How to Launch a Photography Business

Lesson 71 of 87

Step 1: Identify Need or Want


How to Launch a Photography Business

Lesson 71 of 87

Step 1: Identify Need or Want


Lesson Info

Step 1: Identify Need or Want

Step number one comes the identification of the need or the want, and I'm first gonna ask you guys to make sure that everybody understands this. Need or want? Which one do we want? Which one do we probably need? Okay. Is this a need or a want? We all understand that these are wants, right? Photographs are luxuries. These are wants. Then what do you clients want? This is my favorite part 'cause welcome to the W.A.V.E. I want to have every one of you, everyone, take this and make it your own, okay? Rephrase it, do whatever you need to do to make it your own and then put it into a script so that you can practice and rehearse it. We call it the Wall Art Vision Exercise, and it's based on a simple series of questions. Imagine your home, pick a location where, knowing the cost, four, understand you're gonna see it daily, and what single image. These are our opening lines for our script for each of these things. So here we go. I'm gonna pick one of you. Who do I want, who do I want? Lee. Get ...

'er miked, buddy. For the rest of you, I want you to imagine as if I'm actually asking you the question. Lee, imagine your home. I want you to think of a place where you might hang some wall art. What place do you think you're thinking of right now? I was thinking either the hallway when you first walk in so you'll see it when you're coming and going, or just on the middle of the living room area. Rad, okay. Yeah. So that space is maybe five feet wide? Sure, yeah, close enough. I have a question that I wanna ask you, and you'll understand where I'm going with this but first, I need you to know something. Wall art like what you see in our studio, like what you see here, the wall art that you see inside of here and something that would fit that space is gonna cost probably around two to three thousand dollars. Not a big deal, just understand that it's expensive, okay? So the point is wall art is expensive, and it's an investment. It needs to be something that you love. You're gonna see it every single day. So I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna limit you to one single image from your engagement shoot. What one single photograph do you value enough to spend that kind of money on to put up on that wall and to see every single day? So the hypothetical engagement shoot that, okay. I mean, I think it's gonna be a personal picture and probably be a close-up, and it's gonna show the kind of connection or the emotion between my partner and I, so it'd be a, I don't know. It's kinda hard to think through and see what it looks like. It is. Yeah, I mean it's gonna be at a special place so it'll be a special moment. I don't know what it looks like, but I'll bet it's nice. Yeah, so this is one of those questions that, I mean, you said that want something romantic, so I'm thinking in a special place. What we might do is, can you think of that special place that you two might go often? Because if so, I would love to take you there, and I would love to grab that photograph there. Now Lee, don't you think it's important that as your photographer, I know what you actually value? Yeah. This is the Wall Art Vision Exercise. Now every single one of you here, we can switch the genre, switch anything out, and run the same thing, and I bet while I said that, you guys were thinking of other things. At the beginning you're probably thinking of your homes. You're probably thinking of a space that you would actually hang something. Then you're probably thinking about what kind of photo shoot would I wanna do, and what is the one single image that I wanna hang up from that thing? So from there, I'm gonna play in deeper to it. I'm gonna play in deeper, I'm gonna use words to help them visualize it, and we're gonna set a premise for this where we actually will set an example and do it again, but what do we achieve through this exercise? Without ever selling you ... You know what, I'm gonna ask you guys. What did we do through this? I didn't yet sell him anything. Do you all have an idea of my price points of wall art? Raise your hands if you know how much it was. How much was it? Two thousand. Two to three thousand dollars, right? But when did I ever sell him a piece of wall art? Okay. What else did I do? Grab the mic. You made him visualize the piece already on his wall. I made him visualize hanging up something on his wall so not only is he thinking about the photograph that he wants to put there, but he's now starting to accept the belief of actually hanging up photographs. Does this play back into my original vision, life belongs in print? Oh, heck yeah it does. You also got a lot of information about him and what he wants. A lot of information about him. And in fact, I can use his exact words now in describing that information. He now knows, or should know whether he can connect with you. Yes. Because anybody could take a picture. Does anybody care about the picture other than the F-stop? Absolutely. I think you established a very emotional connection between us because I associated the ... You put me in an emotional place and then connected personally at the same time, so it was What system did I hold you in? (audience murmurs) The limbic system. I held you there the entire time. And one of the biggest things to remember during this process, did you see the pauses that I inserted in that script? Some of our salespeople feel uncomfortable with pauses, so I put it into the script so they'd understand you have to. This is a dialogue and you think it's odd, but I'm literally using the exact same techniques in this entire class and the way that I'm talking to every single one of you. You'll see them unfold right in front of your eyes as we explain the psychology of all of it. But between it I'm sitting here and pausing so that I can make sure that you have time to accept and understand the words that I just said, and I'm nodding through it because I know that if I give affirmative, positive nods, most of you are gonna process and then nod back. And you're doing it subconsciously, like right now. (audience laughs) But we get you on that level where we have a deeper understanding now of your wants and needs, I know you better as a person, I held you in the limbic system, I visually had you think to the exact photograph that you wanted documented. This is what I'm saying about becoming a better photographer, because if you knew the exact photographs that meant the most to your clients before walking into the photo shoot, how many of you feel a little more at ease about getting the shots that you need to get? A lot more, right? We know exactly what they value, and it's something that a mood board can't just do for us. A mood board can dictate style. We know the exact images to capture, we have set an expectation of wall art and wall art price. I don't need to talk about it again. This is what I mean by setting you up for IPS. IPS is beyond the scope of your first 12 weeks in running a business, and it might even be beyond the first year, but this is the process of setting up for that expectation and understanding so that when they come back to your studio or when they meet you in that coffee shop and you present the price point of $1, that's not a shock, because there was an expectation set a long time ago, one that you'll actually repeat throughout the process. Now take this and make it your own, and the fun part of this becomes where you get to become the Jedi Master, because here's what we're gonna do about continuing the meeting. So we're gonna understand their wants, I'm gonna now, I know what it is that he's looking for. I'm gonna use his words and his language. I'm gonna build upon those desires that he said he wanted. I'm gonna show my understanding, and then finally I'm gonna use cognitive dissonance to lock him into it. From that series of questions from the W.A.V.E., I can get to what Julie values, what Angela values, what Shel values, what Erin values, and it doesn't matter what line of service you provide, I can figure out what you want. And if I can provide you a service that you want, Erin, what am I selling? I'm giving you what you want. Is that different from the concept of sales that you all learned a long time ago? I hope so. It should be dramatically different because now you're providing somebody something that they want. I do have a question for you that came from Scott who says "When you're asking all these questions, "are you taking notes?" And Scott says, "I always feel weird writing down notes "and keeping the conversation going, "so do you just have a knack "for remembering all these things, "or what are you doing?" I don't necessarily write down notes 'cause I do agree with Scott that it's difficult to stay present when you're writing. The trick here is, I've practiced things like remembering names, so I can remember everybody's names in the audience. When you do those kinds of things enough your memory will actually get better, and there's elasticity practices for brain memory that you can do, but the main thing that's maybe simpler that you can do right now is repeat their dialogue. It's parroting. By parroting and by repeating back the things that they're saying, it gives you enough to hold on to until the end of the meeting or until the end of that moment when you then right it down. But writing it down mid-process will take them out of the whole emotional aspect of the W.A.V.E. Another question from Jose Alvarado. We talked about that we need to get people on the phone as the beginning of their inquiry and he says, "How do you start the W.A.V.E. process "when they send that initial email or phone call? "I understand once you've got them in a meeting, "but how about that initial point of contact?" That's beautiful. So remember when we talked about, and we're gonna do this over the phone. I've set you guys up for the W.A.V.E. repeatedly by saying over the phone, what did we give them, we gave them a bone, the price point, right? And then I said if you have a minute, do you have a minute that I can talk to you about what we do? Then you kick off the W.A.V.E. I have an odd question that I wanna ask you. Bear with me for just a moment. Think about your home. I know this is weird. We're over the phone, you don't even know me, I know it's odd, but think about your home and a place that you might hang up a piece of wall art. And we just drop straight into the W.A.V.E. The W.A.V.E. always ends with this when you have established that correlation. Who here can think of that image that they want for anything? Erin, what is it? It's my son jumping in the desert with this giant grin at sunset. Perfect. So this will take us into the next segment, because your son jumping in the desert behind a sun, Erin, if I can capture your son jumping in a desert behind a sunset, would that be a photograph that you would value? Would that be something you might hang up on the wall of your home? Do you feel like that's important that I as your photographer understand that? Perfect. Three affirmations, and you can do that on the phone or in person, but those three affirmations that she just gave me right now are gonna play back to when you complete the W.A.V.E. We're gonna go to Erin, this is what we do here. Now I understand that you're comparing prices across different studios, but those prices, they're not apples to apples. You're comparing apples to oranges, I want you to understand what we do because our goal is to create imagery that matters to you. And I can end the phone call right there. I mean, the goal is to invite her in the studio, right? My next thing is I'd love for you come in and meet with us. Okay? If she says no, that's okay. She says "I don't have time" or "You're out of my budget" or whatever, that's fine. Let her go. At that point, it's five minutes in, cut your loss, let her go because you've planted a seed, which is cognitive dissonance and that's gonna come back and bite her in the butt later and she'll call you back. Julie. What about boudoir and woman portraiture, because it's hard for women to, it's like there's a complex about putting your own portraits on your walls, so how do you do the W.A.V.E. in this situation? This is where I want you to flip it. The W.A.V.E. is ours, and I remember meeting with Andrew Fundy with Fundy Software and Andrew gave me his version of this whole thing which I just tied into our "life belongs in print" thing and the wall art and that thing. But could you not do the W.A.V.E., what is the product that you end up with? Maybe 8x11 prints, a box set, okay. Could you not do the exact same thing by playing into, if you saw a photograph of yourself looking amazing and beautiful and confident, and that's something that you saw every single day, how would you feel? Do you think you might feel a little bit differently about yourself and your self-image? That's my goal. I wanna capture you in that way so that when you have that book of 8x10s, you can look at every single one of those images and remember how beautiful you are. That's literally why I got into this in the first place. You've just taken the W.A.V.E. and now you've adapted it to you. The main thing is identifying that need and then working back and presenting it back to them, that you understand what it is they're looking for and then getting them to agree that you understand what it is that they're looking for.

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.