How to Launch a Photography Business

Lesson 18 of 87

Artistic Development


How to Launch a Photography Business

Lesson 18 of 87

Artistic Development


Lesson Info

Artistic Development

We're gonna talk briefly about artistic development. This is really the journey of mastering your craft. I have a plan laid out for you, if you want to go into wedding photography. Wedding and portrait, engagement, that kind of stuff. If you're doing any other genre, you need to piece together your own plan, and what I would do is follow this framework. It's laid out in artistic development already. But list out the courses you want to cover. So what we have here, when you look at the road map, under weeks one, Photography 101 Lightroom crash course. Weeks two, Lighting 101 Lightroom crash course continued. Weeks three, Lighting 201 and Lightroom crash course continued, and then we complete the crash course on week four, and we do another one, so there's about 8 to 10 hours of education and development time built into each of these weeks. This is the catch-you-up process. We go into month two, same thing. By the end of this, we've completed the entire wedding series and all of our post...

-production organizational stuff, management of images, data management, everything. So that way we have a launch point. So if you do pet photography, I'm sure you guys have classes on that, right? Lay it out the same way, where you break out the shooting craft, the post-production craft, the steps that you're gonna go along the way, find the relevant courses to get there, and do the exact same thing. In this one, we're gonna talk about the expectations that I would have of you guys, if you were to do wedding and portrait. Your development pace, it's fast. And that means you can't just do it on your own, you have to get something to fast-track you. So, time to catch up. You guys heard the 10,000-hour rule? It's pretty ubiquitous. Everybody knows Malcolm Gladwell. Again, another one of his books and topics is that you have to put in 10,000 hours before you basically have something relevant to offer to an industry, okay? Before you can start adding value to a specific craft or industry, it takes about five years. 2,000-hour work years. So here's my question. Joel Grimes, he's a friend of mine. He started back in 1984. So what is that? 33 years ago? Yeah, 33 years ago. Joel Grimes is, have you all seen his work? Raise your hand if you know who he is. Pretty well-known photographer. If you're in the industry, you probably know Joel. His work has gone out for Nike, I mean, he shot for everybody. Anything sports, athletes, celebrities, all of it, he shot for. I did an interview with him a couple years ago, and this is the crazy part. Despite 33 years of all this, he still shoots a test or conceptual shoot every week. Is that nuts? I mean, the guy's doing 30, 40, 50 paid commissions a year. And on top of that, he's doing one test shoot per week? How many of you are getting out right now to practice your craft once a week consistently? Good. If you didn't raise your hand, if you're at home and you didn't raise your hand, sorry, I'm sorry, in the car, if you're in the car, if you didn't raise your hand, I would set that goal. That needs to be part of your road map, of getting out and shooting. And I have it in there. It's in there, if we go back and we look, it's right here. Test shoots, test shoots, test shoots, everywhere. By week 12, you're doing a styled shoot. Does that make sense? So every single one of these weeks has something development with exception of the first week, because the first week, you haven't even decided what you want to focus in on yet. So don't do a test shoot when you don't know what you wanna actually be shooting. We'll talk about the effectiveness of those and we'll talk about how to make them even more effective later in the course. But that's what you have to go against. Think of the Joel Grimes of the world. You choose to compete in his arena, this is how much time he's spent over the last 33 years, this is how much time he spends ongoing, what's your plan to catch up? Okay. Now don't worry, again, because Joel Grimes and that version of that competitor in your area, is probably far beyond where you're gonna be entering. Right? So there's a massive gap between their budgets and their price point and between where you're starting out at, which means that you got a lot of playing room in there to carve out a niche, without ever getting to that place. Does that make sense? Is that a little bit more comforting? I hope so. Because that's the weird thing, that for some reason we don't understand and accept is when we jump in the industry and we see the competitors, we don't realize the price gap and the room there is to get up to that level, we just look at, oh my gosh, I gotta compete with them. No, how many of you would be happy to get a $3,000 wedding right now? Great, and then work your way up to the next level and then the next level and the next level. There are so many places to go. So this is what I want you to do, it's not gonna happen on its own. I want a plan, I want weekly hours, in terms of education, online versus in-person, I want test shoots once a week, client shoots as well, and you're gonna repeat that interval every single week. Get out and shoot. We're gonna talk about the effectiveness of getting out and shooting a little later. Do you guys have a plan for this right now? Like is there... What are your thoughts on that? Is there any, Julie. The test shoots, how did you find people to do the test shoots? And then, obviously, it's free for them, but what, do you give them any pictures, how does this work? Yeah, for us, I gave my friends a bunch of crappy photographs. But it was literally going out and saying on Facebook, hey, guys, I'm doing this, I'd love, if any of you guys wanna take some pictures, I'd love to do engagement photos. I go to church, so I was asking my church, hey, I'd love to take your pictures, you guys are engaged. It's just asking your friends to basically step in, I mean you saw, my parents were part of my test shoots. Justin and Yvette, my best friends, were at my test shoots. These are all just friends and I'm like, hey, let me take your pictures and let me figure this out. And then you can go online, there's tons of places where people are, like for boudoir, Model Mayhem might be a really great place to find, it's not like, Model Mayhem's one of those places where you find lots of people, but not necessarily reliable people. So what you might do on a test shoot date, is you set a date for four people to come through, and there are different time slots, then you spend 30 minutes with each one. And then you give them 5, 10 images. It's usually a time for print thing. So you're always just going to give them some of the images that you create. Yeah, but we'll talk about this, too, later, the crazy part about the test shoots is how effective they can be once you're actually creating good work in terms of marketing, 'cause every time you do one, you're tapping into these other networks. If you actually create an image that they want to share, they'll share it, and then it starts to spill over, so it's a really good tool. I'll show you guys how to make it very effective.

Class Description

The content and opinions expressed in this course are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem

Build a business and get people to spend money on your photography. Award-winning photographer and co-founder of Lin and Jirsa Photography Pye Jirsa will walk you through the first 12 weeks of building your business. With his relatable and actionable teaching style, he’ll explain how to define your product as a photographer and determine where it fits into a consumer mindset. You’ll learn the steps to creating a brand, pricing yourself confidently, sales techniques, and basic marketing practices. This class covers everything you’ll need if you’re considering photography as a job, including:

  • Where to position yourself in the market
  • Branding your business to attract your ideal client
  • Pricing and basic financing
  • Creating a business plan
  • Setting up a portfolio
  • How to get your first customer in the door
  • Getting leads on new clients
  • Understanding sales
  • The psychology of a buyer

Pye has built multiple successful businesses from the ground up and this course includes your 12 week road map to launching your business.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Common Myths & Unknown Truths
  3. The Road Ahead
  4. Find Your Passion
  5. The Lin & Jirsa Journey
  6. Part-time, Full-time, Employed, Partners?
  7. Stop Wasting Time & Money
  8. Your 12 Week Roadmap
  9. Great Plans Still Fail
  10. Strategy Vs. Planning
  11. Mind Mapping
  12. Select a Focus
  13. Competitor Research
  14. S.W.O.T. Analysis
  15. Strategy & Long Term Goals
  16. Values, Vision & Mission
  17. Effectively Managing Your Time
  18. Artistic Development
  19. Create Your Plan
  20. What's Your Product
  21. Luxury vs Consumer Products & Experiences
  22. Quick Break for Econ 101
  23. Your Target Market & Brand Message
  24. What's in a Name
  25. Your Client 'Why'
  26. Crafting the Why Experience
  27. Document the Client Experience
  28. Business Administration Basics
  29. Book Keeping Management
  30. Create the Logo & Branding
  31. Portfolio Design
  32. Design Your Services & Packages
  33. Pricing Fears & Myths
  34. Three Pricing Methods
  35. Package Pricing Psychology & Design
  36. Psychology of Numbers
  37. Pricing Q&A
  38. Grass Roots Marketing
  39. The Empty Party
  40. Friends & Family Test Shoots
  41. Join Groups
  42. Second Shooting Etiquette
  43. The Listing & Classified Hustle
  44. Make Instagram Simple
  45. Your Automated Pinterest Plan
  46. Facebook Because You Must
  47. Giveaway & Styled Shoots
  48. Content Marketing & SEO
  49. The Monster: SEO
  50. Selecting Your Keywords
  51. Testing Your Keywords
  52. Grouping Main & Niche Goals
  53. Your Content Road Map
  54. Content Marketing Q&A
  55. Inspiration to Keep Working
  56. How to Craft Your Content
  57. Internal Linking Basics
  58. Back Link Building Basics
  59. Link Value Factos
  60. Measuring Link Value
  61. Link Building Strategy & Plan
  62. Link Building Plan: Vendors & Guest Writing
  63. Link Building Plan: Features, Directories, Comments
  64. Link Building: Shortcuts & One Simple Tool
  65. What is Sales? Show Me!
  66. Your First Massive Failure
  67. The Sales Process
  68. Your Second Massive Failure
  69. Understand Buyer Psychology
  70. Step 0: Building Rapport & Trust
  71. Step 1: Identify Need or Want
  72. Cognitive Dissonance
  73. Steps 2 & 3: Value Proposition & The Solution
  74. Step 4 : Close, Make the Ask
  75. Step 5: Follow Up & Resolve Concerns
  76. Family Photography Hot Seat
  77. Business Example Hot Seat
  78. Boudoir Photography Hot Seat
  79. The Best Sales Person
  80. Your Mindset, Vibrations & Frequency
  81. Always Positive, Always Affirming
  82. The Second Money & Dual Process
  83. Chumming the Price Waters
  84. Creating Want or Scarcity
  85. Timeless Advice on Being Likable
  86. Selling Over The Phone
  87. Forbidden Words in Sales


Angela Sanchez

This class has been an eye opener for me; a point of change in my vision as photographer. Pye is and AMAZING, INSPIRING, GENEROUS instructor, with an, authentic desire to help people and to share with them the best of his knowledge. I will not have enough words to say thanks to Pye Jirsa, as a teacher and as a human being, and thanks to Creative Live who allows us to benefit from the experience of such a knowledgeable, educated, well-versed photographer and instructor. 1000% recommended!

Yenith LianTy

Been following this guy forever. Pye Jirsa may be well known in the wedding & portrait photography world and if there is something that this guy knows it is how to create a business, a sustainable one. The workbook he provided is comprehensive, and I honestly wish I had this when I first started out as a photographer! I love that he talks about his failures, keeping it real and honest for anyone starting out. He is definitely one of the best instructors around, super humble, down to earth and with a sense of humor to boot. The course is worth it! THE WORKBOOK is AMAZING! SUPER DETAILED!

Tai Hsin

I saw the live broadcast and it was amazing. Pye is one of the best instructors and inspirational photographers.. there are two type of ppl.. one who has the knowledge and doesn’t know to teach another who has the knowledge and knows how to get it through.... I still didn’t purchase this as I am saving for my daughters entrance fee for collage... :) Anyways he’s one of the best instructors and a good friend.... very humble and always cracks jokes.... Keep inspiring and keep teaching.... my blessings are always with you pye.