Getting started with Light Blue
We’re here to help
We’re keen to help you to get off to the best possible start with Light Blue, so we’ve prepared a handy guide that walks you through some of the key features that will help you to enjoy Light Blue’s benefits.
Need help? Book a free 1:1 call
Everyone runs their business in their own individual way, and we understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to using Light Blue to help you with managing your business.
That’s why we offer free one-to-one training to explore what’s important to you and help you to configure Light Blue to your needs. A small investment in time now will deliver big rewards later on!Ian, Head of Customer Success & Light Blue user for 10+ years
Currently using a paper diary or online diary?
If you’re currently using a paper diary or online diary (like a Google Calendar or your Mac Calendar) to manage your business, then all of the exciting features within Light Blue might seem a bit daunting.
We recommend that you start a habit of using Light Blue as your diary, instead, as this gives you a solid foundation that you can then build upon.
In this video, Ian and Sarah walk you through how to start using Light Blue as your business diary.
Once you’re comfortable with that, you can very quickly build on those foundations and take advantage of more great features within Light Blue.
1. Setting up shoot types
Shoot types help you to categorise the different types of work that you do, for example if you shoot mix of portrait, commercial, and wedding photography. You will also find it helpful to break down the different types of portraits that you offer, for example headshots, families, pets and newborns.
To start with, just create the different shoot types and give them a unique colour coding. There are more options for each shoot type that let you set up different defaults and branding for them and you can come back to those options later.
2. Creating a new shoot record
Your photography business is built on the shoots that you do for clients, so Light Blue organises everything around those shoots.
👉This guide shows you how to create a new shoot record and add some basic information to it.
This is a really useful foundation that we’ll build upon with more features later.
Spend a little time getting familiar with how to add a shoot record and linking a contact to it. There are less manual ways of adding this information (like contact forms, which we’ll get to), but it’s always useful to understand how to add something by hand so you understand how it all fits together.
3. Adding your existing work in to Light Blue
Start getting yourself organised right now by entering your forthcoming bookings. Once your existing clients & shoots are in Light Blue, you’ll be able to build on them to make use of many of its powerful and helpful features.
There’s nothing to stop you from adding historical information as well, but we’d recommend focusing on the things in the future first of all – you’ll get the most benefit from being more organised with the things coming up, and then can go back to historical information when you have time.
4. Adding other team members and staff
If there’s more than one of you in the business, it’s useful to add your team members as staff. This will allow you to allocate tasks to different people, assign the right person to the right shoot to prevent double booking, and allow you to set different access privileges for each team member.
5. Adding your businesses branding
Branding is important for your business, and there are a few different parts of Light Blue that will be visible to your clients: the emails that you send, printed & PDF invoices, quotes & receipts, and parts of your online client portal (such as online invoices, contracts and forms).
You can use as many different brands as you like within your business, and each shoot type can have its own branding.
6. Using message templates
Keeping in touch with your clients is important, but it doesn’t have to take ages! Light Blue’s email and text message templates save you time and mean that you don’t forget to say the important things. There’s no need to type the same messages out again and again, and our powerful mail-merge tags automatically personalise your messages with the relevant details.
I’ve got email & text templates that cover pretty much every part of the shoot, before and after. I’ve also set up templates so I could reply consistently to common questions.
It saves loads of time by not retyping the same thing or digging through other emails to find what I wrote the last time.Dani, Working Photographer & Light Blue Customer Support Specialist
7. Setting up workflows
Every successful business has a series of steps that they go through to make sure that they’re delivering the best possible service to their clients. Light Blue’s powerful workflows will add a list of tasks and automated messages based around the date of the shoot (or another important date), so you are reminded with a task when you need to do something and important emails and text messages are sent automatically.
Workflows keep me organised and automated text messages have eliminated ‘no-shows’ 100% since I started using them.Chris, Light Blue customer
8. Harnessing the power of contact forms
Receiving new enquiries is great because it means that your marketing’s working well and people want to book you!
When you install one of Light Blue’s contact forms on your website, all of the useful details of your new enquiry will flow straight into Light Blue – no need to type anything into your database!
Your client can get an immediate, automated reply, and you’re able to follow it up with a personalised email or text message template as soon as you’ve checked your availability.
Using a contact form that sends data to Light Blue reduces the possibility of user error when inputting customer information.
It saves me time and helps to keep everything streamlined.Ange, Light Blue customer
9. Start quoting & invoicing
Bringing money into the business keeps the wheels turning and the lights on. Let’s help you to do that by sending invoices to your clients from Light Blue!
You’re able to publish invoices online for your client to pay by credit or debit card, and it’s also possible to send them a nicely branded PDF or paper copy of your invoice, too.
Depending on how you run your business, there will be situations where it’s helpful to create a quote before creating a sale and sending an invoice.
You do not need to make a quote if you just want to invoice a client for something straight away: you can go straight to creating a sale and invoicing it.
Light Blue’s like my virtual assistant. I can take payments from clients without any stress, and I immediately know where I am with a client at any point.
I don’t know where I’d be without it.Rachel, Light Blue customer
10. Using contracts & questionnaires
Confirm bookings with ease by sending contracts from Light Blue. It’s easy to present pricing options to your client, gather additional details, have them agree to your terms & conditions, and even take payment for a booking fee or session fee in one nice, simple flow!
My clients are so impressed with the seamless booking process, from enquiry to filling in the booking form, contract signing, and payment of the deposit/session fee.
It already gives a great impression of my business before I even turn up for the shoot. It saves me faffing and chasing, too!Stephanie, Light Blue customer
11. Record your spending to track your profit
Record your business expenditure with purchase records, this helps you to see how profitable the business is.