Light Blue 2021.2 release notes

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Welcome to your new Home screen

Light Blue’s new Home screen lets you see your business in a completely new way. You can now customise the Home screen by choosing a selection of widgets that give you unique and powerful ways of looking at your business as well as customising the look of Light Blue.

Widgets include the classic “Current Events”, “Enquiries”, and “Task Manager” widgets from previous versions of Light Blue, plus exciting new options including customisable charts, inbox, lists, stats, or embedded web pages.

Sets of widgets are grouped together as Home screen layouts and you can customise their appearance with colour themes. We’ve provided a set of example layouts and colour themes that you can choose from by clicking the options button in the top right corner of the Home screen, and you can use any of these samples as a starting point to create your own!

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Public beta for new Home screen features

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We’re really excited to announce that we’ve given all of our beta testers access to a major update that brings some big improvements to Light Blue’s Home screen.

Light Blue’s new Home screen lets you see your business in a completely new way. You can now customise the Home screen by choosing a selection of widgets that give you unique and powerful ways of looking at your business as well as customising the look of Light Blue.

We’ll be sharing more information about Light Blue 2021.2’s new features when it becomes generally available. If you’re a Light Blue subscriber and would like to join the beta so that you can start using the new features, please send us an email!

A Guide to Questionnaire Templates for Photographers

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Gathering information about your photography clients is crucial to ensuring smooth shoots and relaxed relationships.

The more you know, the better you can tailor communication and select services to suit their unique needs.

But maybe your current system for getting your hands on this important detail is less than efficient. Another admin task to shift your focus away from all the other demands on your time.

Step forward the photography client questionnaire. A simple way to tackle the problem.

Here we explore how introducing templates can help save time, streamline pre- and post-shoot planning, and boost your customer service reputation.

Read on to get ideas and inspiration about using questionnaire templates for photographers.

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How to Choose the Best Email Template Tools for Photographers

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As a professional photographer who understands the importance of clear client communication, you may already use a few email templates.

You know the kind: ‘Thanks for getting in touch. I’d be delighted to arrange a chat at a mutually convenient time.’ Or how about: ‘The big day is getting closer! So I thought it would be helpful to confirm a few details.’

But you could feel limited by your current system. Perhaps your set-up is sounding a little too much like a robot stuck in a Groundhog Day of stilted, formulaic replies?

Or maybe you don’t use any templates and spend increasing amounts of time churning out individual emails to clients, saying more or less the same thing?

Here we’re going to explore some of the email template tools available to photographers. And how the very best can deliver a highly personalised, automated and slick experience for both you and your clients.

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Should You Include A Price List on Your Website? A Guide to How to Decide

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To share or not to share. That is the question. Deciding whether to include a full price list on your website has been a long-standing conundrum for photographers.

Visit some of your fellow photographers’ websites and you’ll see some take the transparent route: they dedicate a page to detailing precise prices for specific services.

Others keep their charging cards closer to their chest: they simply share a ‘starting from’ price and invite prospects to get in touch for a bespoke quote.

But which approach, if either, is right? And which one will best suit your photography business? In this article, we explore the pros and cons which fuel this controversial decision, and share some ideas about how you can experiment to find the perfect solution for your business.

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Using Psychographics to Build Your Photography Business

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Hear the word ‘psychographics’ and what immediately springs to mind?

A terrifying shadow slowly creeping across a shower curtain? The crazy swirly pattern on Austin Powers’ wallpaper?

Nope, this has nothing to do with movies, horror or otherwise. And everything to do with getting scarily high numbers of enquiries to your photography business.

Welcome to the world of psychographics and how they can help you understand what really makes your target clients tick.

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Continuing support for photographers affected by the pandemic

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Continuing to help photographers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Today marks the first anniversary of the UK entering lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we wanted to mark the occasion by reiterating the support that we’ve been offering our customers. Although the situation is starting to improve in the UK now and many of our subscribers are going to be getting back to work over the next few months, we know that many photography businesses throughout the world are still facing enormous challenges and we will continue to do all that we can to help you.

We’re here to help people run a successful business, and one of the ways that we can do that is to reduce the cost of Light Blue for any of our customers who are in difficulty. Since 18 March 2020, we’ve been offering all of our existing and new subscribers 50% off their Light Blue subscriptions. If you need assistance but haven’t applied for our offer yet, you can do so by clicking here to log into your account. We’re happy to extend this assistance until the pandemic is under control, so if you’re not yet able to afford your full Light Blue subscription then send us an email and we’ll extend your 50% discount for another three months. We want you to be able to use our tools to bounce back from this!

We’re still here to help

This has been a challenging time for all of us in the photography industry, so we wanted to remind you that we’re here to help you make the most out of Light Blue so that it can support and aid your business. Now that things are starting to improve, we’re also here to help you bounce back and rebuild your business.

We’ve been helping business owners to make the most of the opportunities that come along, whether that’s nurturing your existing clients with automated messages, helping postponed shoots to reschedule with our online contract signing service, working out which clients you want to market to when things get back to normal, or using our contact forms and workflows to handle new enquiries. If there’s anything that we can do to help you use Light Blue to its full potential, please get in touch to let us know.

Spreading the word

We’re a tiny company, so we always appreciate it when customers ask us whether there’s anything that they can do to help us, too.

Telling other photographers about Light Blue and how we’ve helped your business always means a lot to us! If you know anyone who would benefit from using Light Blue, you can use our referral scheme to give them a discount and earn credit towards your own subscription too.

Scheduled website maintenance

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We’re going to be carrying out some scheduled maintenance on our website servers this weekend, which is going to lead to some unavoidable downtime for our account management pages and support resources such as our knowledgebase.

However, Light Blue’s online services will be unaffected and you will be able to carry on using all of Light Blue’s features while this takes place.

We’ll be carrying out these updates early on Saturday morning (UK time) to minimise any disruption.

Light Blue 2021.1

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We’re excited to announce the immediate available of Light Blue 2021.1. This is a major update to our desktop app that improves lots of the features that you use every day.

Entering shoot details is faster

Adding a new shoot has been streamlined, with the “New Shoot” window efficiently guiding you through the process. Light Blue can also include the shoot type when it automatically generates a title for your shoots, making it easier to keep track of the different types of job you’re doing for your clients.

“I like the new way that workflows can be tied automatically to specific inquiries, saves having to go and choose the workflow I need at that time, saving me time”Jean-Marc Robin

Dealing with form submissions is easier

When you’re dealing with form or API submissions, we’ve simplified the old “Import as New Record” and “Update an Existing Record” buttons to a single “Import” button that works out what you probably want to do with that incoming data. We’ve made it much easier to use contact form and API submissions to work with existing clients.

“I like how importing enquiries etc now checks for duplicate contacts.
Light Blue has always made our business more streamlined, and with every update… even more so.”
Grahame Smith

Crafting the perfect message to your clients is simpler

We’ve made it easier to create emails and text messages from a variety of places, and added more helpful tools that make it quicker than ever to communicate with your clients.

“I LOVE something as simple as the little email and text buttons that make it even more stratightforward to contact clients with ease. I am excited about the workflows as well. THANK YOU for making the effort to make this software more user friendly.”Anita Watkins

When you’re composing an email or a text message, a button in the toolbar makes it quick and easy to insert one of Light Blue’s powerful mail-merge tags. Mail-merge tags are a fantastic time-saver because they pull information into your emails from the record that you’re sending a message from, and having them available within the app saves you from having to look up the available tags from our knowledgebase.

“The latest version of Light Blue makes my admin even easier. My communication has been made far easier by no longer having to go back to the Light Blue website to find the tags to add fields into my e-mails to customers.
I spend less time doing admin and more time doing the things that help my business!”
Rich Dyson

We’ve also made it possible to insert an email template into an email that you’re composing. This allows you to set up templates that you can use as snippets and drop them into emails whenever they would save you time. 

If you realise that you’re composing the perfect response to a client’s query, you can now save that email as a template. This makes it easy to reuse whenever you find yourself dealing with a similar query or situation. 

Preferences & workflows are easier to understand

We’ve reorganised parts of the Preferences window to make some of Light Blue’s powerful customisation options easier to understand, and one of the biggest reorganisations makes workflows easier to set up and understand. 

“The improvements to workflows are great. The latest updates are making this so much easier for me.”Georgina Reid

Workflows are a great tool for helping you to convert enquiries into bookings and deliver an excellent service to your clients, and the new workflow visualiser shows you how your default workflows will create tasks, appointments, emails, and text messages based on the key milestones of your shoots. You’ll find the workflow visualiser in the “Shoots” tab of the “General” preferences, and in the “Shoot Types” section where you can apply different workflows for any types of job that need to be handled in their own unique way.

Workflows now have a type, and if you use a lot of workflows then this makes sure that only appropriate workflows are shown when you’re selecting them. When you’re in the “Workflows” section of the Preferences window, you can also see where each workflow is being used and set it as a default without having to leave this section.

And much, much more…

This is definitely one of those releases that we’d recommend reading the release notes for, because it includes hundreds of small improvements. 

“I love the housekeeping button to tidy up stale enquiries etc. Suddenly my dashboard looks so much neater and manageable. All with the click of one button!”Jenny Beckett
“It’s simple but I like that you’ve added the “preferences” button to the menu bar… it’s such a regularly used part of the software”Bob Foyers
“The Light Blue team listens. If you think that something could be improved then they will look at it and let you know of any improvement and feed back to you immediately in the first instance and later if it is at all useful or just to update you. I also love the fact that they are only a small team. If you need Team LB then it will be there for you.”Anthony Von Roretz
“I would not be able to keep track of my business without Light Blue. I really like the flexibility of Light Blue in terms of its layout and the fact that it can be so easily customised in both how it looks and also performs to suit everybody’s own business set up. It’s invaluable as an asset for my business.”Graham Stockton

A free upgrade for all of our subscribers

Subscribers to Light Blue’s online services can update to Light Blue 2021.1 by using the ‘Check For Updates’ command within the Light Blue desktop app.

If you already have a Light Blue licence, but don’t subscribe to our online services, the best way of upgrading to version 2021.1 is to add a subscription. As well as being able to upgrade for free, subscribers have access to Light Blue’s most popular features, including our online contract signing service, forms, online invoices, and enhanced email and text messaging features.