV file & drag to re-order them:


Once you click import, Light Blue will create a new purchase record for each of the lines in the CSV file, as well as a payment record for the date that you indicated the purchase was paid for.


All of your expenditure data is now in one place with just a few clicks. It’s ideal if you’re moving from an old system or have a record of your purchases in another format.

Light Blue 6.1.3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We regularly release free updates to Light Blue that tweak existing features and fix bugs. Today, we released Light Blue 6.1.3 for Mac OS X and Windows.

If you’re one of our subscribers, or if you’ve bought a standalone licence for Light Blue 6, you can download this latest update by using the ‘Check For Updates’ command from within Light Blue. If you’re using a Mac, you’ll find this command in the ‘Light Blue’ menu. If you’re using Windows, it will be in the ‘Help’ menu.

Light Blue 6.1.3 includes the following changes:

  • Forms that have been submitted but not imported into Light Blue can now be printed via the linked shoot’s Activity panel.
  • Fixed a problem where some mail-merge tags that contained special characters could fail to work properly in contracts.
  • We’ve changed the “Your details” heading in our sample wedding booking forms to “Wedding couple’s details”.
  • You can now use all of the usual date options when using the ‘Email Date’ field in the query dialog.
  • Appointments that have been created but not linked to any other records can now be edited via the calendar.
  • Fixed a problem that could prevent our licence agreement from being displayed on Windows.
  • Fixed a problem that could occur when trying to link a shoot that doesn’t exist to a purchase item.
  • Fixed a problem that could prevent you from importing an MPA Cherubs data file that contains inconsistent data.
  • When you delete incoming data via the Inbox, any associated form is now always deleted as well.
  • Fixed a problem where, on Windows, changing the price list in a sale or quote item dialog failed to take effect until the dialog was closed and reopened.
  • We’ve fixed any unexpected quits that have been reported to us.

We’ve also been continuing to update our client portal, and have recently made the following changes live:

  • Required fields are more prominent and, if they haven’t all been filled in, an explanation is included next to the disabled ‘Submit’ button.
  • ‘Wedding Couple’ controls on forms now always require two contacts to be added.
  • Added a drop-down menu to time controls, to make it easier for clients to enter times correctly.
  • When a client adds new contacts to a form, they now appear in the correct order in Light Blue Inbox and in the email that’s sent to you.
  • When using a popup contact form, clicking the ‘Submit’ button scrolls you back to the top of the page to ensure that the thank you page is visible.
  • Popup contact forms are now reloaded if you close and reopen them.

Compatibility with macOS Sierra and iOS 10

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In a couple of weeks, Apple are going to be releasing macOS Sierra (yes, they really have stopped called it “Mac OS X”) and iOS 10. Because many of our customers like to upgrade their Macs, iPhones, and iPads as soon as new operating systems become available, we’ve been testing the latest versions of our apps with both new operating systems.

The good news is that Light Blue 6.1.2 seems to work well with macOS Sierra, and our new iOS app appears to be working well with iOS 10. However, we can never be entirely sure that Apple won’t change something before the release of either operating system, so please read on for the important health warning…

Health warning

As with all major operating system updates, it is a very sensible idea to be cautious about updating all of your computers and mobile devices at the same time. Although our testing of Light Blue 6 and version 3 of our iOS app has been positive so far, there is every chance that Apple could change something that breaks compatibility or that we’ve missed something because we can’t test every conceivable combination of devices and settings.

If you rely on Light Blue to run your business, we would therefore recommend holding off from updating your operating system as soon as the latest versions of macOS and iOS come out. At the very least, if you absolutely must update on day one, make sure that you have at least one computer and iOS device on the ‘old’ operating system until you’ve had a chance to test that all of the features that you depend on are fully functional.

Also, please note that our testing has been has been focussed on the latest versions of our desktop and mobile app. The vast majority of our customers are already using Light Blue 6.1.2 and version 3 of our iOS app, and if you’re using older version of either the desktop or mobile app then please update to the latest version to ensure that you’re able to take advantage of all of the new features and bug fixes that we’ve been adding. You can update the desktop app by using the ‘Check for updates’ command (in the ‘Light Blue’ menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the ‘Help’ menu if you’re using it on Windows), and you can update the iOS app via the App Store.

Light Blue for iOS, version 3.0

Reading Time: 8 minutes


We’re pleased to announce a major update to our iOS app, Light Blue for iOS 3.0, which brings huge improvements to Light Blue for iPhone and iPad users.

Helping you to run your photography business on the go

Version 3 of our mobile app has been rewritten to be faster, easier to use, and bring across some of the most popular features from the Mac OS X and Windows versions of Light Blue. The feedback from our beta testers has been excellent, and we’re very happy to be able to give all of our customers access to the new app today.

As well as a comprehensive redesign, one of the major improvements in the new app is that it syncs your data without interrupting your ability to use the app. This means that, if you need to look something up quickly, you can just dip into the app and do so without having to wait for it to finish syncing your latest changes. It also means that, as soon as you make any changes, they’re synced straight back up to your Light Blue account without you having to remember to manually trigger a sync.

Of course, syncing the app with your account requires an internet connection, but connectivity can be hard to come by when you’re out on a shoot or at a meeting. The beauty of Light Blue being an app rather than a service that you use via a website is that all of your data is stored on your iPhone or iPad, and that you can carry on using it even when you don’t have an internet connection or find yourself with poor data coverage. Any changes that you make while you’re offline are saved locally, and when you get back into mobile or wifi coverage then you can just launch the app again to sync any changes you made while you were offline up to your account.

Our new mobile app includes many new and improved features, but here’s a quick overview of some of the most important additions.


Adding a calendar view was one of the most popular feature requests for our mobile app, and this update includes a really helpful one. The calendar gives you a great overview of your bookings and enquiries, and brings over all of the colour-coding of events that you set up in the desktop version of Light Blue so you can quickly see what kind of bookings you’ve got on any given day.

You can also add events directly to the calendar, which makes it easy to search through your diary for an available date and book new enquiries in when you’re out of the office.


Task manager

Light Blue’s task manager is now available in our mobile app, allowing you to keep on top of your to-do list when you’re out and about. You can also schedule in new tasks (including using workflows to quickly add a whole series of tasks to a shoot), so if inspiration strikes when you’re out and about then you can quickly set up reminders from within the app.


Contracts & forms

One of Light Blue’s most popular features is our online contract & booking form system, and our new mobile app lets you publish contracts and forms from your iPhone or iPad. You can have these contracts & forms emailed to your client, just like you do from the desktop app, or you can open them up right there on your device.

So, if you’re at a meeting with a client and they decide to book you, you can add one of your contract templates to that client’s shoot, open up the published contract on your iPad, and hand it over to your client so that they can sign it right there and then. Our beta testers tell us that doing this with the Apple Pencil and an iPad Pro is particularly impressive in client meetings.

Because our online contracts and forms are hosted on our servers, you’ll need an internet connection to be able to use these features in our mobile app.


Publishing invoices

Our new app can also make use of Light Blue’s online invoice payment service, so you can create invoices in the app and send them to your client for payment online.

This great feature allows you invoice a client for a job as soon as you’ve finished it, maybe even before you’ve left the location. You’ve got access to all of the price lists that you’ve set up in the desktop app, so it’s quick and easy to build an invoice without having to go back into the office.


Light Blue’s Inbox is used to turn messages you’ve received from your contact form into a new enquiry, accept signed contracts, and process payments that have been made online. All of these features have been brought over to our new mobile app, which allows you to handle even more of your admin quickly and easily while you’re on the road.

For example, if you’ve got your contact form set up to send new messages to your Light Blue account, you can use the Inbox on your iPhone to create a new Shoot record when a new enquiry comes in. You can then use one of the email templates that you’ve set up in the desktop version of Light Blue to quickly respond to your prospective client by creating a new email in Apple’s Mail app.

One feature that we haven’t been able to bring across from the desktop app’s Inbox is importing emails, because iOS apps are tightly controlled and isolated from each other and therefore we can’t import emails from the Mail app. However, we’re working on plans that might eventually allow us to add this feature in a future update.

And much more…

These are just a few of the most important improvements that we’ve made in our new iOS app. You can find out more, and see it in action, in some of the new video tutorials that we’ve recorded:

We’ll also be going into more detail in our webinars. You can find a list of our forthcoming webinars, plus recordings of previous ones, in the Help section of our website.

How to get it

Our new iOS app is available to all of our subscribers via the App Store. You can either use this link to go straight to the app, or search for it by its full name: “Light Blue – business management software for photographers”. If you already have the old app installed, you can upgrade to the new version via the App Store (or if you’ve turned on automatic updates, it might already have been upgraded for you!).

The app is a free download from the App Store, but requires a subscription to our online services. Each iPhone and iPad you connect to your Light Blue account counts towards the number of devices on your account. For example, if you want to use Light Blue on a desktop computer, a laptop, an iPhone, and an iPad, that’s a total of four devices so you’ll need to be on our plan that allows you to use up to five devices on your account.

You can upgrade your subscription to add more devices by logging into your account on our website and using the “change your number of devices” link.

What about Android?

Although most of our customers seem to prefer using iPhones and iPads, we’re very keen to make Light Blue available on as many mobile devices as possible.

Previously, it’s been very hard for a small team like ours to produce apps for Android as well as iOS. However, one of the main reasons why we’ve undertaken this huge project to rewrite our iOS app is because we wanted to lay the groundwork for making Light Blue available on Android.

You can read more about our plans for Android in this blog post.

Bringing Light Blue to Android

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Although most of our customers seem to prefer using iPhones and iPads, we’re very keen to make Light Blue available on as many mobile devices as possible. Currently, it’s only available on iOS, but we are planning to bring Light Blue to Android.

Our original iOS app was written by a team of external developers and, although it had some useful features, both us and our customers had a long list of frustrations with it.

One of our key frustrations was that the app was written in a way that would make it hard to bring it to Android. Android development is already more problematic than building iOS apps for a number of reasons, including the wide variety of devices that it runs on, the fact that many of those devices aren’t able to be upgraded to the latest versions of Android, and that we weren’t able to reuse any of the code that we’d built for our Mac OS X, Windows, or iOS apps. For a small team like ours, we have to concentrate our resources on building features that benefit the majority of our customers, and that meant prioritising iOS ahead of Android because Android development was so much more difficult for us.

Our new iOS app has been developed entirely in-house, and rewritten from the ground up. This has allowed us to rebuild it in a way that should make it more feasible for us to build an Android app that shares many of the same features. Once we’ve finished launching our new iOS app and the forthcoming Light Blue 7 desktop app, we’re hoping to be able to start working on bringing our mobile app to Android.

As always, we can’t make any promises about future features, including release dates. Building our new iOS app was a huge project, and bringing it to Android is going to be an even bigger challenge. There’s a lot that can go wrong with a project like this, and we’re going to be dependent on a lot of factors that are outside our control.

However, we want to remind our Android-using customers that they’re important to us, and that we’re keen to make sure that you’ll be able to access Light Blue via your mobile devices. We’re working hard towards that goal, and our new iOS app is a big step towards that.