How to Launch a Photography Business



Lesson Info

Cognitive Dissonance

Because we're diving into cognitive dissonance, dissonance, dissonance, whatever you wanna say, let's talk about this, this is a great little piece because, well you'll figure out why. You will figure it out. This is the mental discomfort that comes from two contradictory beliefs, great, that's what Webster says, but what does that apply to sales. How does that matter. You notice that when it came to the end of our conversation, I was asking questions that made you validate things. Right. This is where that comes into play. Because now, when somebody comes in with, a mindset of what they want to spend, they now have to basically think of something else. For example the product quality. Or the product's service. When I stated and had you agree with me, that this was important, you set up a mental, essentially a mental roadblock, you have to make a decision now. So when it comes to the place of this question, but so-and-so can do it for half the price, said every client ever, we could sa...

y, I understand, but do you feel that we are offering the same product. And this is, look this is the new you, that's the new you, I understand, but do you feel like we're offering the same product. Or how about, I understand, but don't you think it's important. Okay. The W.A.V.E. has been completed now. And what that means, that cognitive dissonance that's been placed, it's giving them this mental roadblock of, I now believe that the service and offering and value is wonderful. I also believe and expect to spend this price. I have to choose to deny one of those things. I either have to deny the belief that this service is actually what it is, or I could deny or adjust my belief in how much I should spend for it. That's a really powerful thing, to instill in somebody, because you've basically given them, that's why I said, if you hang up the phone at that point, it doesn't matter. Aaron, you were on the phone with me right, when we did the phone, who did the phone thing. Oh, Sharon. Oh, Sharon. I thought we something, someone asked a question about it on the phone. Maybe I just held up my, did it by myself. But after the cognitive dissonance has been placed, when you hang up the phone, even if you can't get them into the studio, as long as they've agreed with you, and they see the value and they saw that thing, they're gonna hang up, and then they're gonna go back and think about it. And they're gonna play it through in their minds. And they either have to choose. I believe that price is more important than getting a good service that I value, or I believe the value is more important and I need to adjust my expectation on price. Does that make sense? So we close the W.A.V.E. by saying, we performed this exercise because nothing else could get me to the place that I can actually understand what you are looking for, Lee. Lee, I could ask you to put together a mood board and you'd select images that you think you like, and I'm gonna ask you to do that, that's gonna be part of our process. You're gonna select those 10 images, or 20 images, to put onto a mood board. But that's gonna tell me what styles you like. What you just said, about the kind of photograph that you want. The restaurant, the manic location, that, that piece, for your engagement photograph, that's what I need to know. And nothing else that I could have asked you would have gotten to that place. We pause, we let that sink in. Don't you think it's important, that the photographer knows what images you value most. That's an important line. These are all things that I want you guys to write down. Make them your own words, but these are the lines to get them to agree to those places, okay. Pause and wait for them to actually agree. You need them to verbally agree. Don't you think. And then your cognitive dissonance has been established. Now this is the beauty of it. When you've properly established cognitive dissonance with one person, and let's say you're doing an engagement shoot, an attorney session, a family session, you have both people there, right. You make that statement, right afterwards, and you have them, don't you think it's important that I understand what the both of you are looking for. And I understand exactly how to document your children. Like Joe, you said that your kids, when you come home, they're always playing in the living room, and making a ruckus, I wanna come to your home and document that. Don't you think it's important that I understand, what you most value. And you agree to it. It doesn't matter. Pick a couple. Any couple. You ask them that question, and when both of them reach that place of agreement, when they leave, for them to not book you, they have to basically run through Mount Everest of mental blocks. Why, because one of them, has to convince themselves first, that the money was more important than getting something that they wanted. And when they have stumbled through that roadblock, they then have to convince the other person of the same thing. And what is the likelihood that both people will be able to convince each other, to not value what you just presented to them. It's not very high. So the end result of this is, I had meeting, it was the most interesting meeting, with two Indian grooms-to-be, it wasn't one of our LGBT couples, they were two Indian grooms that were getting married, they're best friends, and their wives are best friends, and they're actually getting married on the same day, and holding their reception on, I've never done this before ever. But the two grooms are there. Because they're the ones that care. Remember when we talked about like, guys are getting more involved in this process? So they're sitting there, in my waiting room, when my studio manager brings me down to, usually I'll be in the meetings for 20, 30 minutes. We get down there, and we start talking, I get to know them, I build my relationship. And then I take them both, through the W.A.V.E. And, I actually have them answer awkward questions, that I know are awkward. And I said, I want you to tell me, three physical things, that you love on your fiance. And then he said, her eyes, her smile, her drive. She is so motivated, and I look up to that. And I said to him, the process of like, okay great. Now, it's important for me to understand exactly what you value, and how you see your fiance, because can you imagine, me knowing that, I will be documenting her from your viewpoint. So for example, when she's getting her makeup done, I'm gonna get a shot of her eyes. Maybe her eyelashes, maybe her looking at the camera. When she's all ready to go, I'm gonna shoot the flowers while she's holding the flowers. I'm gonna get that shot, but then I'm gonna actually have her maybe turn over and look into the camera, and give you that look, that maybe you might just love and see in your head. And so I'm gonna ask you a series of questions now. And then I took them through the W.A.V.E. And I'll do the W.A.V.E. with you one more time, just so you can hear it one more time, unbroken without slides, without anything, so you can see what it's like. Then we end the W.A.V.E. And I did it for, I didn't do the W.A.V.E. again, I simply involved both of them in the process. I want you to think and respond. I want both of you, you to think and respond. Do you guys have them? Good. And I walk them through the same time. And I got to both images that they wanted. We established that. Then I start using their own dialogue. And repeat it back to them. Then we finish the whole process, and both these guys are like, thank you so much for taking the time to do this, we just have this question. The package right now is $17,000. Can you do anything, can you come down just a little bit. And I said, look guys. Honestly, for what you're getting, that's already a value. My day rate is 10. And two days, should have been 20. And I probably would have had a talk with my studio manager after this, because I didn't even expect her to give you the rate of 17. So that's amazing. But I understand. It's expensive. I get that. It's going to be worth it. I said it's amazing meeting both of you, I shook their hands, and I said, I'll be seeing you guys on your wedding day. And then I walked out. I didn't even ask, I didn't even bother to ask the studio managers whether they had booked these two or not. Do you know why? Because I saw that value placed in both their minds, when they both agreed, when they both saw what I was offering and bringing to the table, and who I am and what I can do for them, I saw them agree to that value. And I came down, I was actually teaching one of the other studio managers at one, because she, she actually, one of our, Nicole, one of our team members, saw this meeting, and she was like, you've taught this before to us, many times, but this is the first time I actually saw you do it. And this was like watching, like mind control, happening in front of me. I'm like, it's not mind control. It's figuring out what somebody values, showing them that you understand that value, letting them know and making them agree that you understand what that value is and then that's what you're gonna create for them. Nicole's like, okay. We need to make sure everybody has sat in or seen, and I'm like, that's tricky, because how do you, you can't film those meetings, they're client meetings. I would love to, for behind-the-scenes purposes, you'd love to film it, but you can't. But then I asked Nicole, I never actually followed up to see if that client booked. I'll guarantee they booked. She goes, do you mean the double wedding, the $17,000 package, the two guys? I go yeah, that's the one. She goes yeah, they booked. Okay, good to know. It's this process of understanding and then setting up, it's so incredibly powerful, and all you have, it has nothing, I didn't show any images, we didn't talk a single thing about photography in terms of like, I didn't sit there and show my portfolio, I didn't sit there and show off, I understood what they wanted and what they valued, and then we worked from there. Is that making sense? Is that, like the weirdest thing you've probably ever seen in terms of sales, like making somebody agree, has anybody ever thought of this. Or done this. Have you seen it. You probably all have seen it. You've seen it in yourselves. You've seen it when someone else establishes value with you, and you, walk through the process of re-adjusting your price point. To buy something that you love. How many of you raised your hands previously when I said, who here buys luxury items? Raise your hands again. At some point, you agreed to the value that those items were giving you, and you mentally re-adjusted your expectation.

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.


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