How to Launch a Photography Business

Lesson 37 of 87

Pricing Q&A


How to Launch a Photography Business

Lesson 37 of 87

Pricing Q&A


Lesson Info

Pricing Q&A

Questions on pricing. Yes. Hollis. So you say not to include pricing on your website. Do not provide a pricing sheet. When do I provide pricing? And how do I avoid wasting my time with somebody that isn't. Qualified? Yeah. So starting at gives you the qualification. And that gives you an idea followed by I want to talk to you. Like get that person on the phone. The phone is the, that's your hot spot. That's where you're gonna make your sales. But after that, you need to get 'em on the phone. So there should not be an email. Shoot me an email. There should be a call me right there. Starting at this, call me. I'd love to discuss your service. I'd love to discuss setting up an experience. That's where we back ourselves into this. We're gonna go through something. We're gonna talk about like we have so many issues with price and we're not realizing that we are the ones actually educating our clients to come to us on price. Because of the way the site is set up. And if you start ema...

iling somebody and you start it with price, starting at, send me an email. The first thing they're gonna ask you is can I get a price list. So get 'em on the phone. If you can't get 'em on the phone after multiple tries and follow ups, send 'em the price list. Be done with it, move on. Just don't have an expectation that you're actually gonna book them. What else we got? Several people, including Patrick, are still asking about how to assess other people's prices if they're not listing that on their own websites. So Patrick, when we went through the competitor analysis, there's a lot of things that you can do, including joining up with local groups. I mean like with my photographer friends, like we are pretty open about pricing and stuff. Like on all these different groups, you can join whether it's, you know, pick a group. Newborn, maternity, boudoir, film, all that stuff. You know, film has a huge group like that that what are they, like the film. Film is not dead. Film is not dead. Join there and put down the thing of like what's a good place to start in terms of pricing if I'm. And put down your experience level. You will have a bajillion people chiming in as far as like what they. Like everybody wants to answer questions. So you'll get a lot of great feedback there. Understand this though. If you're new and starting out, it's not so much a question of what everybody else is charging. If you don't have a client walking in the door, it's not what should I charge. It's I will do whatever it takes to shoot. For free, for $250, for $500. That's how it's gonna be until you have a significant amount of people coming in. And then you go to cost-method pricing. And then you go to demand-based pricing. So we have to understand the steps there. 'Cause I think people get the preconceived notion. They go onto these groups. And they haven't shot a single wedding. They haven't done any boudoir. They haven't done anything. They don't have a portfolio. Or they maybe just barely started. And then they start asking the question, what should I charge? Zero. Not until you can deliver a product that merits charging for it. It doesn't have to be a fantastic product. Maybe it's a $250 product. But until you can at least deliver that, you shouldn't charge anything. So thank you for that because the next question from Claudia with lots of votes on it is, I'm an aspiring photographer currently shooting for free to get that experience. How do I identify that point when it's the right time to start charging for my service and what is a good level to start with? How do you know? So a good place to start is what does she shoot? Weddings? Did she say? Don't know. Okay, for weddings, if you're doing something that is acceptable, $500 bucks, $1,000 bucks. Those are great places to start. You can find classified listings that are free to publish in, like Craigslist, local listings, all those kind of places where you can get $500, a thousand. We're gonna show you how we did it, the entire process of Craigslist and directory based marketing to get these low. They're essentially non expectational clients, right. We're looking for non expectational clients to come and start patronizing our studio, giving us something with practice. Those are the places that we began. And then you move from there. And generally what we're gonna talk about is you're better off shooting for free. Go onto these classifieds. Go find something. Go somewhere. You're better off shooting for free than you are sitting in front of your computer. Because at least if you're shooting for free, you're networking, you're putting your name out there. There's definitely somebody in that group. And here's the funny thing. Our first $4,000 wedding, we got through a lead, of a lead, of a lead, starting at a $500 wedding. So $500 wedding to $1,000, to a $1,500. And then eventually, someone at that wedding was willing to spend $4,000. They thought we were worth it. They flew us out to Cabo to shoot their wedding. And it was following that chain of kind of growth, right. Does that answer the question? Yes, thank you. And to follow up on that, another question had come in from Tony who says, he or she, is in a cost-basis mode, but is hoping for all of those referrals. So if the referrals might be looking for that same price. So say the $500 person thinks they're gonna get $500. So how do I get the folks with the upgraded prices is the question. So this is where a little bit of sales is required. Now what you want is when I book somebody at $ or at that entry-level price point, I'm gonna tell them that look, do me a favor. If you love your images, fantastic. Tell your friends. I would love for you to refer me to your friends. Just don't tell them the price. You guys are getting a price that's exclusive that I'm not gonna be able to match again. Do you know how they feel when you tell them that? Oh holy crap. Man, and even if they tell their friend the price, they're generally gonna say, but he or she gave me a price that I don't think they can honor again. But maybe they can cut you some sort of a deal, okay. Now maybe your price has gone up to $1, and this person refers somebody who they wanted $500. And you can do the same thing with them. And you say, look, I actually said to her not to repeat the price. But because you're a friend of hers, I'm gonna come down from $1,000 to 750. And you've just edged up. On the exact same referral, you gave them a deal and now you're working up to that next place. So it's kind of like. Every person that buys something, everyone. All of you. When you go and buy something that's expensive, you want to walk away feeling one thing. That you got a good. Deal. Deal, right, that's it. So it honestly doesn't matter if you have to come down $100 or $ or whatever it might be to get that. The fact that you're doing it makes them feel that way. And you still kind of edge them up. And you can continue doing that all the way up. And we still do it. Like we'll do it for high end coordinators, designers, like our yeah. So when you give someone a deal on pricing, what do you think about presenting them with an invoice and showing a higher price, and then showing a discount? I try not to. Okay so discount is a forbidden word. So we're not gonna use the word discount. Okay, what would be a better word? Therefore when you drop the price point, then I wouldn't even put that other thing on there. Like anything written should just be the final price. 'Cause what's happening is, using the term discount is training them to continue down that line of reasoning. Well do I get a discount for the album? Do I get a discount for this? No, you were given a collection price. The collection price is this amount. And if they say that again, is there a collection price for the albums, absolutely, if you buy three albums with me, I can give you a collection price of this. So that sets you up for a little bit different type of conversation. Got it. You know what I mean? Yeah. Would you consider using the terminology valued at also similar? Valued at's okay. Like a design consultation valued at 299. I would definitely say you don't ever say things for free. Gift valued at that price, right. So that way they understand. 'Cause a design consultation for us, that's like an IPS thing, right. When you bring them back in to sell prints. That has a cost to it. They need to understand that there's a value to us sitting down with them and designing artwork for their home. Otherwise they don't respect it. And they simply say, well what if I remove it, or what if I don't want that? Can I get a deal? Can I get a discount? So there has to be like. This is like a gift, inclusive gift, that comes in this collection valued at 299. But you don't ever do credits. Credits are what they go oh, it's a credit. I can apply that to something else. So a lot of times when I present my product, I usually use the word complimentary photo print. Is that? That's a better word. But it still means free. Yeah. And I would still appreciate you giving me a gift more than something that's free. But I use the word complimentary. I know, yeah. Even complimentary is still like kind of. It's better than free. I would still go with gift over complimentary. But like this is coming down to like how you're gonna vocalize your product. And you're gonna choose what best fits you. I would say complimentary and free are synonymous. They're just one word that slightly is better than the other one. But a gift, you know, is even better. Better yet, not even saying it. It's like they have a collection. And when you gift them something, don't put it in your packages. A gift should not be something that's already included somewhere in your pricing. That's not a gift. A gift should be something that they're not expecting. Does that make sense? Yes, okay. Okay. Great, I love this psychology stuff. And there's so much more to come with marketing and the sales. But we have some more great questions for your Pye. Cool. Okay, so we talked about not sending the price sheet immediately if somebody asks. And you get them on the phone. So what happens then, this is from Mark, when a client asks for a price sheet and then also like, hey now you're on the phone, but can you email that to me. And also getting into the sort of pricing of the A la carte items as well. Let's do the phone thing first 'cause I love this. This is gonna be a little preface to what's coming in the sales portion. 'Cause we're gonna cover phone conversations, and setting up dialogue, and setting up the experience, and going through the wave, and all those different things we're gonna do in sales. But it'll be a little teaser. When you call somebody up on the phone, you know what. Let's talk about this, price. We all get annoyed by it right? Don't feel special. Photography is not special. People aren't doing this to us. 60% of consumers, 58% to be exact, the first question that they ask when they buy anything is price. You guys do that everywhere you go. So stop getting frustrated by it. It's not just us. That's just consumer behavior in general. Now if someone calls you and they're fixated on price, and it's Sharon, ring ring. Hello. Hi, I would love. Sharon, can you grab the mic first 'cause I would love first if you got your mic. Hello, Pye. Hi. Sharon, I'm looking for some photography. Do you have a price list? No, I don't. (participants laughing) Okay, can you just tell me how much you cost? Can we discuss the services you're looking for? Well I just want to make sure I can at least pay for the price that you want. Like, I don't even know if it's in my budget. Can you just tell me what you cost? Well our first package starts at $500. Okay, that's out of my range. I was looking for like $50, but thank you. (participants laughing) Thanks for calling. Okay, had you asked that question. When you said, would you like to come in. And I said well I don't even know if I can afford this. This is the point where a consumer will start to get annoyed. When you start holding off, okay. 'Cause here's what's happening. Think of me as a puppy dog who's got my mind fixated on a bone. And that bone is price, okay. You can't take that bone out of my mouth without getting bitten. It's impossible. Would you ever take food out of a dog's mouth? No, they've got it there. Leave it there. They want a price. Stop trying to fight it. Stop saying come in. Stop saying all that kind of stuff. Here's what you say. What's your name? Pye. Pye, I'll bet every other photographer would send you a price list or just say that they can't tell you the price until you come in. Here's what I'm gonna do. I understand that you're busy. Our typical client would spend between $500 and $1,000. I'd love to tell you what it is that you're actually comparing against though. Do you have a couple minutes? Take the bone out of their mouth. Or let them better yet swallow it. Like get it done. Get it out of their system. You don't need to send me a price list. Why waste your time? Your time is valuable. Why do you want to send me an email? Qualify the client first right off the bat. And if I say that's out of my price range, you say, do you have a minute? Let me talk to you about what it is that you're comparing. I know you think it's apples to apples. I'd love to tell you kind of what we do so you can go and make an informed decision. That is a script that's very disruptive. Because that's not what anybody else would say, right? It's simple. And it gets you to where you want to be. And it get them off the price argument. And you didn't have to send an email. Make sense? We're gonna talk more about that later. And once we get that value piece and they go yeah, I do have a couple minutes. That's when you're gonna dive into the wave which we're gonna cover in the sales process. So, this is from Lucas. What is Pye's opinion to selling A la carte? We did cover that a little bit. For example, weddings are minimum eight hours, upgrade per hour is x dollars. Optional photo booth, optional album. I like the A la carte upgrades. And I'm gonna tell you from a weddings standpoint which upgrades are most desirable. More time, number one. Number one, your best upgrade is more time. Do you start with having to upgrade that, no. You start with your minimum to get to a product that you love. More time is a huge upgrade potential. Albums, big potential there for more. Photo booths. We are dropping from our product line. We offered it for quite a while. But it's just become too cumbersome to try and maintain like the props and everything that comes along with it and having somebody go out, and the price points for them. The companies that are doing them really well that we have to compete against, they're charging $500, $750 for a photo booth for a couple hours. It's just becoming not worth our time to maintain that line. So we're like, you know what, let's let it go. It is desirable. If you feel like you want to bite that off and kind of go and make that part of your thing, there is a market for it. It's just, it's getting very saturated. Here's where I want to kind of put something out there. When you get to a place inside of weddings. 'Cause IPS is a very hot term right now, is it not? Like everybody's talking about IPS and making money with IPS. And I'm not shooting it down by any means. But I want you to be realistic with your expectations in terms of what it is. In terms of weddings. Weddings themselves. Your main, primary, revenue generation is gonna be in the package. That's where you're gonna make your money, okay. That's the market expectation. That's what the clients expect. The clients do not expect to come in, pay $4,000, $3,000, $6,000. Whatever the amount is, it's still a lot of money. At any of these price points it's still a lot of money. And they don't expect to come in and pay that amount and then come back to have you sell them another $3,000 of wall art. That's not to say that you can't do it. What I'm saying is, that's not the market perception. And anytime you fight against what's the market perception, you're fighting an uphill battle. And if you're expecting it to happen a lot, it's not. You're gonna have one-off clients that do want wall art. Here's the issues that we've had. When it comes to family portraits, senior portraits, boudoir. When it comes to newborns, maternity. These are arenas where the market has set up a customer expectation of a low sitting fee and A la carte pricing for additional items. It's set up for you already. That's what the expectation is because that's what most everybody is doing. And that's the arena where IPS has the biggest potential. Is that making sense? But on the wedding side, that's not the way that it works. So you're fighting against what the market is naturally wanting and naturally doing, which becomes difficult. Here's the other clincher on IPS. It better be you selling it. It has to be you selling it. This is our biggest thing. I can, me, Justin, or Chris, we can sell our own artwork up the wazoo. But we don't want to be in these meetings. And every time we hand it off to somebody else, something gets lost in translation. And the effect of the artist walking through and presenting is not there. And it's difficult to make the sale. So IPS works best inside of boutique studios where it's you and a partner, or you by yourself running the process from start to finish. Because it's a very experiential process. And to get clients that want to spend and want to do that, it has to be you that they're buying. Does that kinda make sense? So, I want you guys to erase the expectation that this is gonna be a big piece of your revenue in the wedding side. You may set the expectation that this can be a big piece of your revenue on the portrait side. But have the understanding that it has to be you and it has to be a seamless experience from start to finish which we're gonna set you up for. So I want you to be clear as far as the difficulties that we've seen in a studio of 55 people trying to get IPS to work. I'm not gonna blow smoke up your butts. Like it's difficult to get it to work in this system. But I can teach it like all day long. I can help you set up a perfect studio that can do it. But to try to get a sales. 'Cause you'll see how it works. The sales process from the beginning of the phone call all the way through to the entire experience and to the end has to mirror IPS. And that's what we're setting up for in this entire class. The problem is for us, we have 10 people touching it from this point to this point. And even when you take notes from beginning to the end of the experience, things are lost. Does that make sense? Are we clear on kind of like which industries to kind of expect that in? On the wedding side, you can still do it. It's a bonus. Count it as a bonus. Clarification for people who aren't familiar with it. IPS is? It's a term denoting In-Person Sales. Which I hate, I'll be honest. 'Cause In-Person Sales in and of itself, the connotation is that you have to be in person and selling something for it to be of value. So in our studio, we call IPS, S3. It's shooting stories that sell. So triple S, S3. So we call it that because we want our shooters to have the impression, the connotation that this isn't selling you something you don't want. This is shooting something that the clients want. Shooting stories that sell. That's honestly what IPS is in a nutshell. It's just not what the name denotes. So when people hear the name In-Person Sales, they think eww, I don't want to be that person that's like used car sales person selling my clients on wall art. But it's a process that's great inside of the album side for weddings. We use it for that a lot. Yes. Pye, I've had a couple people ask. And I know this can be a concern when you're getting started and people freak out about being in a competitive market. So a couple people asked about what if you're afraid that another photographer who's in your neighborhood is the one calling and asking you for your prices. Don't worry about it. If that's the way they want to spend their time, then let 'em. Like, who cares? Who honestly cares what other photographers are doing? I want you guys to, look, we're all friends, we're also all competitors. Understand this of, create friendships and relationships with everybody. If some other photographer wants your price, they'll either ask for it or they'll pretend to be a client. Either way, they're probably gonna get it. So who cares, who cares. If they want it, they're gonna find it, right. Just stop worrying about it. Focus in on one thing. And that's your clients, making them happy. That's all you should care about for your imagery, all you should care about for anything else. And then just be friends with the community and use each other and help each other as a resource because that's what we are to each other. We are each other's assistants. We're each other's second shooters. We're each other's mentors and friends and everything. That's what we are to each other. So kind of treat it that way and just focus in on that one thing and stop caring about. I have these photographer friends who have like huge Instagram accounts. But the only people following them are other photographers. It's like not a single person is actually paying for your work but you do pretty work. But you sure get a lot of likes from photographers. You're missing the mark. Like we're focusing on the wrong area.

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.