updated 02:25 am EDT, Thu May 5, 2011
Task manager, contact statuses, bug fixes
Filemaker-based photography business software Light Blue has announced a free upgrade for existing customers to version 3.1, which features significantly improved handling of calendars and calendar data, contact status flags, a new task manager, custom workflows that can be attached to orders automatically, better exporting, picture thumbnails and improved scheduling intelligence with regards to rescheduling and order invoicing, among other improvements and fixes.
The software handling the record-keeping aspects of the business such as shoot documentation, contact management, accounts payable and receivable and photography-specific aspects such as taxes, organizing photos associated with clients, booking scheduling and e-mail newsletters. Among the new features in v3.1 is a live feed of calendar data for users who employ Light Blue's own hosting service. This enables customers to view their data in the calendar program of their choice without having to publish it.
Small changes have been made to the built-in calendar, including a "hide enquiries" option and an "Show Only My Events" filter. Exporting calendar data for Google Calendar or iCal will now warn users if they have changed the name of the calendar, as this can cause sync issues.
A new task manager and workflow creator work together for improved efficiency, making it simpler to select batches of tasks, reschedule tasks or mark tasks as completed. Being able to add workflows to orders as they are built makes keeping track of which person has to do what task much more straightforward. In the contacts area, a new "Status" field has been added with flags such as "Client," "Strong Lead," "Expired Lead" and others, making filtering easier.
Exporting data has been improved, with a new "quick export" feature that contains sets of standard fields so that data can easily be transferred into common spreadsheet apps. Customized set of fields can still be exported if desired. Users can also now use Command-Shift-N to add new lines to various records. The iPad and iPhone companion app now requires Filemaker Go v1.2.1, a free update from the previous version. Auto-restore login info has also been added so that users don't have to keep re-supplying credentials each time the connect to their hosted copy of Light Blue.
Several new "quick queries" have been added, and numerous issues have been addressed, such as allowing custom field headings to appear in searches. A full list of changes can be found here.
The software requires a PowerPC G4 or higher with a minimum 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM, 1GHz processor running Mac OS X 10.4.11 or higher, and a 1280x768 resolution or higher screen. A version is also available for Windows. New users can register a copy for $455, and users of older versions can upgrade for $145. There is no additional charge for the iOS version apart from the requirement of running Filemaker Go, which costs $20 from the App Store. A free 30-day trial of Light Blue is available from the company's website.