As a photographer like me, you know that time is money. That’s why Light Blue Software is such an invaluable tool in my business and the small subscription I pay for it is the best money I will ever spend each month.
I first came across it when I was at a presentation by Julia Boggio of Boggio Studios in London and I was instantly sold on its benefits.
Light Blue helps me save time on the administrative tasks that are essential to running my photography business and has been a godsend from the first day we installed it in our studio.
In this review, we will take a look at 12 of the key areas that make Light Blue so indispensable for photographers. We’ll also discuss how it can help you streamline your processes and improve your bottom line and ensure you have a successful photography business.
Fundamentally, Light Blue is a comprehensive tool that helps you manage your photography business. It includes modules such as contact management, financials, and task scheduling.
About Light Blue
Fellow photographer, Tom Catchesides started his company Light Blue Software in 2008, after developing the system that ran his own successful wedding photography business. Since then, Light Blue (as the software became known) has developed into a tool that helps thousands of professional photographers across the world.
What are the Benefits to your Business of Using Light Blue?
There are many benefits to using Light Blue to manage your photography business. Perhaps the most significant benefit is that it can help you save time on administrative tasks. This, in turn, can free up more time for you to focus on taking great pictures and marketing your business.
Light Blue helps you run your photography business much more efficiently!
What does Light Blue Do?
You can use Light Blue to manage your photography business in a number of ways.
For example, you can use it to keep track of your bookings and client contact information. You can also use Light Blue to generate invoices and manage your finances. Additionally, Light Blue offers a wide range of integrations with other business tools, which makes it an even more powerful tool for streamlining your workflow and dealing with your clients, and generally making life easier.
What are the key features of Light Blue
1. Contact Management
Light Blue’s contact management ( or CRM system) helps photography businesses manage their contact information. The system includes features such as contact tracking, contact prioritization, and contact history tracking.
Light Blue’s contact management features are some of the most robust in the photography industry and help ensure you keep your clients happy and life easier for you.
The management software also includes a variety of features that help you track all your business interactions with your contacts, including their contact information, appointment history, and task progress.
Photographers can also use Light Blue to send automatic reminders to their clients and staff about upcoming appointments or keep track of tasks that are due or require follow-up.
You can even embed Light Blue’s forms and calendar into your website, increasing its functionality and control.
Contracts and forms can also be set up for clients to access from their browser, making this the answer to so many issues that photographers have to deal with on a regular basis.
5. Shoot Management
Light Blue’s Shoot Management is at the heart of the software. A “shoot” represents a photography event – e.g. a wedding, a portrait session, an external commercial photoshoot.
Light Blue’s job management software allows photographers to enter as much or as little information as they need and it links the job to your main contact. For jobs where there may be multiple business contacts (e.g. a wedding), you can assign multiple contacts, create groups of contracts as well as assign the lead contact.
6. Light Blue Calendar
The light blue calendar provides an overview of your upcoming and past shoots and can be displayed by day, week, month or year. You can create new shoots directly from the calendar and it will even highlight issues where you may have resource conflicts.
Additionally, photographers can link their existing Google calendar and Apple iCal calendars into the view, using different colors to represent the different calendars. Similarly, the software can also export (and sync) calendar entries directly with your Google, Windows, or Apple iCal calendars.
7. Financial Functions – Invoicing
Light Blue also includes its own Invoicing module, helping photography businesses create, print, and send professional-looking invoices to their clients right out of the box. The module includes features such as online payments, automated billing, and invoice print templates.
Light Blue’s invoicing and financing modules are very user-friendly and the software includes a variety of templates that you can use to create your invoices, as well as a wide range of customization options.
You can also use Light Blue to automate your billing process services, which can free up a significant amount of time.
8. Financial Functions – Purchasing / Payments
Whilst this is not a part of Light Blue that I use myself, (I do all my actual accounting services in Xero), you also have the ability to record purchases and payments on Light Blue and assign the costs to a shoot, thereby tracking the full gross profitability of the shoot itself.
9. Financial Functions – Sales
The sales module is extremely easy to use and particularly if you take the time to populate the software with a proper price list for your shoots and products. Light Blue helps keep track of your product sales if you do this, so over time, you can analyze where your best products are and ensure they are the most profitable as well.
Light Blue Helps Photographers Get Things Done!
With Light Blue in place, you can throw away that to-do list pad and consign your yellow sticky note pads to the bin!
10. Task Scheduling
Light Blue’s Task scheduling (or To Do list) options will help photographers and businesses schedule and track their tasks, including their due dates, assigned resources, and progress. You can also set task prioritization, task reminders, and task dependencies.
Resource handling is not just limited to staff, you can also mark locations as resources so that you don’t double book a studio or meeting room if you have a team of photographers working for you.
This particular Light Blue function was a great benefit to us, as before we retired from weddings, we were running a family photography studio with 5 staff and had on average 63 family shoots a month, plus up to 12 wedding clients a month all clambering for space in our viewing suite.
You can also use Light Blue to create task dependencies, which can help you ensure that your tasks are completed in a timely manner and in the correct order.
11. Communications – Email and Text
Light Blue has an amazing template interface that allows you to pre-program different types of stock replies and answers for both emails and text. This can integrate with your Mac or Windows email platforms and you can even pass standard emails directly into your client’s CRM log so you have a full history of communication with your client.
Light Blue also has a built-in SMS Text message distribution platform – this transformed our portrait studio bookings and we lowered our “no show” rate to almost zero by setting up a workflow with a series of built-in text messages being sent to the client, a week before their shoot, 48 hours before, and on the morning of their shoot. No more excuses from clients saying “they forgot”.
12. On and off-line access to your data
While Light Blue’s data is stored in the cloud, a copy of your data is also always kept on your computer, so that in the event you don’t have a working internet connection, you still have no problem managing or keeping track of your clients and keeping your clients happy. Loading speed is fast meaning you have access to a client account in record speed, and get an answer to your clients instantly
What is Light Blue’s support like?
As a company, Light Blue Software provide great customer support and their support team is awesome! Personally, I have found them so responsive to (the few) queries I have had over the years.
The product is also updated and new features are added on a regular basis, with new capabilities added to the software regularly.
Light Blue Software also has an official support group on Facebook which you can find here. Just spend a few minutes in the group, and you’ll soon realize other businesses love Light Blue for managing their busy lives and customers as well!
There are lots of Light Blue Software tutorials online as well.
How Much Does Light Blue Cost?
Light Blue is available for Mac OSX, Windows and iOS. Pricing really depends on how many users you may have in your business. The software is sold on a subscription model and the price depends on the number of devices that require access to the data.
Whilst not as widely known in the US market as the UK, Light Blue will work in any location as it caters to both European / UK VAT models as well as US/Canadian GST / Sales tax issues. Studio Ninja is better know in the US, but having tried both, I can assure you Light Blue is the one to go for.
The minimum price is $25 / £24 for 5 devices which is ideal for a one or two-person photography business as you can install the software on (for example), your laptop, two desktops, and two mobile devices.
10 Devices is priced at $37 / £36 and 15 devices is $50 / £48. As the business is based in the UK, the USD price may fluctuate as currency exchange rates changed.
The best part is you can get a FREE 30-day trial!
Every Successful Photography Business needs Light Blue!
Honestly, you need Light Blue in your life! It honestly can handle almost every aspect of your business admin.
Like any new piece of software, learning it takes time, but the online training provided is very detailed and you will quickly get to grips with it.