“Rebooting Your Business Brain” is headed “down under.”

I’m getting ready to head to New Zealand and Australia!
I’ve been invited to deliver “Rebooting your Business Brain” to the Auckland chapter of the AIPA. Modern marketing practices need to take into account that a visitor can come to one’s site from ANYWHERE in the world. Being more cognizant of local buyers’ preferences and expectations is important when developing a broad vision marketing plan.

I love having the chance to talk to creative image makers in other parts of the world. Both sides of the conversation are immeasurably enriched by sharing what it’s like in our own backyards. We’ll see our differences… but more importantly, we’ll get to see how much we’re all the same; we all share so many similar concerns and aspirations.

I hope to be able to post from the road.

Watch this space!

“Rebooting Your Business Brain” heads to Charlotte, NC on Nov. 7th, 2008

I’m presenting my newest talk which is filled with updated strategies that you have to have to survive in today’s always-on, short attention span, business environment.

“Re-Booting Your Business Brain:

21st-Century Marketing Tips for Photographers Who Weren’t Born Yesterday”

-on Friday evening Nov. 7th, 2008 to the Charlotte, NC chapter of the APA. The program event will be at Blackbox Studios, 3120 Latrobe Dr, Ste 250, Charlotte, NC.

Come and register for your chance to win one of these valuable door prizes :

–Agency Access is giving away a Northeast Membership and 1000 free email credit package valued at $725.

-LiveBooks is giving away an $800 credit toward a LiveBooks site.

I’ll also be offering one-on-one portfolio/web site review sessions. Get a tighter edit of your work or get some valuable advice on your marketing strategy. Early-bird discounts are still available.

Then back to CHICAGO:

-on Wednesday evening, Nov. 12th, 2008 to the Chicago chapter of the ASMP Chicago/Midwest. The event will be held in downtown Chicago at Harrington College of Design, 200 West Madison, 2nd floor, Chicago, IL 60606
-on Tuesday evening, June 9th, 2009 to the New England chapter of the ASMP. Venue details to be determined.

Generous program sponsorship support is been provided by Agency Access and LiveBooks

I will be available for private portfolio/web site consultations the days surrounding each regional speaking event –as well as during my visit to NYC– for anyone who wants to meet with me, but wasn’t able to snag one of the free sessions.
Appointments can be made by contacting me directly.

Why participating in democracy helps your photo business.

If you overcame cynicism, laziness, or an excuse that
you were “too busy with work” to go stand in line to
vote, you’ve already demonstrated some of the skills
necessary to your help your photo business thrive.

Being proactive is essential to any business
success-but it is critical to surviving in a down

The drama of the November 4th National Election Day
provides a real-world lesson in the value of
pro-activity. Any time it’s easier for you not to act,
and yet you go ahead and take action, you’re actually
build your photo marketing muscles.

Many of my clients told me they stood in line–some
for hours– to cast their ballots because they were
emotionally involved in this presidential race. They
overcame the gravitational pull of staying comfortably
inside and watching others do the work of civic duty.

Those who don’t usually vote in every election voted
this time because of an emotional involvement in
the outcome. Some are voting because they imagine, and
want to help usher in, a brighter future. Some are
voting because they’re afraid of what might happen if
too many people also fail to vote. Hope and fear are
powerful tools used to make someone act.

You’ve watched the politicians use this technique to
get out the vote. Why not use the same technique on

Recognize the power of emotion to overcome inertia.

Use the energy of emotion to jump start your marketing
plans: imagine where you’d be this time next year if
you only market when the mood strikes or when you’re
slow. Not a rosy picture? Now imagine the result in
your business if you spent a year engaging in small,
but daily, marketing actions.
Overcome your doubts,
confusion, hesitation and sheer procrastination by
whichever emotion motivates you the most. My personal
preference is to use hope, but “your mileage may

Even though some voters recognize that one
vote might not make that much of a difference, a larger part of
them argues “yes… but many small actions (votes) DO
add up to a result that I’d like to see happen.” So
they take action.

That same belief is an essential part of any
successful business. It’s easy to stay at home and
just react to what other people’s votes create. Opt
out of acting long enough and regularly enough and
pretty soon your life is being created for you–
instead of you participating in its creation.

If you regularly choose action over reaction, you’re in a much
better position to get new business when the economic
cycles rebound.
Take time now to actively engage in
building your marketing muscles. Keep your brand in
front of your clients.

Just like the vote you cast today contributes to a
change our presidential leadership, small actions
added together create a completely different business
result than inaction. Commit to do one action each day
that you’d always slacked off on before.

Need a suggestion? Here are some powerful actions you
can take to create positive change in your business’s
bottom line: clean-up and update your mailing list,
reconnect with clients you’ve not spoken to in months,
update your web site; update your search engine
optimization strategies; research new client’s contact
info; build and data enter that information into a
database to effectively track your marketing calls and
the results; etc., etc.

I hope today you’ll use the power of taking
action: first by voting and then by strengthening your
marketing habits.

All the Best,
P.S. Note to my subscribers in the Charlotte, NC
area: In case you’ve not already heard, on
Friday, Nov. 7th, I’m presenting my latest
marketing talk: “Rebooting your Business Brain:
21st-century Marketing Strategies for
photographers who weren’t born yesterday” to the
local chapter of the APA. I’ll also be offering
portfolio reviews. Info is posted in the “UPCOMING EVENTS”


I’m headed to NYC on 10/22/08 to attend PhotoPlusExpo which is being held Oct. 23-25, 2008 in NYC in the Javits Center.
If you’re curious about what it’s like to work with a consultant, a number of other photo consultants and I will be doing a limited number of FREE portfolio reviews on the trade show floor.

My free sessions will be held:

– Thursday morning from 11:00 a.m. to noon on Oct. 23rd at the LiveBooks booth #554 and again

-Friday, Oct. 24th from 3:00pm to 4:00pm at the LiveBooks booth#554

-Saturday Oct. 25th from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30pm at the ASMP booth #2113

I’m also giving a keynote speech at 10:00 a.m. on Oct. 25th at the ASMP National Members meeting which will be held at at Splashlight Studios in NYC.

I’m presenting my newest talk: “Re-Booting Your Business Brain: 21st-Century Marketing Tips for Photographers Who Weren’t Born Yesterday”
-on Friday evening Nov. 7th, 2008 to the Charlotte, NC chapter of the APA. The program event will be at Blackbox Studios, 3120 Latrobe Dr, Ste 250, Charlotte, NC.
-on Wednesday evening, Nov. 12th, 2008 to the Chicago chapter of the ASMP Chicago. The event will be held in downtown Chicago at Harrington College of Design, 200 West Madison, 2nd floor, Chicago, IL 60606
-on Tuesday evening, June 9th, 2009 to the Boston chapter of the ASMP. Venue details to be determined.

Generous program sponsorship support is been provided by Agency Access and LiveBooks

I will be available for private porfolio/web site consultations the day before, the morning of, and the day after each regional speaking event as well as during PhotoPlus Expo for anyone who wants to meet with me but wasn’t able to snag one of the free session.
Appointments can be made by contacting me directly.

Orphan works just passed in the Senate. Stop it in the House!

The following alert was sent to ASMP members over the weekend.

I urge all of you, ASMP member or not, who have not yet contacted your
Representative to do so immediately.

If you’re not familiar with the history of the Orphan Works amendment
to the Copyright Act, you can read more about it by visiting

Time is of the essence. Please take action now!


As we feared, the Senate moved quickly on its Orphan Works bill. The
bill was approved on a voice vote.

That means that you should now focus all your effort on your
As you know, other industries are lobbying hard,
right now, to persuade the House to adopt the language of the Senate
bill. This would not be good for photographers.

Please e-mail or call your Representative today and ask him or her to
oppose the adoption of S. 2913 or its language in the House.
You can
find the name and contact information for your Representative at
The list contains telephone numbers and links to send electronic
communications to your Representative.

You can find a letter that you can copy, paste, edit and send to your
Representative, at

Please feel free to change the wording as you wish.

If you prefer to telephone, your message is simple: Please oppose any
efforts to adopt S. 2913 or its language.

The time to act is now.

PhotoShelter ends its stock business on 9/11/08

Today PhotoShelter announced it will cease its stock image licensing business model. Competing against behemoth stock agency Getty Images proved too difficult. It will continue with its image archiving service.

What companies will remain to challenge the trend of domination and consolidation?


Balancing against Burn-Out

In This Issue: Balancing against Burnout
Potts’ Marketing Guide
the Online Marketing Newsletter
for Professional Photographers and other Creative

Word count for this issue: approx. 720
Approximate time to read: Just about 4 minutes

Creating Balance, Filling the Well, Increasing

I’ve just returned from my annual “start-my-year-off
right-by-sharpening-the-saw ” road trip. “Sharpening
the saw” is a phrase I picked up from author Steven
Covey. In his best-selling “7 Habits of Highly
Effective People” series of inspirational productivity
and management books, he talks about the importance to
keeping your “tools” sharp.

He reminds readers that to operate at your highest and
best levels, you have to remember to keep yourself
sharp- not just in your external career tools (e.g.
using the latest digital gear and software); you have
to keep sharpening your internal tools as well.

Truly effective individuals deliberately take the
necessary time away from their day-to-day career
demands to put time in on maintaining and evolving
their “inner tools.” These tools include: patience;
objectivity; better listening skills; pro-activity;
resourcefulness; and most importantly in our
industry: creativity. All these skills can be renewed
by regular breaks.

Over the course of my career as an artists’ agent, I
found that the greatest danger- and quickest route to
career self-sabotage- was to not take the time away
from the fast-paced, high-stress world of my work. In
advertising photography, that high-stress pace was
constant and never-ending.

During the first 5 years of my career I never took a
vacation. It wasn’t a conscious decision not to take a
break- I just never made the conscious decision TO
take one. The end result of that decision was I became
a crabby victim of job burn-out. It negatively
affected all of my relationships and led to my first
professional “divorce.”

I was completely blind to the toll that living without
a “time out” was taking on me. When you’re in the
middle of something like that, others can see what
kind of stress monkey you’re becoming, but you usually
cannot. Without the awareness of who we’re being and
its toll on our work productivity (and relationships),
it’s unlikely we’ll have the motivation for changing
our circumstances. I was in it so deep, I couldn’t see

Ironically, a few years later (after I started taking
breaks), I was no longer in it- but I could now
clearly see it in others. One of my most successful
photographers started down his own road to burn-out
and self-sabotage. I could see the stress and burn-out
creeping into and eroding his creativity and
problem-solving abilities. The success we had in
shooting lots of assignments was not getting balanced
with any rejuvenating breaks.

Our relationship suffered. He was not producing his
best work and the creative “well” began to run dry. He
wasn’t able to produce the necessary new portfolio
samples I needed to sell him. Only a major recession
in the ad industry provided the necessary break in his
day-to-day unhealthy habits. Unfortunately, that
break was filled with fear and resistance instead of
relief and relaxation. Not a significantly
regenerative experience…

Only after experiencing first hand the net effects of
taking time to “re-fill the well” with the renewing
gifts of relaxation and appreciation, was I able to
notice that the most successful and happy creative
professionals also took regular breaks for renewal. A
break in a well-entrenched routine is one of the
essential ground springs of creativity.

It almost seems counter-intuitive to take a break from
looking for work, but when you do, you often will be
surprised by the seemingly “coincidental” sources of
help and inspiration that come your way. I’ll be
sharing some of those stories from my own life and
others’ in upcoming issues. I hope those stories will
inspire you to actually commit to scheduling one of
those essential re-fueling breaks this year.
Let yourself experience some magic in your life.

Trust me. I know that changing long-standing habits
can be a challenge. However, I’ve found that by
starting small and making it a daily routine, large
changes can be accomplished. In future issues I’ll
also share some of the best resources I’ve found that
make new habits actually ‘stick.’

E.g. how difficult would it be to take a 10-min. break
(today!) to take a brisk walk around the block? Don’t
take your cell phone or iPod with you. Just
consciously observe your neighborhood environment. Try
starting with just one session/day. Notice how much
more energy and focus you have for work when you
return to your computer.

When you’re confident about how these small actions
can yield big productivity results, you can finally
commit to scheduling one of those “refilling-the-well”
vacation breaks and enjoy its rewards.

Time for my 10-minute walk……

All the Best,

National Press talks about Commoditization of Photo Biz

Just saw this link in the APAnet forum about yesterday’s Business Week article entitled:”Cheap Photo Sites Pit Amateurs vs. Pros”.

Yep. It’s now national news. The article talks about Getty partnering with Flickr. Now that Getty is no longer a publicly trade company, it will be hard to see where their revenue is coming from.

The article suggests that “Ultimately, creative professionals need to communicate the value they create for clients so they can differentiate themselves from commodity-priced images.”

I had suggested precisely that in white paper: “The Commoditization of the Commercial Photography Business” which I published in Aug. 2005 and which has been re-published in both the ASMP NorCal and ASMP San Diego magazines.

How many heard the wake up call and have been differentiating themselves?

Orphan Works debate

Maybe you’ve been so busy shooting you’ve somehow missed what has been almost a constant barrage of emails urging you to weigh in (or refrain..for the moment) in notifying your elected U.S. representatives your opinion about the pending Orphan Works (OW) legislation.

If that’s the case, then you might want to read all about it as a version of of this critical bill will come before both the Senate (S2913) and the House of Representatives (HR5889) very soon.

In the May 8, 2008 online edition of The PhotoDistrict News Daryl Land has written a good synopsis of the current status of the debate between the various photo trade orgs. He’s also provided links to Orphan Works position papers of the ASMP (they currently support the Congressional bill and oppose the Senate one), APA (currently opposes both versions), Stock Artists Alliance, PPA, and other trade organizations.

Additionally, the Illustrators Partnership, which supports the APA’s position, has created a Legislative Action Center with an easy way to notify your elected governmental representatives.

If you haven’t been closely following the (sometimes heated) trade org debates over the past month, I urge you to take an hour of your time to read the position papers at the above links, form your own opinion, and then TAKE ACTION on YOUR POSITION: If you’re a trade org member, let your local and national board know your position; email or fax your Congressional and Senate reps; make sure every person you know who makes a living from photography or illustration–or cares about artists’ financial futures– knows about the pending Orphan Works legislation; urge them to also TAKE A POSITION and ACT, and continue to spread the word.

If the bulk of voting artists were well-organized as a voting block, had tons of money to contribute to political campaigns, and had well-paid lobbyists working on our behalf, this grassroots movement wouldn’t be so critical. It’s truly time to get out of our lone wolf caves before our creative rights erode to the point where being a freelance commercial artist is no longer an economically-viable career choice.

And finally, Clem Spalding, a past president of the ASMP (2006-2007) whose insights are based on direct experience with the legislative drama of the OW saga, has given me permission to excerpt his recent posting on the ASMPproAdvice listserve. (I’ve added my own bolding for emphasis)

There’s an awful lot of emotion and misinformation out there recently regarding the current proposed Orphan Works legislation. Many people don’t even realize that there are actually two proposals, one from the House (which ASMP supports) and one from the Senate (which ASMP opposes). What is good and bad about the current Orphan Works situation and the the two proposals in play right now is explained here:


In my service as an officer on the ASMP national board and as ASMP president in 2006-2007, I was in the hot seat when OW first reared its ugly head. As originally proposed by the Library of Congress’
Copyright Office, it would have nuked our profession and put a lot of us out of business. …. My shorthand description at the time was “Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers”. The devastating threat of that initial OW proposal galvanized our entire industry into an unprecedented spirit of cooperation and the Imagery Alliance was born at a groundbreaking meeting in NYC in October, 2006. The entire alphabet soup of photo orgs were in that room and part of this Alliance. From Day 1, we all acknowledged that, while we all share many common interests, we serve different constituencies and thus do not always agree. It is not a perfect union. It is not an omnipotent photo power. It is simply the nature of the beast and its the best we can do.

The unique and profligate nature of still images in the modern digital era means that we create pieces of intellectual property at a much greater rate than do musicians, writers, illustrators, film makers, etc... …I can create a thousand images before sunset today, while my musician buddies will take weeks to craft one song. Factor in the facts that photographers, as a group, have properly registered only a tiny percentage of their output with the Copyright Office, and that many workflows and final usages strip authorship information from our files and you have all the ingredients for a perfect storm of vulnerability.

This means our OW problems are unique and that other intellectual property creators simply do not have a dog in this particular fight. Now mix in the facts that the entire population of working photographers is minute and that our collective war chest for lobbying and legal battles is tiny in comparison to just about every other constituency Congress must deal with and you can see how weak our leverage is here.

Thankfully, that original OW 1.0 proposal died a well-deserved death in committee. Since then we–the professional photography industry–have used all available means to present lawmakers with a powerful and coherent argument for a more common-sense way of dealing with OW. The latest proposal out of the House of Representatives gives us 85% of what we argued for. That’s huge, especially when you consider the fact that, in the tough world of Realpolitik, professional photographers are a tiny constituency with almost no power, no money, and no friends in high places. We prevailed to make these changes because of the cogent presentations and savvy footwork in the hallways of Congress by folks like ASMP’s staff attorney, Victor Perlman, and PPA’s CEO David Trust. There was no horse-trading or back room deals. We have nothing in our arsenal except facts and reason and yet we have achieved so much.

So why not hold out for 100% of what we want?

1) Because we’ll never get it all and holding out will make it all too simple for CopyLeft proponents to destroy all the good work and inroads we have achieved to this point. In Washington, as in most of Real Life, nobody gets everything they want. Those who insist upon this ultimatum did not pay enough attention in …History and Civics classes.

2) Because we will be dismissed as an irrelevant and immature rabble and Congress will take the easy road by giving their larger constituencies what they want and the heck with these annoying,trivial, and disunited photographers.

3) Because politics is the art of the possible. We have gotten just about everything possible here. Achieving 100% satisfaction is not in the cards. When was the last time anyone on this list has walked away from a deal or a relationship because you “only” got 85% of your demands met? This is not a morality play nor is it a Mr. Smith Goes
To Washington fantasy. This is reality. This is politics. This is business. This is nothing personal.

4) Because this OW saga is but one chapter in a much larger epic: The Future of Intellectual Property and Creative Content. There are many more battles yet to fight, many more photo-unfriendly laws that will be proposed, many more oxen that will be gored. We have spent years learning the game, getting to know the players, and elbowing our way to a seat at the table. And as they say in the Beltway, “If you aren’t at the table, then you’re on the menu.” We blow this opportunity to demonstrate our reality-based earnestness and it will be many expensive years before we can get back to our current position of influence.

5) Because the chances of this House bill making it intact into actual law are dicey at best. Back to [civics and history] class: The Senate has its own, inferior OW proposal. If either one makes out of its respective chamber, the legislation is then usually brokered into a compromise Act that can pass both houses. Then it must be signed by the President unless there is a veto-proof majority in both houses to support it. …ASMP is simply saying it supports what the House has written at this time.Who knows what things will look like when we get down to the nut-cutting? Who knows what our best play will be at that point?

And then, if when an OW Bill does get passed, the fun moves to the courts, where all the dangling, undefined, and unresolved aspects of the Bill (inherent to all legislation) will be hammered out in precedent-setting cases. Rest assured, ASMP will be there too, fighting for your interests.

6) Because, as I write this, good folks are hard at work to achieve the needed improvements in technology and workflows that will render most of the OW threat moot for us working stiffs. Should we not all be paying more attention to and acting in support of these work-arounds?

7) Because, as Ben Franklin said back in the day “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” We must learn the ability to present a strong and unified (albeit imperfect) voice to the national political arena, or we are toast. Life is too mean, fast and short to waste our energies on internecine warfare.

I wish I had something better to tell you all, but I don’t. It boils down to choosing the lesser of two evils, and thus being better positioned to fight our best in the much larger battles still to come. Curiously, our opponents today could easily be our allies tomorrow. I know, it makes my brain hurt too. Welcome to the new century. I personally am willing to put my faith and trust in the expert(s) who are employed by my trade association and who are actively engaged on the front lines of this issue, rather than rely on the under-informed, emotional, and unrealistic speculations of those who are not. We all need to decide for ourselves who we are
going to believe.

My dear Sisters and Brothers in Professional Photography, I am a huge fan and supporter of the collective power of our organizations, I am a huge fan and supporter of healthy, honest, respectful, intellectually honest debate–that’s how good ideas get better and bad ideas get killed. Let us continue this debate in a constructive manner. Let us listen carefully to those who are actually in the arena and draw our conclusions with sober reasoning and without over-heated emotions. The Durm and Strang helps no one.

There’s plenty of room for debate and disagreement here. But let’s avoid the temptation to assume the worst and villainize those with whom we disagree.

Best regards, Clem

PS (Please note that I no longer hold any office in ASMP. I’m just General Member with a history and an opinion.)

Adobe releases free web-based version of PhotoShop

I’m not a PhotoShop user but all my photography consulting clients are. This latest player in the web-based services applications game underscores what I’ve been telling people for years: the software you use very day to run your business will one day all be “on the cloud” or web-based. Anything you now have to do while tethered to your desktop computer, you’ll soon be able to do from any computer… anywhere just by logging into your account. All you need is good access to the web. I personally love this trend and already use a number of web based applications to run my own business (e.g. Google Docs).

Here’s an except from a story appearing March 27th, 2008 on the AP news service about the “beta’ version of their new, web-based application, PhotoShop Express :

“Web-based software is increasingly popular, and Adobe knows it’s got to get on that train, said Kathleen Maher, an analyst at Jon Peddie Research.Many kinds of software are available for use online in a trend known as “software as a service,” or “cloud computing.” The earliest were e-mail programs, but they now include services to create and manage content and even whole operating systems. And they don’t require time-consuming upgrades because they’re maintained by the service provider.
Google Inc. provides a host of such services, as do Microsoft Corp. and others.”This is the battlefield where Adobe and Microsoft and Google are going to fight some pretty big battles,” Maher said.”