Author Archive

How Your Portfolio Edit Can Support or Tank Your Brand

Posted: May 9th, 2016

[by Carolyn Potts] Show too much=Risk being forgettable. You probably know by now that your brand is way more than your logo. It’s visual consistency throughout your online and offline presence. Think of Apple. One of the most iconic brands we know and probably the most widely-used example in discussions about branding excellence. If you [...]

Can You Hear Me Now?

Posted: February 29th, 2016

[by Carolyn Potts] How to Find Your Authentic Marketing Voice on Your Phone When you speak in an authentic voice, you attract like-minded individuals. These are the people who become your ideal clients – clients who deeply resonate with you, your values, and your vision. But how do you write the words to communicate with [...]

Inspiring Habits of Successful Photographers

Posted: December 10th, 2015

[by Carolyn Potts] In his best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (which sold over 25 million copies), the late Stephen Covey stresses the habit of keeping your “tools” sharp. To operate at your highest and best levels, you have to remember to keep yourself sharp—and not just in your external career tools [...]

Where Everything Starts

Posted: November 3rd, 2015

[by Carolyn Potts] As you may have read in some of my past Strictly Business blog posts, I’m a huge fan of learning how to manage your mind. Gaining the tools to optimize your internal world helps you better manage your external business world. And a better-managed business creates a better bottom line. On top [...]

What Has to “Click” to Get Work?

Posted: August 19th, 2015

[by Carolyn Potts] What critical info– besides great and relevant imagery– is a portfolio reviewer actually looking for during your review? Since most reviewers are “speed readers” (consider how many thousands of books they’ve looked at over the course of their career), they can tell in micro-seconds if your work applies to their current account [...]

Why You Should Immediately Create Your 5P: Powerfully POSITIVE Password Protection Plan

Posted: August 5th, 2015

[by Carolyn Potts] We all know that it’s important to change your passwords regularly–now more than ever. Want to make your hair stand on end? Just log onto this site regularly to see who’s the latest corporate hacking victim. There were almost 20 security breaches in July 2015 alone! [UPDATE: United Airlines' database of customer [...]

Vision + Values = Long-term Success

Posted: March 19th, 2015

[by Carolyn Potts] Talent and smart marketing are both critical to sustain your career. But they are much more powerful when they are allied with your vision and values. A vision-based business is tied to your core values. Values become the foundation of your vision statement which is something broader and deeper than “I want [...]

From WTF!?! to AHA!!

Posted: February 11th, 2015

[by Carolyn Potts] Last week I had an AHA moment that could have easily become an OMG! WTF!! moment. While putting together my slides for my “Rebooting your Business Brain 2.0” seminar for the ASMP Houston chapter, my Keynote presentation (Apple’s version of PowerPoint) endured a terminal crash. Despite 4.5 hrs. with a senior tech [...]

Go play. Go to a play.

Posted: December 17th, 2014

[by Carolyn Potts] The holiday season can be a great time to catch up on inspirational reading. I’ve a list of perennial favorites I recommend to my clients when they’re looking for books that provide a big return on their time investment. High on that list is Julia Cameron’s best-selling book on creativity, The Artist’s [...]

Playing with Fire on the Creative Edge

Posted: November 19th, 2014

[by Carolyn Potts] Create personal work because it feeds both your creativity and your humanity. It’s a practice recommended for all photographers. There’s also a strategic benefit for advertising and editorial photographers who regularly create personal work/self-assignments. You could end up becoming the next in-demand style leader/trendsetter. And, guess who gets to subsequently command higher [...]

On and Off: The Secret to Powerful Productivity

Posted: September 4th, 2014

[by Carolyn Potts] On and Off: Developing and maintaining a healthy balance between focused attention and relaxation is a key to long-term career success. As self-employed business owners, often working alone on projects, we have to to stay focused and be as productive as possible as no one else will pick up the slack. We [...]

Good Data and A Good Attitude: Two keys to launching a stable career

Posted: July 16th, 2014

[by Carolyn Potts] While no one could argue that you need talent, shooting skills, and post-production ability to have a successful photo career, it’s also critical to know some secrets that successful photographers know. People who are successful in any business know how to use both “left brain” business data and also employ some “right [...]

Smart Phone Apps Can Support your Success

Posted: April 2nd, 2014

[by Carolyn Potts] The business side of a successful photography career has both an inner and an outer game. In my consulting practice, I most often work with clients on their outer game business skills (marketing, sales, etc.). But I sometimes find that a client’s inner game isn’t getting the attention it deserves. I’ve noticed [...]

Keeping it Fresh. Keeping it Real.

Posted: March 18th, 2014

[by Carolyn Potts] When you’ve been jamming on too many client projects– or worrying about not having enough client projects–it’s easy to lose track of your inner flame, muse, creative vision, passion, or whatever else you call it. You stop shooting images that excite you and/or you stop shooting any new images that aren’t directed [...]

Portfolio Presentation Prep – Tips to Help You Become a Star.

Posted: February 6th, 2014

[by Carolyn Potts] “And now…. you are live!” Ever feel like your in-person portfolio presentation is a bit like being a contestant on American Idol? Whether you’re “performing” at a one-on-one portfolio presentation or at a portfolio review event (where you’ve signed up for a series of 20-min. with multiple reviewers), to cement that contact [...]

Working On The Interior To Get Better On The Exterior

Posted: December 20th, 2013

[by Carolyn Potts] What goes on between a someone’s ears can oftentimes be a more important component to their success than their photographic talent and/or their business savvy. How do we come to finally and consistently do what we need to do to achieve our goals? What sabotages us? Can we really make the changes [...]

Social Media Strategies for the Shy Photographer

Posted: September 26th, 2013

[by Carolyn Potts] Many photographers don’t feel comfortable promoting themselves or posting their imagery (e.g., copyright violation concerns) on social media. And some just don’t  have the time and/or resources to “post info that’s useful to others” which is the other good strategy of social media marketing. You have to have a certain kind of [...]

New Perspectives Provide New Creative Power.

Posted: July 31st, 2013

[by Carolyn Potts] When I find myself in a creative rut, I know that something has to change. It’s been said “If nothing changes, then nothing changes.” For those whose lives depend on keeping their creative and inspirational edge honed (that mostly likely would be you, dear reader– and yours truly as well), it’s good [...]

“We Don’t Have Any Money… But It Will Be Great Exposure for You.”

Posted: July 25th, 2013

[by Carolyn Potts] We’ve all heard that. You already know you can’t accept all “opportunities” to work for free or you’ll soon be out of business (you do know that…don’t you??).  So you have to have a way to decide who to turn down and who to help out. It all comes down to love [...]

R.I.P. Wayne Miller: Member of the Family of Man and the Family of ASMP.

Posted: June 12th, 2013

[by Carolyn Potts] On May 22nd, 2013 the world lost photographer, Wayne Miller,  talented contributor to The Family of Man, which was one of the most popular exhibitions in the history of photography. We also lost a member of the photography family we know as the ASMP. I learned a lot about Wayne Miller’s work [...]

How to leave a message that gets a call-back.

Posted: May 20th, 2013

[by Carolyn Potts] The first hurdle to get an appointment with a prospective client is probably their voicemail. If you craft your voicemail message as you would the Subject line of a good email blast, you increase the chance of getting a return call. Time-stressed people hit their voicemail’s delete button as readily as they [...]

Weak Security Can Tank Your Marketing Efforts.

Posted: May 1st, 2013

[By Carolyn Potts] Last week there was a highly distributed attack on WordPress sites using around 90, 000 IP addresses. Many sites became infected with malware. Many cost-conscious small business owners like the ease-of-use and the price of WordPress. (I’m in that camp; my blog, is a WP site). Many photographers have migrated to [...]

Interested in a Digital Imaging Neighborhood Watch group?

Posted: March 21st, 2013

By [Carolyn Potts] Do you know the folks in your imaging neighborhood? Are they good neighbors? Should you fear them? Learn from them? Or help them? Photographers share an interesting creative landscape with other artists who sometimes work to make a viewer think that what they’re viewing is “real.” Last month I discovered a 3D [...]

Getting Help From the Right Marketing Consultant is Like Finding the Right Doctor

Posted: November 13th, 2012

[by Carolyn Potts] When interviewing a potential consultant (which you should do before investing your time and money) the more self-awareness you have about what kind of pain you’re experiencing, the more likely you’ll get the right help. Saying “I need more work” is a bit like saying “I don’t feel so good.”  Honest information [...]

Alchemy, Synergy, and Body Language

Posted: November 6th, 2012

[by Carolyn Potts] After a couple of days of reviewing portfolios at PhotoPlus Expo, what I’m thinking a lot about right now is alchemy and synergy. As defined by Websters: alchemy is an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting. In-person networking events mix up the molecules of your business plans. Things change. There’s is something quite magical [...]

Super-Charge the Time You Spend Working on Your Photography Marketing Plan

Posted: August 3rd, 2012

[by Carolyn Potts]  The time you invest working on your marketing has a real dollar value, so make every minute count – use time management tools and apps to help you FOCUS. If you omit vacation and holidays, there are about 49 work weeks/year. Invest just 20 min. per day on any marketing activity, and [...]

Seek Synergy – Not Pain Relief

Posted: June 4th, 2012

[by Carolyn Potts] “The whole is greater than the sum of parts.” ~Aristotle The relationship between a photographer and a rep or studio manager must be based on a deliberately created, synergistic relationship. Synergy occurs when two individuals (or companies) are made stronger by combining their different– yet complementary– skills and abilities. It brings value [...]

Marketing Photography to B2B and B2C Clients – Don’t Treat Them Like Twins. They’re Cousins

Posted: May 18th, 2012

[by Carolyn Potts] While the marketing strategies share similarities, they’re not identical. When you create a photography marketing message to reach a decision maker in a B2B environment (a business-to-business target such as an ad agency or corporation) understand there are different buying behaviors than in a B2C market (a business-to-consumer e.g., weddings, portraits, etc.). [...]

Capturing-It’s Not Just For Images: Cloud-based Apps Support Creative Inspiration.

Posted: April 5th, 2012

[by Carolyn Potts] An untethered day is a good day. I’m happiest when not tied to my desk, so I love cloud-based apps. Two of my three favorite productivity apps, both Evernote,  and Blinksale are cloud-based. My third favorite app is Dragon Dictation which I often use in conjunction with Evernote. Evernote, as their tagline [...]

It’s Easy: Use Apps to Support Your Marketing Wake-Up Callalls.

Posted: February 2nd, 2012

[by Carolyn Potts] There are two apps that can keep you from falling asleep at the wheel on the road to your photo marketing success: Evernote and  iCal. When used in conjunction, they’re even more powerful. 1. Good content always comes first. Evernote is a great app to capture portfolio shoot ideas as they come [...]

Marketing Mastery – Short & Sweet

Posted: January 5th, 2012

[by Carolyn Potts] While I was getting ready to write this post, the radio began playing Michael Jackson’s early hit “ABC easy as 123.” It struck me that that song’s message –about keeping things simple–applies as well to marketing your photography. Just remember to use “ABC” and “123.” A. Always promote your best imagery. Trim [...]

Can You Hear Me Now?

Posted: October 24th, 2011

[by Carolyn Potts] Are you being heard? Do you know how to effectively communicate with your potential client if they’re part of different generation? Is how you’re saying what you’re saying, turning off your potential client? Marketing communications that are designed to get more business, must take into consideration the recipient’s preferred mode of communication. [...]

The Eyes Have It

Posted: October 5th, 2011

[by Carolyn Potts] Besides your taking care of your camera gear, computer, and your fearless attitude,  do you have a maintenance routine for…your eyes?!? If you don’t, a computer-heavy assignment can lead to eyestrain. While not life-threatening, eyestrain can cause double vision and other symptoms–ones which are not so great when your career depends on [...]

Don’t Let a Global Market Crash Put Your Creative Portfolio at Risk.

Posted: August 11th, 2011

[by Carolyn Potts] I am writing this the day after the 500-point drop in the US stock market which was felt around the world. If your 401k now looks like a 101k, it’s hard to feel creatively inspired.  Understandably, many people are freaking out.  But remember: fear kills creativity. However… there’s always another way of [...]

Real World Marketing

Posted: August 2nd, 2011

[by Carolyn Potts] Time spent online with social media must have a clear goal–otherwise it’s just a time suck. Do you start your day with a cup of coffee and a check-in to your social media feeds? Does reading the overnight updates on FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn make you feel secure that you’ve not missed [...]

How to use the next heat wave: be a “promotional contrarian” and do some advance planning.

Posted: June 10th, 2011

[by Carolyn Potts] When the next heat wave hits and you’re melting, take it as a weather-related gift to help you stay fresh in your client’s minds…. in the dead of winter. My 2010 summer marketing ASMP blog post suggested that your beach reading should include some great marketing books (listed in that post). That [...]

Maintaining, Motion and Marketing

Posted: January 21st, 2011

[by Carolyn Potts] Both videographers and photographers are now actively pitching their clients on their new DSLR-HD capabilities. They’re sending out marketing messages inviting their clients to see them as a “one-stop shopping” solution when it comes to digital content. But how do you take on a video project when you’re not an experienced video [...]

Can’t Get You Out of My Mind

Posted: January 11th, 2011

[by Carolyn Potts] If there’s a jingle for a carpet cleaner or a chewing gum locked in your brain, you already know the power of consistency when it comes to brand recall. Consistently delivering branded and relevant messages to a target audience is the cornerstone of marketing success. It’s that simple. Since different audiences often [...]

Career planning: The long and Winding Road

Posted: December 3rd, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. ~Lewis Carroll Yes, it’s good to have a focused and well-thought-out career plan. It’s far better than not knowing where you want to go. However, a career plan to “become rich and famous” isn’t quite specific enough But even [...]

Here’s a Cheap Trick to Sustain your Marketing Motivation: Fill ‘er up!

Posted: November 9th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] Place a clear jar on your desk. Put it right next your phone and computer so that it’s in plain sight. Each time you make a marketing phone call, add a name to your mailing list, assemble an email promo or post card, or make a portfolio presentation, drop a quarter into [...]

How to Get Rock-Hard Marketing Abs

Posted: October 13th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] When your body is out-of-shape, eating a healthy diet, along with properly and consistently lifting weights (at least 3 times a week for several months) will produce visible and palpable results. When your business is feeling flabby and weak, regularly lifting the phone to make positive and targeted calls (at least 3 [...]

Why Continuing Ed Matters: beyond camera gear and PhotoShop tutorials

Posted: September 21st, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] Last week was filled with the energy of students returning to classrooms across the country. It was only for a couple of hours, but, I, too, got a taste of the September excitement when I dropped in at Columbia College and attended the Columbia/ASMP Midwest co-hosted event: PDN’s 30 – Strategies for Young [...]

Need a Creative Jolt?

Posted: September 17th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] Stuck for ideas for new portfolio images? Try this cool tool to come at a concept from a different angle. Carolyn Potts, international photo consultant & speaker; and former photo rep, shows seasoned & proactive photographers how to get more work. Find her at , and

Quick Tip Week

Posted: July 19th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] Do some research about what you’re being asked to photograph. If you take the time to read up on the product, company or event you’re being asked to shoot (you know you can Google ANYTHING) you appear to be someone who will be a partner in problem-solving. Demonstrating that you’ve actually taken your own time to [...]

Big Changes can Happen while Reading on Long Summer Days

Posted: June 28th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] Instead of a best-selling mystery or a trashy summer novel, pack one of these into your beach bag and you’ll have more than a tan when you’re done. You’ll end up with some different perspectives regarding where business is headed–and how you fit in. I think it’s essential for any small business owner [...]

Start Your Engines!

Posted: June 8th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] After the Memorial Day Weekend now the summer games begin! Yeah! I hope that we all got to kick back, take a break from the work stress/recession-anxiety for a moment, and enjoyed the 3-day weekend. But after you had some time to relax and refuel, I hope you don’t let your marketing [...]

Maintain Your Marketing Momentum with a Google App

Posted: May 18th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] When it comes to increasing your productivity– for the non-image-making part of your business–there are many great applications to choose from. Lots of people use Apple’s account. Yet there’s another good way of developing the workflow of integrating all of your contacts, tasks, and calendar events–no matter what operating system you [...]

Are You Using a Mac?

Posted: May 5th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] Want a rarely-used, no-brainer business tip for photographers who rarely read instructions because Macs are so easy-to-use. (i.e. about 90% of us!)? Invest just 5 minutes with any of your applications’ Help files. It will increase both your productivity and the R.O.I. of your Mac investment. Challenge: Take 5 now with the [...]

Creative Convergence: What is it? And what does it mean to your business?

Posted: March 26th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] When the FCC debates are over and we figure out how to fund universal access to broadband, and it becomes as common as phone access, the demand for digital content will increase exponentially. There will be more media being consumed on more devices than we have now (or can yet imagine). Content [...]

Why Define Your Ideal Client?

Posted: March 3rd, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] Once you define your ideal client, you will have better focus finding and working with them The most essential step in creating an effective marketing plan is to first decide who you want to work with. If you don’t have a specific answer to that question, you won’t know where to begin [...]

Your Number One Asset

Posted: February 11th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] Do you know what is the most valuable asset you possess? You need a lot to run your photo business, but what is most deserving of protection? Hint: Its not your camera gear. Nor your computer hardware and software– or even your image archive or your portfolio. It’s your creativity. It’s what sets [...]

Web Design Essentials

Posted: November 23rd, 2009

[by Carolyn Potts] What’s the business objective of my web site? As visual artists we’re primarily drawn to the play of light, shadow, color and contrast as they often serve as the basis of our sheer delight. We’re also easily distracted by bright, shiny, and pretty things. A marketing trap that one can fall into [...]

Email Marketing

Posted: September 21st, 2009

[by Carolyn Potts] To get high email promo delivery rates, you have to consider many variables. You’re probably already aware that without doing your email marketing homework, you’re more susceptible falling back on the all-too-common, mass-blast strategy, nick-named “spray and pray” ;-)  Do that, and you’re inadvertently adding to the delivery problem. If enough people [...]

Email Troubles You May Not Be Aware Of …

Posted: July 8th, 2009

[by Carolyn Potts] This week, on three separate occasions, emails from photographers that I know and love, ended up in my spam bucket. Each person was already in my address book; we’d had many successful email exchanges-there had been no previous spam quarantines. Want to know what happened? In each of those cases the photographer [...]