How to Launch a Photography Business



Lesson Info

Competitor Research

Let's dive in to competitor research. This is the fun stuff. This is one of those things where when it comes to competitor research, I want you guys to do it once and forget about it for a few months. Then revisit it, okay. And then, forget about it. Eventually, once a year is fine. What I don't want you to do is to follow every one of your competitors and be like, oh my gosh, every single day, they're posting this and they're doing this. You're gonna burn up all of your time doing that social media comparison thing again. Okay, this is very different. We're gonna start with that search that we did. Our location that we wanna compete it, type of photography that we're competing within. Who's in that area? Then, we're gonna identify direct versus indirect competitors. So a direct competitor, well, let's say, an indirect competitor. An indirect competitor is... You can get pretty, kind of crazy with this. You could say a wedding photography studio and a wedding photography studio, they b...

oth offer the same thing, right. Therefore, they are direct competitors. Not necessarily. What if one wedding photography studio shoots specifically hybrid film? One wedding photography studio shoots specifically HDR dramatic kind of images. Are they now marketing to the same client? I'm hoping you guys are saying no, right. Because the client that sees all light and airy filmic over here, probably doesn't like the stuff on this side. They're not the same people that are going, oh yeah, I'm thinking about film and I'm also thinking about dramatic. No, if they're comparing film, they're comparing you to other film photographers. Does that make sense? So it's the same need, but it's not the same product. Whereas if you're in pet photography, I'm gonna venture to bet that there's not like a filmic style of pet photography and a modern style, or there might be, but they're probably not delineated nearly as much as they are inside of wedding photography. So inside of that, if you're a pet photographer and she's a pet photographer, you're both direct competitors. Does that make sense? Wedding photography is interesting as a study, because it's one of those areas where clients know just enough to have like, informed opinions of what they like. Right, they think about it enough, they look at all these bridal magazines, they look at all this stuff. Generally, if you think about the perception of a client persona going to pet photography, the bride would've looked through tons of different magazines and would've identified a style. But the person that loves their dog and just wants a photograph of their dog, do you think that they've looked through tons of dog magazines and dog-style and dog this and? I mean, they might. But most likely, most of them just love their dog and they want good pictures of their dog. So that's where we get to these are not direct competitors. Same product, same need, well, we can say same need, different product, basically. Okay, so we're gonna search your disciplinary sub-niche. Document the results, expand the keywords, and repeat. We wanna come up with a list, okay. So for example, the examples I gave. This area, wedding photography. Wedding photographer in this area. Document. Or fine art, newborn photographer. Fine art newborn photographer in Kansas City, whatever it might be. Your location under that. This comes to workbook number two. Let me go grab. Okay. Workbook number two is the competitor analysis. I have, actually this is the SWOT analysis. Ha ha. I'm gonna put this with you for one second. What do you guys wanna know about your competition? I'm gonna write it down. I know you're all thinking it. You got one thing in your heads. Give it to me. How much? How much. Price, that's always the number one, right? Is this attainable? Yeah, usually. Usually, there's a starting price. Usually, there's a, you know, investments begin at, you know, like, type thing on a site. That's general information that you can find. Okay, so you can get a starting point. And we can kind of do a guesstimation from there. So imagine this. We have that forecasting book, right? If you know that a competitor starts at $2,500, let's round it up and say that on average, they sell 3,000. Let's then look at their blog and see how many posts they have in a year that are genuine weddings. Count them up. Go plug it into number of weddings and your forecast will now tell you a really good estimation of what they're making and what their revenues are. Like, it'll be kind of scary accurate, like within 10%. That gives you idea of who you're competing against. Price. What's next? Quality? Quality. That's a huge one. You wanna know, like, is your work, where does it stand to theirs, right? Give it a rating, like, give it a number, like, is it better, is it on par, is it? But be very objective in that, because you're gonna shoot yourself in the foot if you're subjectively looking at this and like, yeah, their work is crap. No, there's a lot of people that create really great work out there. You got a question. The hours and availability. Like, do they get to do a 24 hours? Will they go into evening? Maybe the product offering. Hours, anything you want. So workbook two is created for you guys and it has a laid-out list. And I've put our names at the top, so you can kind of see how to populate it. It includes quality, it includes, like, kind of consistency. Because this is gonna give you ideas. If you start looking through their blog and you notice that their posts and their quality are very inconsistent, and their portfolio's really strong, then you can, ooh, identify a weakness, right? This starts to piece together how we're gonna actually compete. Okay, these are the primaries. Price, quality, the products that they offer. Those are the primaries of that thing. You're also gonna document their website, where they are in terms of their location in relation to you. Okay. I want you all to populate 20. And then, from that point, we're gonna continue to the SWOT analysis. Don't spend more than five to 10 minutes on each competitor. It's very easy to get stuck in this and just browse and browse and browse and browse. You don't need to. Five to 10 minutes. It should take you two to three hours to fill out all 20. Is it starting to click right now why we're choosing a focus? How would you do this for everybody? Okay. Any questions on competition? Judy. So as a boudoir photographer, a lot of competitors and even I don't put too many pictures of my clients. So how do you do a competitor analysis if you don't have access to as much information? That's gonna be a little bit tricky, because you're right. Like, in boudoir, you're not posting every single client that you are shooting. What I would say is look to groups. Local, like, Facebook groups, are generally really informative. Now, here's the thing that I wanna say about competition. We all compete against each other, right? This is the same industry. But I've always taught and shown that there are plenty of room for everybody. And more and more groups have that same mindset. So if you join a local boudoir photography group and you simply ask, what is a good starting range for this, or you simply ask the question, you'll get 20 to 30 people giving you information. If you asked, how many shoots a year do you guys expect? You'd get some pretty good information. Because this industry as a whole is turning a lot. 10 years ago, when we entered, everyone held on to these secrets very closely. And I think, over time, everyone's realized that you know what, there's enough room for everybody and everybody's offering a very different product and service, and we all help each other out. One studio helps second shoot for another one, one studio takes over when one can't. You need to develop this network and we're gonna talk about that later on, where you understand that, I mean, in Orange County, we have a lot of competition. But do you know how many times I can name friends that have competing studios that have stepped in for us when we need help? That's happened often. We're completely booked out, someone called in sick on a certain day, someone steps in to help us out. And we do the same thing. We wanna help out too. I went out to, Trevor's one of my good friends, Trevor Daley. And he had a wedding out in... It's out, some destination wedding, oh, think I forgot the name. Anyway, he said, I need a second shooter. I got the weekend free, I'll come. Okay. Like, cool. So understand that there's, like, this give-and-take relationship and that's very much information that you can find in these groups. Although it might not be as easily available online.

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