How to Launch a Photography Business

Lesson 14 of 87

S.W.O.T. Analysis


How to Launch a Photography Business

Lesson 14 of 87

S.W.O.T. Analysis


Lesson Info

S.W.O.T. Analysis

Alright. The S.W.O.T. Ladies, you're welcome. Gentlemen, you're welcome too. I like looking at guys. A lot of work goes into that. Funny story, we'll save it for later. (audience member laughs) Time to analyze your business environment. So now that we have this competitor listing, we have 20 of our local competitors. We have ideas, not exact, you don't need to go requesting price information and all that kinda stuff from your competitors. You don't need to do that. Just ideas. Once you do a little bit of research, you can start to guestimate, right? Now it's time to do a S.W.O.T analysis. If you guys have been in business school, I'm sure you've seen S.W.O.T.s. You guys have seen S.W.O.T. analysis. They're really straight-forward. This is nothing, you know, revolutionary. But where I want you guys to focus are on internal and strength and weaknesses. External are gonna be things that are good to know, things that are good to watch for, but a little more difficult to mitigate. Now what ...

I mean is, an internal strength, what could that be? What do you guys think your internal strength might be? Anybody? Raise. Photography, in general. The quality The quality of the photographer. The quality of product is definitely one. What else might be an internal strength? [Woman In Audience] Personality Your personality, for sure one. Your... [Woman In Audience] Styling Styling, definitely one. What else? This is all... Customer service. I love that. Customer Service. Personality. Those are two things that are very hard to copy, right? How about your ability to do content marketing and writing? Your ability to put up a personalized blogpost? And to show your personality online? And to appeal to a certain persona? Your understanding of personas? These are all strengths that you guys are gonna have and develop throughout your career and also in this class. But you have to be able to, also analyze your weaknesses. And the weaknesses I want you to look at, in other studios, there's consistency of work, there's price-point to quality mismatches. You'll see it. Okay. There are weaknesses in the way they might blog. Perhaps they don't correctly SEO and target their local areas. There's weaknesses in terms of how they instagram, maybe you don't properly curate for each of these social media platforms. I have some examples for you guys. So this is the sheet that you guys have been filling out and I've put in a little example. What we're gonna do, is you're going to choose four local, direct competitors at this point, to do a S.W.O.T. analysis. So now you have your local business environment, which is your twenty. On that document, when you put in direct or indirect, it's going to highlight the word as red or green. If it highlights it as red, those are direct competitors. That's what you watch for. So anything on that document that turns up red, I need to focus on this. Okay? That's going to be your direct. You're going to take your four direct, and we're going to do this S.W.O.T., which is workbook three. So for studio name, I listed out image quality, and I gave you guys sample, you're not going to be able to see this, but there are sample strength categories, weakness categories, you can put in more if you want to. I just gave you guys an example of what this looks like. Their image quality is good, but ours is better. There's a lack of consistency. I could tell they struggle in low-light. Okay? They're blogging and posting consistency puts them around 15-20 paid weddings per year, with their middle package at $2500, this would put their revenue around 30-50 thousand per year. Studio is owned by one person. He appears to be doing most of the work himself. Second-shooter is not generally used, it appears. So right there, you're like, oh, price-point. Oh, our packages include second-shooters. Oh, we deliver really consistent work. Just look at our blog. You see how we're kind of like developing our strategy and what we're going to be telling our clients? Okay. Under weaknesses, blogging lacks a consistent voice. Sometimes he just writes entire blog entries, other times it's just a few images here and there. There's a good opportunity here to be more personalized in what we offer online. Instagram and Facebook are not properly utilized. Facebook consistent, mostly hooks and not enough jabs. Have you guys read "Jab Jab Jab Jab?" Jab jab jab jab jab jab jab. Hook. Jab Jab Hook is a marketing book, but it basically consists of social media, by and large these days needs to be operated with a jab, not a hook. A hook is one of those marketing messages, "Buy my work!" That's a hook. "Buy this class!" That's a hook. You need: What are you thinking about when you plan your wedding? Here are five tips. That's a jab. You need: Value offerings. Have you guys ever thought of going to this location? Isn't this beautiful? That's a jab. I was just hanging out with my son last week, and I got this picture. That's a jab. Anything that's soft, value-driven, offers the viewer something, without asking for anything, is a jab. Hooks are the asks. Come do this. So many of your competitors don't understand this and it's a huge opportunity for you to simply offer value to clients through your social media presence. And you'll notice that, because when you look at their Facebook pages, you'll see that there's no engagement. Check out this! One link. I'm offering new packages this week. One link. Okay. There's a couple others in there. I'll let you guys kinda review it on your own, but you're going to put this together for the four that you have. Where are you strong? Where are you weak? Environmental opportunities and threats. If everybody, if every bride suddenly said, film is the way to go. What would happen to our business? We'd tank, right? If these external opportunities or threats happen, now generally it doesn't happen like that, the film, kind of, arena, became a major opportunity, did it not? This drive towards film and this look that everybody's so into with the portraiture, this has become an opportunity for some, and it can become a threat for others, if it actually dominates. If it actually dominates and you're not in that area, it can become an external threat. But these shifts in market are external threats, or opportunities. How about the shift to digital? Do you think photographers were ready for that one? No. Nobody saw that external threat coming. And in a few quick years, everybody's margins were eaten away and what was once this industry that was so easy and you just had to have the technical skill and a little bit of marketing and everything became: holy crap, this environment has changed completely. Does that make sense? So, I want you to be aware of it, that it can happen, but here's the problem, is that, in your first twelve weeks, what can you really do? In your first year, or two years? What you want to do is be aware of those things and be ready to transition and move, but they're not things that you need to focus on right away. Document them, understand them. Can you guys think of any other external threats or possibly opportunities? Just advancing technology and improvements. Yeah. Consistent threats. It's both right? It's like an opportunity and a threat. The fact that your iPhone, your mobile devices, can take such great photographs, has definitely become kind of a threat to a lot of these, well especially photojournalists. Specifically just photojournalists. Right? Because now everybody's got the camera. Nobody really cares about the quality of the journalist's shot, so much as the story that it tells. And newspapers started laying off people in, you know, well everybody. So that's a huge one. Okay. Are we good on that? Okay. I want to give you guys an example because I know competition can kinda seem a little bit daunting. The purpose of this is: 1) Understanding that your competitors are also your friends 2) When we analyze our competitors, what we're trying to do is reframe the competitive environment. I have an example here. This is one of my favorite books from Malcolm Gladwell. David and Goliath. Anybody read this? Okay. You'll know the story then. It's a fantastic book. Pick it up. It's great. But this is the traditional story of David and Goliath, reframed. So this is how we know this story. The Philistine champion went up against the Israelite's underdog. What happens? Well the story of David and Goliath is basically two armies meet and there's a tradition that if the armies meet, they can choose to send out a single warrior. Whoever wins that battle, the army wins the fight. That way they don't have to lose all their resources, they can save their men, they can go their separate ways and the battle is won or lost. Okay. So Goliath, we all know is this huge monster. He come forward, steps forward and "I'm the Philistine champion and I'm going to crush you." He's saying all these things like "Come to me that I might feed you, feed your flesh to the vultures or the dogs or whatever," these taunts that he's saying to David, correct? He says, "Am I dog that you come at me with sticks?" And the way that we understand this and interpret this is very much just like, oh my goodness, this guy is there and he means business. David then slays Goliath with a sling. We all know this and the underdog wins. So the way we perceive this story is in the framing that we, or David was the underdog. And that's how we tell the story to everybody is you can win the bigger fight. Go for it. You wanna fight Microsoft? You wanna fight Amazon? You wanna fight..? You can win! But then he re-frames the story with science. So he gives a new reality. I'm not going to argue whether that reality is true or not what I am gonna say is it's very interesting in terms of the way he re-frames it. He finds scientific evidence that shows that accomplished slingers, they can actually sling a bird out of the sky mid-flight. Their accuracy is impeccable, when they're good at slinging. He finds out that the rock that David used in that particular region, was heavy and lead, so it was weighted pretty well. And that with David's skills and an accomplished slinger, that equals a 35 meter per second weapon. This is roughly the ballistic equivalent of a 45mm hand gun. With the ability to be able to sling a bird out of the sky. And then he analyzes the text. "Come to me,' hand to hand. Goliath expects this hand to hand combat. He's coming forward and he has assistants helping him to come forward and he's slow. It says this, in the Bible. And then he says, come to... like you come to me with sticks, but why sticks when David just had one sling. So, more scientific research is done and they find that someone like Goliath could potentially have acromegaly, which is giantism and those that have giantism, which there have been quite a few, like Andre the giant, like all these people that are popular currently, have acromegaly and they're near-sighted, to a point where they really can't see much. And then it re-frames the whole taunt, right? Because he's not necessarily saying "come to me, that I might beat you up." He's saying like literally, come to me. I can't see what's going on in front of me. Come to me and why do you come to me with sticks? Who do you think... Why do you send this little boy? He can't see what's happening in front of him and here's the proof of it. If you grew up in that time and you knew what a sling could do, would you understand its potency and its affect? Okay. Then why would he continue to walk toward David? If you saw him pull out a sling and start swinging it, why would you continue to walk toward that sling? So Malcolm Gladwell goes out to point out, in the book, that the underdog didn't win. If you took a loaded handgun into a hand to hand fight, who would everybody here bet on? We would all bet on David. Whether this is true, I'm not going to argue that. This is like a religious, philosophical debate that I'm not even going to get into. What I want to say about this is that the re-framing of this story, completely changes the way you think about it. Does it not? It completely changes the odds. So then the rest of the book basically goes into how underdogs compete with large businesses and that's what's really fantastic about it. Because the question you're going to ask is: How will I compete against my local version of a Lin & Jirsa? And there are a number of ways that you can compete. And the way that you guys can show your individual personalities and how you interact with your clients and your blogging presence and your social media presence and all these different things that you're doing, if you re-frame and fight your fight, the one that you're good at, it's very easy to carve out a niche and to keep carving out more.

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.