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How to Start a Photography Business

Lesson 78 of 87

Boudoir Photography Hot Seat

Pye Jirsa

How to Start a Photography Business

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

78. Boudoir Photography Hot Seat
Sit in on a simulated sales session with a boudoir photographer. Learn ways to improve when meeting with a client and build your people skills.


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1 Class Introduction Duration:13:12
3 The Road Ahead Duration:13:03
4 Find Your Passion Duration:06:06
5 The Lin & Jirsa Journey Duration:13:54
7 Stop Wasting Time & Money Duration:06:07
8 Your 12 Week Roadmap Duration:04:33
9 Great Plans Still Fail Duration:06:01
10 Strategy Vs. Planning Duration:04:16
11 Mind Mapping Duration:07:25
12 Select a Focus Duration:14:16
13 Competitor Research Duration:09:34
14 S.W.O.T. Analysis Duration:13:54
15 Strategy & Long Term Goals Duration:03:50
16 Values, Vision & Mission Duration:27:49
17 Effectively Managing Your Time Duration:15:05
18 Artistic Development Duration:07:30
19 Create Your Plan Duration:13:12
20 What's Your Product Duration:10:51
22 Quick Break for Econ 101 Duration:16:31
24 What's in a Name Duration:09:20
25 Your Client 'Why' Duration:05:43
26 Crafting the Why Experience Duration:24:17
27 Document the Client Experience Duration:08:29
28 Business Administration Basics Duration:27:03
29 Book Keeping Management Duration:06:51
30 Create the Logo & Branding Duration:07:04
31 Portfolio Design Duration:15:11
33 Pricing Fears & Myths Duration:08:46
34 Three Pricing Methods Duration:25:39
36 Psychology of Numbers Duration:07:29
37 Pricing Q&A Duration:23:51
38 Grass Roots Marketing Duration:09:36
39 The Empty Party Duration:07:03
40 Friends & Family Test Shoots Duration:16:28
41 Join Groups Duration:04:32
42 Second Shooting Etiquette Duration:07:44
44 Make Instagram Simple Duration:13:55
45 Your Automated Pinterest Plan Duration:08:01
46 Facebook Because You Must Duration:07:37
47 Giveaway & Styled Shoots Duration:12:17
48 Content Marketing & SEO Duration:08:12
49 The Monster: SEO Duration:07:26
50 Selecting Your Keywords Duration:05:45
51 Testing Your Keywords Duration:07:53
52 Grouping Main & Niche Goals Duration:12:39
53 Your Content Road Map Duration:11:47
54 Content Marketing Q&A Duration:10:45
55 Inspiration to Keep Working Duration:07:45
56 How to Craft Your Content Duration:15:03
57 Internal Linking Basics Duration:05:30
58 Back Link Building Basics Duration:04:55
59 Link Value Factos Duration:14:38
60 Measuring Link Value Duration:04:24
61 Link Building Strategy & Plan Duration:06:10
65 What is Sales? Show Me! Duration:12:58
66 Your First Massive Failure Duration:05:17
67 The Sales Process Duration:07:31
68 Your Second Massive Failure Duration:05:23
69 Understand Buyer Psychology Duration:10:00
71 Step 1: Identify Need or Want Duration:15:39
72 Cognitive Dissonance Duration:12:01
74 Step 4 : Close, Make the Ask Duration:04:32
76 Family Photography Hot Seat Duration:12:06
77 Business Example Hot Seat Duration:15:52
78 Boudoir Photography Hot Seat Duration:16:09
79 The Best Sales Person Duration:07:45
83 Chumming the Price Waters Duration:03:57
84 Creating Want or Scarcity Duration:09:54
86 Selling Over The Phone Duration:10:59
87 Forbidden Words in Sales Duration:11:40

Lesson Info

Boudoir Photography Hot Seat

This is a good one 'cause Julie's a boudoir photographer. I want boudoir, wait, how is the correct pronunciation first? Boudoir. Bou-- Boudoir. Oh, you are actually French. Yeah. So, you would-- (laughing) She knows the correct pronunciation of this word. Say it louder. Boudoir. Okay, so we had a little discussion last night where they said it sounded funny when I say boudoir. Now, I don't say it the same, like boudoir, like with the glottal sound, but anyway. They say like, bou-dwar. Bou-dwar. (laughs) I don't know, I cannot say the R in English, so. So, what's our scenario here? So, you're a woman. Oh. Yeah. (audience laughing) Am I? You are, you look pretty as a woman, exactly. No, let's do this, okay, let's do... How 'bout I'm hiring you for as a gift to my wife. Okay. That makes sense, yeah? Okay. Hi, Pye. And this is our coffee shop first-time meeting, right? Okay. Cool. Hi, Pye. Hi. Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. I just ...

got you some tea, your favorite drink. Thank you so much. Thank you for taking the time to respond to the questionnaire I sent to you last week. Of course. It helped me to learn more about yourself. As you can hear, I'm French. Yes. Oui, oui. (chuckles) So, if you don't understand something, just let me know and I will repeat myself. No, you're perfect, I can understand everything. So, have you ever been to France? No, I haven't, actually. It's one of those places that I really wanna go, but I haven't had the chance yet. How long have you lived here? It's been like 10 years almost. 10 years? Yeah, it's going fast. What kind of brought you here? My husband, actually, I met him here, came back and got married. Very cool. So, it's, you know, France, Paris, is a good place to go with your wife, for example. Have you ever thought about it? I have thought about it. I thought about going to a lot of places, Julie. Just haven't been there yet. Oh, yeah, well, great. So, what's the occasion for the photo shoot for your wife? Well, my wife had a baby recently. I'm gonna make this stuff up, by the way, guys, okay? My wife had a baby recently, and I think she looks beautiful, she looks amazing. She kind of, I think, is in this place that she has some self image things and I don't really understand 'cause she likes to work out, she looks fantastic, I think she looks beautiful. I want to give her a gift that maybe can make her feel that. And so, I do study a little bit of photography, like just as a hobby. I'm not nothing like you, I don't do anything like you. But I know that maybe taking pictures and helping her to see that in a photograph might help with that. This is a great idea because with boudoir, I can help her to learn how to pose in front of the camera and then feel like better about herself when she look at pictures. Do you have any idea of where she would like to see the pictures? I don't know, she's not expecting this at all. Okay. Yeah. So, how are you going to give her the gift? I never thought about that. Do you want any suggestions? Yeah! (audience laughing) Let's see, do you have date night with your wife once in a while? Yeah, like every other week or so, we probably do a date night. Well, it could be a good idea to surprise her one time with a gift certificate and the expense, we could do a video to show her about boudoir and how it can help her feel more comfortable. I think she might feel weirded out if it was like we were showing her how to feel more comfortable. Yeah. But what do you mean about the video? Surprise-- I don't know, she's pretty conservative, like-- Okay. This might be a little bit-- Too much. Out there for her. But I just want her to have something, you know what I mean? Okay. I'm givin' ya gold here. (laughing) So, do you want, you mean by something, you mean pictures? We love to print pictures. Oh, okay. Because it's something that she can see forever because when was the last time that you looked at your 1000 pictures from your phone, for example? Mm-hm, what, huh? (laughing and giggling) When was the last time I looked at my pictures-- Pictures on your phone. I look at my pictures on my phone a lot though. Yeah, all of them? Now I feel like you're judging me. (laughing and giggling) I'm trying not to. (laughing and giggling) Okay, so how much does your service cost, Julie? Well before we talk about that, I can tell you the collection starts at $800, but I want to really show you what the expense is about. So, $800 is kind of, okay. Yeah, and so, but the-- It's a little more than I was thinking about spending. I understand that, but what is going to happen is your wife, we're going to spend the day together, and we're going to take pictures, have fun, and then she will have the option to choose the pictures and keep them. It's going to be a lot of fun, it's going to help her to feel more confident, and it's the occasion to go buy new lingerie with your wife too. That sounds fun. Like date night, to go to the store, the lingerie store, and then help her to get ready for the photo shoot, so that way you can have a bit of yourself in the photos. Okay, well, thank you, Julie, it was nice meeting you. Nice to meet you. Alright, give her a hand. (applause) So, Julie, what I loved, you started step zero, you started asking questions, building a relationship. I wish you would have carried it on more, a little bit longer. And then getting to, I gave you a lot of golden words in there that I wanted you to pick up and kind of utilize as you're developing that value. And they were things like how I see my wife, "I think she's beautiful. "I feel like for some reason "she's not seeing the way that I see her," those types of things. And if you could have helped me to know that you saw my wife the way I do, that's what I was looking for and I didn't get there. Does that make sense? I didn't feel like you were seeing the person that I find is so beautiful. I felt like you maybe you're just trying to tell me, like you get it. But I want you to use those words. "Tell me what it is that you see in your wife." I gave it to you, I was preparing and this is exactly what we're talking about. So, set up your role plays with another person, okay? And then set up your scripts to go solo. Scripts you can do solo. That should be practicing your things, like your script would have helped you in your delivery of the line of, "When was the last time you looked "at 1000 photos on your iPhone?" I knew what you were getting at. We needed a script there to get it to, "All the images that you're capturing. "Where do they go? "When was the last time you saw that beautiful image "of your wife from the wedding day?" Or any of those things, it's playing back to those things and I liked where you were going with it. We gotta practice those script pieces so that we can kinda deliver them naturally and be it kind of a part of us. Good job, give her a hand, guys. (applause) Okay. Was that challenging? It is very challenging to do and it's one of those things where the funny part is tomorrow, you're already gonna be pretty dang good at it. What mistakes and everything that you just saw right now, within a day, as you think about this over one day, when you get back into that same situation, you will approach it 100% differently. So, just go and everyday, make the mistakes over a call, while you're driving, "Is that okay to say?" I mean, practice it, you can drive and talk through lines and scripts and stuff while you're driving. Listen to yourself, that's a perfect time to listen to yourself in those recordings. I was curious, how long did it take you to become comfortable with the sales aspect or to get into a flow where you were selling people more often than having people walk away, or confused. I get more and more comfortable everyday. It's not, like I don't feel like sales, just like photography, is one of those things that you just, you do it for a long time. I would say, I mean, you're gonna get better over many, many years and I would expect that in 20 years, I'll be even better than now. But I would say that you guys could be good at this in a couple weeks. It doesn't take our people long. What it takes is like when we bring in a new sales associate into our company that's gonna do studio management or client consulting, whatever it might be, when we bring that person in, the first step is that we smack down the barriers that they initially had on what sales is. The next step is that we teach them a process and then have them make all their flubs. We do the flubs first like in these type of role plays, right? Then we listen to them make their flubs over phone calls and kind of repeat and we have them record those. It doesn't take more than two weeks before someone's really good. Depending on how much time and how much effort they're putting, that's full time. So, maybe it'll take you guys a month or two. But if you do it, it's quick because this is an intuitive process to teach you. Understanding somebody else's needs and wants, those are things that are intuitive and easy. Do you notice I didn't have any of you sell me based on features. Right? Did any of our conversations up here go towards the arena of the cameras that we use, the lenses that we use, the lighting that we use, any of those things? No, because we smack the features sell down, right? That's tough to learn. The features sell, that's a really tough-to-learn thing. You gotta learn the features sell if you're gonna sell like a Honda Accord to that engineer guy. The engineer guy, he wants to know like every little bit of spec on that car and he's gonna know, "What is the wheel diameter? "What is this, what is," you know, "what is the power output of each cylinder of that car?" "Holy crap, are you serious?" That's not what we're doing though. So, I'd like to remove all of that stuff entirely from your dialog. In fact, that's one of the biggest mistakes our photographers make 'cause the photographers will come in and sit in on a meeting after the sales associate. The sales associate's trained. Then the photographer comes in. And they start feature talking. And it's like, dang, stop. But the sales associate knows that. So, the sales associate will take back over the meeting and close down the features discussion, it's not about that. 'Cause you gotta think of this, if you're creating good images, if that client is sitting there in your coffee shop, if they're calling you on the phone, if they're in your studio, then it doesn't matter how you created the images that you did. All that matters is is that it left an impression. Enough for them to actually get in touch with you, correct? So, we're all good on that side, right? We just dump that side of the whole sales conversation. There is one and only one time that I would say it's okay to discuss features, to discus techniques, to discuss gear. Can you imagine when that is? When the person sitting across from you hiring you is a? [Audience Together] Photographer? Photographer, and that will happen. Like I said, Mike and Natalie, both photographers. Yeah, we'll talk shop. That's who they are. That's the only time it's okay. Questions from online? You've talked a little bit about practicing with other people, but a question from Damien had come in, "How do we come up with more questions, "scenarios, lines," is that just through these role plays? Or are you just thinking about target clients, or what are some other, maybe, ideas? Well, the interesting thing is, like I said earlier, nearly 60% of your objections are handled by simply understanding that price objection's your number one, that 60% of your objection is price. So, once you know how to handle that one, that's 60% of them down. Now, can you imagine that the typical objections that a photographer would hear are pretty dang similar? So, something like 80 to 90% of the objections that a sales person hears come within five things. There's usually five things that you're gonna hear repeated over and over and over, and that's gonna vary for every single one of you depending on what your genre is, depending on what your industry is, everything. But 60% of the time, regardless of what industry you're in, it's gonna be price. And we already know how to handle that one, right? We handle it by establishing value, placing the cognitive dissonance, and then simply stating, "I understand." Because when somebody says to you, "That's expensive," Shell, I don't need you to adjust your price when I say to you, "Man, that's expensive." I need you to simply say, "Yeah, it is. "But it's gonna be worth it." Your client is looking for support. They're looking for somebody that they trust telling them, "You will get what you want." They're not necessarily looking for you to say, "Oh, well let me drop the price." Right? That is one of those things where I don't wanna say it's never wrong to lower your price. You know, if you are low on bookings and you've got a client there that's willing to spend $2000 instead of $2500, and it's like I got an open schedule, I'll take it. I'll take it, there's nothing wrong with that. The problem is when you're not in control. In that situation, you're in control. You're good, you're choosing to do that because you have the open schedule, you like this person, you wanna give them a special, Mike and Natalie's a perfect case of this where I love them. From the first time we met, I was like, "I want to document you guys' wedding." I wanted to do that, and I wanted to go to Cancun with them and I wanted our team to have that experience and I wanted to go and create those photographs. So, cutting a couple thousand off of a $10,000 price tag for me was easy. I wanted to. But that's the point, is that you're the person that's dictating the terms of the arrangement, not your clients. Your clients are coming to you, putting out the price, and then running the meeting like I ran with you.

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

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.


  • Start a photography business
  • Develop the ideal business structure and business plan
  • Research competitors and the market in your area
  • Build a short-term and long-term strategy
  • Create a marketing plan and marketing materials on a budget
  • Confidently conduct an in-person or phone sales session
  • Manage small business tasks from accounting to strategy


Professional photographers aren't just people with a knack for photography and a good camera -- because launching a small business on nothing but passion is a sure-fire way to fail spectacularly. Layer business savvy, marketing know-how, professional grit and more onto your existing passion and learn how to start a photography business. Take your hobby, vision, and creativity and build a career -- whether you are looking to run a full-time business or just a side gig.

Led by a photographer that's also a certified public accountant, Pye Jirsa, the class teaches the ins and outs of launching a photography business from the ground up. Along with three full days of instruction, Pye shares a 12-week plan to get your business up and running, a business expense calculator and more inside the class workbook. Understand what gear and skills you need before you launch and how to build a portfolio by photographing family members or organizing a stylized shoot.

Stop feeling overwhelmed by the monumental task and tackle one task a day in a 12-week plan. Brainstorm names for your business and learn the different types of business licenses available. Secure a domain name and build a website that's easily searchable. Develop a marketing plan with little investment. Master in-person sales and book your first session.

Whether you want to venture out in portrait photography, commercial work or any other client-based type of photography, learn the "business" in photography business with Pye Jirsa.


  • Photographers ready to launch a business
  • New professional photographers looking to grow a young business
  • Photographers interested in working in weddings, portraits, newborns, maternity, families, seniors, engagements or commercial photography


Pye Jirsa is a wedding photographer with Lin & Jirsa photography -- but besides running a successful photography business, he also has a background in accounting, creating the perfect blend for teaching the ins and outs of running a photography business. Along with working as a photographer and educator, Pye is also one of the founders of SLR Lounge, an online resource for photographers.

Learn from a founder of a photography business that photographs more than 300 weddings a year. Pye's Los Angeles and Orange County wedding photography business has been named among the top 100 wedding photographers by Brandsmash.


Armstrong Su

This class and materials are to the point and eye-opening on the business side of photography. Pye Jirsa is an amazing and fun teacher as well! Most photographers need more business classes offered to bring us who love to create art back to reality for a more successful business that makes a living on it's own. This course will definately get you started in the right direction and so cheap too! Great investment! armstrong outdoor tv case outdoortvcase Pye Jirsa is one of the best instructors that I have the pleasure to learn from. He and his team have given me so much more than they'll ever realize. Knowledge, wisdom, training, friendship, mentoring, inspiration, joy... I cannot thank Pye enough for changing my life for the better. I owe them more than they'll ever realize. Thank you, Pye Jirsa!!!

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!