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How to Start a Photography Business

Lesson 16 of 87

Values, Vision & Mission


How to Start a Photography Business

Lesson 16 of 87

Values, Vision & Mission


Lesson Info

Values, Vision & Mission

We have, at this point, at least defined out, kind of like our focus and trying to figure out where we're competing, what we're doing. Now, I want to help all of us to craft a, your guiding statement, your Commander's Intent. We have former military person here. That's a big thing, right, Commander's Intent? Right. This is, essentially, if you are not on the battlefield or if your commander is not on the battlefield, what do your soldiers do? What do your people do when they do not have direction. Would that be a good description of it? Okay. These are statements that are gonna guide what you do as a business. Because now you know where you want to compete and you have an idea of who your competition is and you've thought through what is my end goal and where does my lifestyle gonna be? Now it's about crafting a vision so that you can hone in and cut out all the other stuff. Okay? So values, vision and mission. Your core values, this is who we are, who you are. What we believe and ...

what we strive for. This is the foundation and the principle of your team and I know a lot of you out there might be going but it's just me. It doesn't matter and I'm going to talk to you about why, in just a moment. So we're going to craft your core values and your strategy and goals are going to fall into place from this. Does that kinda make sense? What you value and who you are as an individual and what your vision, and what your mission is, is going to dictate the time that your putting in, the projects that your taking on, clients who you're saying yes to, opportunities you're saying no to, everything. So we have a simple exercise. If you're online, pens and paper. I love pens and paper, don't use Word, who wants to use Word or anything online, or the new-fangled things, anyway, pens and paper. So, this is an exercise that again in the world of business and corporate America they do these things frequently. The best example of this actually came from a friend of ours Jonathan Main, he's with Fundy Software. Fundy, they make great home design software, it's fantastic. That plug aside, this came from Jonathan, and the reason why I love this series of questions is because it's intuitive. It'll get you to where you want to go without making you think about it directly. So the first thing I want you guys to write down is at a party, what five things do you tell other people about yourself? Kenna, what five things do you tell other people about yourself? Alright, while everybody is writing that down, I was not ready for this one. I would say, I talk about-- It's supposed to be a hot seat. I talk about travel. Okay. I might talk about growing up in LA, I might talk about how I like mustard on my french fries, not ketchup. I might talk about how my first name, middle name, last name is a palindrome. Interesting. And I'm, sorry, first name, middle name, last initial. I'm just trying to come up with fun facts about-- Myself. Fun facts What do you tell people? I would tell people, I mean it depends on the person, right? But generally I would say things like, I'm an educator, I love to write, I like racing cars, I love adrenaline sports, I like taking pictures. These are all kinda things that go on my list. You guys have some thoughts? Who wants to blurt some out? Blurt 'em! Traveler, cook. Traveler, cook. Scrabble player. Scrabble player. Photographer. Photographer, love it, who else? Julie. I'm French. I'm French. (laughing) I have a cat named Toby DeVito. You have a cat named what? Toby DeVito. Toby DeVito, like Danny DeVito, but Toby. Yes, exactly. (laughing) Okay. I have a blog in which I help people to give them stress-free and happy life. A blog to help people live a stress-free life. That's awesome, okay. And I love taking pictures to help women become more confident in their beauty. You love taking pictures to help women become more confident, beautiful, I love this. So I'm hoping that you guys kind of get a list of a few things that you kind of identify with, right? That's not necessarily who you are, yet, those are things that you enjoy, that you would relate to. Next step, and I'm repeating everything that you say so that we don't need to use the mic and bring it all around. So that's way it's, it's audible. Take the people closest to you, I want you to write down, let's say 10 words, of things that they might use to describe you. 10 words that they might describe you with. (laughing) Shell's laughing. My teenage daughter's annoying. Your teenage daughter's annoying. (laughing) Don't write that one, don't write that one, no, no, positive things, positive things that people would use to describe you. (laughing) Negative things. He uses way too much hair product, and cologne, that's what I think people would say, but yeah. Pye as you're going through this, I mean, is this something that you would actually ask a series of people how they would describe you? I think it's interesting to think about how you think people would describe you-- Oh this is interesting. Versus how they might actually do so. Okay, so you all know me as, well, this is me, I am, I think fun and relatable, and all this kind of stuff, but for our employees, intimidating, is probably the thing that they say across the board, in terms of like, and I have to like tell 'em, like just come, come in any time, like if you have questions. But when we get new people in, that's like the number one thing that they say, for some odd reason, and they won't talk to me. You guys talk to me! Everybody here talks to me! But that's one thing that I get. In terms of like positive traits, I would say hardworking. I would say people describe me as very focused. On the flip side I can't multitask at all. It's like, very much an impairment for me, like, if I'm looking at something, someone could talk and it's just out, yeah. Organized, meticulous would probably be one. Like, I'm a systems person, right? That's my passion. I love creating systems, and organization, and formats, and frameworks, so can you imagine what my house looks like? There's literally a label for everything. Everything has a place. And my children follow it, it's fantastic, it's so great. They put it all away, they, yeah. My office is like that. So these are things that kinda play into me. What would people use to describe you? What do you think? I would think people would say, kind. Definitely. Generous, perhaps. See, look I get all embarrassed (laughing) when you ask these questions. I would say curious. I would say adventurous. Perfect. Things like that. Okay. I have notes on you already, okay. I love this, putting Kenna in the hot seat, she's never in the hot seat! Let me get a few of you guys, just blurt a few out, and I'll repeat 'em. Optimistic. Optimistic. Trustworthy. Trustworthy. Chill. Cannot-- What was that? Chill. Chill. Cannot multitask and think that I can. Cannot multitask and think that I can. (laughing) You're like me, you'll eventually accept that you cannot. Thoughtful. Thoughtful. Creative. Creative. Great, these are all really good. So I want us to focus on like, things like, you know, meticulous could be, like those are things that I'm thinking of. They could be positive or negative, but in general I want you to think of the positive side. Kind, travel, adventurous, all these kinds of things that you know, are positive attributes about you. Now, last step. List out attributes of seven people that you admire. People that I admire. My father, he was an immigrant, he started everything all over again to bring me over here. Hard working, focused, dedicated. People like, let's see, Michael Jordan is one of mine. Just, dedicated to a job and being great at something no matter what's happening. Sick, he still performs. The ultimate performer, like, no matter the situation. Business people. Founder of Tesla, god, why am I brain farting right now? Elon Musk. Elon Musk. One of the most amazing minds. Intelligent, creative, driven. All of these different things. What do you got? And I'm keeping religious figures outta this, 'cause like I do have those too, but I wanna keep it neutral. Well I was actually just writing down words that I wasn't thinking about actual particular people, but compassionate, loyal, authentic, honest, witty, intelligent, things like that. Perfect. What else you guys got? Happy. Happy. Empathetic. Empathetic. Authentic. Authentic. Creative. Creative. Strong. Strong. Cool. Cool. Open minded. Open minded. Okay, we have enough. Now what I want you to do, is from these three different lists, write out the most repeated attributes. And here's the interesting crossovers. For example, Kenna said early on that she loves to travel. Then she said, people would describe me as adventurous. And then she said, following whatever attributes that could fall into this line of like, somebody that might do those things. And you can start identifying this pattern throughout these three lists, of the things that resinate most with you. That pattern, this is who you are, this is what you respect, this is where you want to be. You may not be it today, but that is what you resinate with. Okay, is that kinda making sense? Now the reason I like this is because in all the business courses that we've done this in they're asked very direct questions and it's very difficult to get to a good answer when you know what I'm trying to get to. But this way, it becomes a lot easier. So we do this as a company actually, with all of our people together, and our most repeated attributes across these three lists, are these six items. So, right now, as a team of one or two, I expect you to do this within your team currently. If it's yourself along with a partner, you do it together. As you grow each year, you do it again. And each year, as you get bigger, you do it again. This is 50 different people, weighing in to get to the fact that we are, number one, hardworking, two supportive, three driven, four ambitious, five we set an example, and six we are talented. That is our core value. This is our foundation and principles of the team. This is who we are, this is what we believe, it's what we strive for, and this is where we create our value statements. And each of those statements should encompass these three things. And it goes in the form of this, we, and then you're gonna say the line. I'm gonna give you our examples. We adopt extreme ownership. We understand that leadership is a two way street going up and down the chain of command. Each individual of the team takes ownership over their own actions as well as the actions of the team. We practice the principles of looking out the window with success and into the mirror with each failure. Commander's Intent. How do you think our own people, or your people, would behave when this is on the wall of your studio? It's a reminder to yourself of what it is that you believe and what you value most, right? Let's go to the next one. We embrace creativity. We believe creativity is heightened through thinking differently and embracing diversity. We continually expand our creativity not only in your photography and cinema, but also in our everyday approach to solving problems. We are client obsessed. We succeed when our clients are happy. Our clients are our true north, those who make it possible to make a living doing what we love. As a team, do you think we care what other photographers say about us as a company, when that is one of our core values? No. It doesn't matter. That becomes a big relief when you put something like that into your value statements. That you cut away an entire group of critics, that truly do not matter to the success of your business, and you dial into what does. We support and empower. We believe that family is a verb, it's defined by actions, not by words. We invest in each other through sacrifice, support, compassion, and love. We create a safe, non-judgmental, family environment, focused on the betterment for each other, or of each other. Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success, Henry Ford. We sharpen the axe. We're a passionate group of creatives that believes success occurs at the intersection of talent, hard work, and humility. We embrace new challenges, humbly seek out learning opportunities, and continue to grow in your personal and professional lives. The best things in life are on the other side of fear, Will Smith. That's Chris, Chris loves Will Smith. I do too actually, he's awesome. We are industry leaders. We set the standard for everyone, or we set the standard everyone aspires to become through example. Beyond consistently delivering high quality experiences and products. We continue to innovate in each of our areas. Never settling for good enough. Okay. So why does this matter in a company of one or two? I'm gonna ask you guys. Why do you think it matters? Probably doesn't. It probably doesn't matter. Why would it not matter? 'Cause the apply no matter whether you're one, two, or 100. Let me ask you a question. Without defining who you are, and what you value, and your vision, and you're on the phone with a prospective client, and that client just dropped the biggest line of profanity, cursed you out and said that, I can't believe you don't do this, I can't believe this, I want a lower price, I want this, I want that, would a value statement of, I am client obsessed, my goal is the happiness of this client, help you in that situation to say, let me take a step back from this and respond based on what I believe? Absolutely. Yes. This is why it matters, in a team of just one. Because this is, this is your true north. It's your compass, it's your guide. If you, your six attributes or your seven, I would say, I want you guys to create five or six core values, but if your core value has something to do with, let's say, wedding photography, I would expect that you don't accept other types of jobs, and other things. If your core value is obsessed towards the client, I'd expect you to behave that way. It dictates where you're going. And now we're going to create what's to come after this, and my recommendation is you will forget this. Which is why, after you finish writing it, print it, put it up on your walls, place it in areas that you can see it clearly on a daily basis. 'Cause it'll guide you, okay? And this list of core values, what was it based upon? It was based on what you are. What you respect. What you see yourself as. A lot of these things are aspirational. We are the best in the industry? That's not a statement of accuracy, that's a statement of aspiration, right? Okay. Next piece, the vision statement. This is your picture of your desired future. It should do three things. Your goal and purpose, they should be primarily aspirational and what you want to achieve. And it should be inspirational in terms of motivating you to get to where you wanna be. This is Walt Disney Company's. To be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. They own news networks, ESPN. Like, they are an information provider, as much as they are an entertainment source. That's their vision statement. This is the value of a vision statement. Who hear knows of who Smith-Corona is? Raise your hands if you know Smith-Corona. That's actually a decent number of people. What did they do? What did they make? They made typewriters. Typewriters, perfect. The Cartridge Age. This is one of their typewriters. For Christmas, get a typewriter. That's a crappy, really? I don't get that. Okay, how about Underwood Typewriters? Ever heard of them? Raise your hand if you've heard of Underwood Typewriters. Two people. So six knew, three people. Six knew Smith-Corona, three people knew Underwood. That's interesting. Because in 1939, they had the largest typewriter in the entire world. The typewriter factory. And they produced over five million units by 1939. Now, if you put that into today's dollars, let's say that these things sold for $10 back then. I don't know, just a number off the top of my head. That's 50 million dollars. In 1939 money, extrapolate that to today money, this is a billion dollar company, right? This is massive, they don't exist anymore. Their businesses, their vision, are defined by certain things, which is making the best typewriters. And that's where your vision statement is supposed to think, it's to be future thinking. To think forward. This is, I ask the question of differentiation, how do I differentiate myself from other photographers? It starts with your vision statement. Because I expect you to share that. At least through your philosophy, if not through direct words with your clients. If you're defined by making the best typewriters, and everybody switches to word processing, what happens? Your vision doesn't incorporate that eventuality. And that's one of those, if we were to go back to a swat, what is that? Do you remember? So, yeah. That's an external threat, right? Everybody switching, a technology change, everybody switches over, this is an external threat. It happens. Their vision statement doesn't incorporate that, they continue making the worlds best type writers until the point where they just can't anymore. In reality, they should have been in business of word processing. They should have understood the grand scheme of what it is that they actually did. How many of you here are photographers? And I hope all of your hands stay down right now. That's not what you do. Okay? You're not in the business of taking a picture. Anybody can take a picture. iPhones take fantastic pictures. Mobile devices take fantastic pictures. Anybody, that has been done, it's been taken care of, it's over. The business of taking pictures is over. You need to define yourself as something else right now. Through experiences, what you provide to your clients, anything. Let me show you ours. You are not in the business of taking pictures, that line of business is quickly disappearing. Or has already disappeared. Here's our vision statement. We are the world's foremost creative family historians, artfully documenting moments through our lens. There is very specifically not a single mention of a camera up here. That could change, right? The way that we document things, who knows how that's gonna change. But creative family historians. That will never change. Artfully documenting moments. That will never change. Through our lens, that could be interpreted as the lens of our eye. So even if cameras evolve to the point of there's no, I mean, I don't know how that would happen, but it has multiple interpretations, this can stand up. Correct? Now when a client comes to our studio, do you think I tell them that we're photographers? I go look, you could hire any studio to take your pictures. Or we can become your families historians. We can become the people that artfully document the moments of your life. That has a very different connotation to it. And I will say that exact statement. Yeah, anybody can take your pictures guys. Why would you need somebody to do that? And then as I play through our images and as I talk about our work, I'll tell them, moments like this sometimes don't necessarily happen on their own. This is the part of understanding as a family historian, my job is to capture the generations of your family. You have your mother and your daughter here at this moment, in this wedding, I wanna get a picture to document that. Here's an example. And then you walk through that experience. Now go back to, how do you compete with the person next to you? The person next to you is probably not offering that experience or product. If they are, are they in your competition in terms of quality level? If they are, like, you've already differentiated yourself from 90% of the people out there that are offering a similar product. Simply by a vision statement that crafts the way that you are going to sell and present your work. Then it comes, the mission statement. This is the Commander's Intent. And I have the WWJD here, so if you're Christian, the Christian's Commander's Intent, is what would Jesus do? Doesn't matter whether you're Christian or not, I thought it was fantastic that that single phrase, what would Jesus do, literally defines out, how a Christian should behave in any situation. And that's exactly what the mission statement is. It's your business, it's your objectives, it's your approach, it's your intent for anyone on your team to follow when you are not present. And it also applies to you. I love TED's, theirs is so simple. Spreading ideas. How simple is that? If you worked for TED, oh, this is a great idea, I wanna spread this. Like, that's it! You're a producer, that's all you have to give them. Great ideas, great, that's what we do. Here's Patagonia's, look at this, this is awesome. Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Isn't that cool? So, someone from Patagonia could be sourcing materials in some foreign country, and be presented with something that gives them like pause, like should I do this or not? And they can actually reference back to this, build the best products, yeah I do that, I'm not causing any unnecessary harm, am I using business to inspire and solve, well this manufacturer over here is not using practices that would kind of follow standards, so let's not source our materials from that site. Done. Your mission statement should capture your vision and your core values. So I'll review our core values. Extreme ownership, we embrace creativity, we're client obsessed, we support and empower growth and change, we are leaders. Here's our mission statement. We are a family of passionate and hardworking creatives striving to artfully document the history of our client's families as if they were our own. That incorporates our strive to be creative, hardworking, passionate, artfully documenting the history of our client's, treating them as if they were our own families, client obsessed, that's the whole statement. Now get on the phone with your client, and talk to them with this. Does that make sense? Okay. So the exercise now, is to mind map out your values, vision, and mission, this comes in weeks, I think three and four in the roadmap, it'll actually have you define it out clearly. Week five, is actually the place where everything is defined out, and you're registering your business. Until then, we're figuring out the strategy, the vision, the process, what we wanna do, how we wanna create it. Before we think about the name or anything, let's figure out where we wanna go. So, don't stress, you have time to think of all these things. We start the process in week two, I want you to finish it around week four. Okay. Now, we wanna craft our mission statements, and now, the plan and the goals, that's done for you. That was our roadmap, okay? Does that make sense now? So the roadmap is actually a 12 week plan of what you should be doing for not only that 12 weeks, but also in the first few years to come as well. And that's already defined out, but this is the time where if you're online, this is the time where you pause, you finish out everything, look at the roadmap, and see if it identifies everything properly, make tweaks if you need to in your roadmap. But that's where you finalize and modify your road map as needed, before you're about to hit the go button. Okay? Now, the roadmap that I created and this 12 week structure, this assumes that you're gonna be putting in, 30 to 40 hours a week into this. So if you're gonna do this as a side gig, and you're gonna dedicate 10 hours to it, extend it out, don't extend it out too long though. It becomes difficult to carry things forward without having any achievement when you spread it out too long. So even if you have a full-time job, I expect you to put in 20 to 30 hours. If you're jumping into this full-time, you can do this quicker, it's okay. So adjust that as you guys need.

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

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.


  • Start a photography business
  • Develop the ideal business structure and business plan
  • Research competitors and the market in your area
  • Build a short-term and long-term strategy
  • Create a marketing plan and marketing materials on a budget
  • Confidently conduct an in-person or phone sales session
  • Manage small business tasks from accounting to strategy


Professional photographers aren't just people with a knack for photography and a good camera -- because launching a small business on nothing but passion is a sure-fire way to fail spectacularly. Layer business savvy, marketing know-how, professional grit and more onto your existing passion and learn how to start a photography business. Take your hobby, vision, and creativity and build a career -- whether you are looking to run a full-time business or just a side gig.

Led by a photographer that's also a certified public accountant, Pye Jirsa, the class teaches the ins and outs of launching a photography business from the ground up. Along with three full days of instruction, Pye shares a 12-week plan to get your business up and running, a business expense calculator and more inside the class workbook. Understand what gear and skills you need before you launch and how to build a portfolio by photographing family members or organizing a stylized shoot.

Stop feeling overwhelmed by the monumental task and tackle one task a day in a 12-week plan. Brainstorm names for your business and learn the different types of business licenses available. Secure a domain name and build a website that's easily searchable. Develop a marketing plan with little investment. Master in-person sales and book your first session.

Whether you want to venture out in portrait photography, commercial work or any other client-based type of photography, learn the "business" in photography business with Pye Jirsa.


  • Photographers ready to launch a business
  • New professional photographers looking to grow a young business
  • Photographers interested in working in weddings, portraits, newborns, maternity, families, seniors, engagements or commercial photography


Pye Jirsa is a wedding photographer with Lin & Jirsa photography -- but besides running a successful photography business, he also has a background in accounting, creating the perfect blend for teaching the ins and outs of running a photography business. Along with working as a photographer and educator, Pye is also one of the founders of SLR Lounge, an online resource for photographers.

Learn from a founder of a photography business that photographs more than 300 weddings a year. Pye's Los Angeles and Orange County wedding photography business has been named among the top 100 wedding photographers by Brandsmash.


  1. Class Introduction

    Go from nothing to a booked client or grow a young photography business -- that's what students should expect from this course. Learn what's ahead in the course in this introductory lesson.

  2. Common Myths & Unknown Truths

    Bust the myths and set appropriate expectations for running a photography business. In this lesson, Pye shatters some myths, then lets photographers know what to expect before launching a business.

  3. The Road Ahead

    There are easier ways to make a living, Pye says, and the expectation that photography is easy money is setting yourself up for failure. Find out what the average studio spends on costs and start calculating rough numbers using an easy spreadsheet included in the class workbook.

  4. Find Your Passion

    The reality of working as a photographer, Pye says, is that 10 percent of your time will be spent taking pictures -- and 90 percent will be running the business. Pye redefines the passion that you need for business.

  5. The Lin & Jirsa Journey

    Go behind the scenes of Lin & Jirsa Photography and learn the story for how Pye's business launched.

  6. Part-time, Full-time, Employed, Partners?

    Walk through the different options for running a photography business. Learn the pros and cons of working as a photographer part-time or full time. Dive into options for working with a partner.

  7. Stop Wasting Time & Money

    Can your clients really tell the difference between an f/1.2 and an f/2.8 lens? Between a good camera and a high-end camera? No -- which means you shouldn't be wasting money on gear that you think that you need. Instead, re-focus on what clients easily notice.

  8. Your 12 Week Roadmap

    Getting a photography business off the ground can be done in as little as 12 weeks. In this lesson, Pye shares the roadmap for a 12-week launch, using the included class workbook to build your plan of attack.

  9. Great Plans Still Fail

    Strategies won't protect you from failing, but those failures can still take you somewhere. And you're not alone -- in this lesson, Pye shares some of his past failures.

  10. Strategy Vs. Planning

    Don't make the mistake of jumping right into business without first planning. Slow down, Pye suggests, and develop both a strategy and a plan.

  11. Mind Mapping

    Jump into step one for strategy and planning with mind mapping. Use this technique to brainstorm and build ideas using nothing but a sketchpad and a few minutes of time.

  12. Select a Focus

    Develop a focus to make the task of launching a business less monumental -- and launch a business that's better poised to compete. In this lesson, learn the importance of developing a focus then narrow down the focus of your business.

  13. Competitor Research

    What are your competitors doing? Professional photographers shouldn't burn up all their time comparing businesses, but researching competitors is an important part of the process. Learn who's really your competitor, develop a research strategy, and understand what to look for.

  14. S.W.O.T. Analysis

    Analyze your business environment by looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats -- or S.W.O.T. Adapt this common business practice to photography and learn how to apply the analysis to your own business launch.

  15. Strategy & Long Term Goals

    Where do you see yourself in three years? Build a long term strategy by looking at your ideal work-life balance and lifestyle.

  16. Values, Vision & Mission

    Developing your business values, vision, and mission creates a foundation that helps your strategy and goals fall into place. Whether you work alone or with a team, pinpoint your values, vision, and mission.

  17. Effectively Managing Your Time

    Business owners that work from home often fall into the trap of neglecting to set a schedule. Learn how to effectively manage your time as a business owner when you don't have a time clock to punch, from setting hours and goals to tools to help you track your time.

  18. Artistic Development

    Part of the 12-week business launch is education and developing your skills as an artist. Learn tricks to catching up and developing skills as an artist.

  19. Create Your Plan

    In this lesson, develop a plan to ensure the fundamentals of photography are in place before your first shoot. Craft a plan for improving your technique, no matter what genre you plan to shoot in.

  20. What's Your Product

    In this lesson, define what your product is as a photographer. As a photographer, your product is a combination of you, your photographs, your experience, your website, and more.

  21. Luxury vs Consumer Products & Experiences

    What's the difference between luxury and consumer, besides just price? In this lesson, Pye walks through the different qualities that tend to be associated with luxury brands compared to consumer goods -- and how that relates to photography.

  22. Quick Break for Econ 101

    Economics play a big role in business. Dig into a few economics basics and how those concepts apply to the photography business.

  23. Your Target Market & Brand Message

    Identifying your target market and brand message is essential to building your business. Dive into the topic with an example using Pye's own photography business.

  24. What's in a Name

    Choosing the name of the business is a tough decision. Weigh the pros and cons of using your name for your business or coming up with a unique business name.

  25. Your Client 'Why'

    Craft a simple statement that builds the experience, or the why that you want for your clients. Learn what that "why" is in this lesson.

  26. Crafting the Why Experience

    Clients choose photographers for the experience. Identifying that why experience, then building that experience is an essential part of growing your photography business. Learn how in this lesson.

  27. Document the Client Experience

    Writing down the client experience helps ensure every client gets the same careful attention to that client experience. Work to document your client experience in this lesson.

  28. Business Administration Basics

    Work through the basic business tasks you'll need to tackle, from gear to business management software. Tackle registering your business name (including checking for an available domain name) and opening a business bank account. Learn why an LLC is often best for protecting personal assets, and the different types, such as a sole proprietor.

  29. Book Keeping Management

    How often should you look at financial statements? How should you keep track of what you are making? Tackle the bookkeeping best practices for your business.

  30. Create the Logo & Branding

    Build a logo that represents your business. Learn the qualities of the ideal logo. Then, jump into additional branding materials.

  31. Portfolio Design

    Learn how to show off your work in a portfolio. In this lesson, Pye shares why less is more, how to choose the images in your portfolio, and more.

  32. Design Your Services & Packages

    Design a pricing structure that suits your business and your goals. Learn what to do -- and what not to do -- when building your photography packages. Stop upselling and create a package that you -- and your clients -- will love from the start.

  33. Pricing Fears & Myths

    Continue building that pricing structure by dispelling the fears and myths surrounding pricing your work. Stomp out pricing fears in this lesson.

  34. Three Pricing Methods

    There's no right way to price -- in this lesson, Pye shares three different methods for pricing your work. Adapt these pricing frameworks for your own business.

  35. Package Pricing Psychology & Design

    Setting a "price anchor" helps your mid-way price point feel less expensive. Learn similar pricing psychology tips in this lesson, along with all how to name and develop your package prices.

  36. Psychology of Numbers

    Presentation matters -- even the font of your price can play a role in how potential clients view your prices. Learn best practices for presenting your prices.

  37. Pricing Q&A

    Expand on your pricing know-how as students like you ask questions during the live class.

  38. Grass Roots Marketing

    How do you create a marketing plan when you have no marketing budget? Build a plan to market your business on a budget, including network marketing and social media. Then, adapt your marketing plan as your business grows.

  39. The Empty Party

    Continue developing your grassroots marketing strategy and learn how to get people talking about your business. Use SEO, social media and word of mouth networking to grow your business.

  40. Friends & Family Test Shoots

    Taking test shots with a purpose both helps you practice your skills and expand your marketing efforts. Learn about brand ambassadors and organizing test shoots.

  41. Join Groups

    Joining online groups helps build a team of support, a resource for critiques and more. Learn how to make the most of online groups in this lesson.

  42. Second Shooting Etiquette

    Working as a second shooter is a great way to get your feet wet. Create more opportunities from second shooting by treating the task with proper etiquette.

  43. The Listing & Classified Hustle

    Directory listings and online classifieds are a simple, inexpensive way to get your name out there when you are getting started. Master some best practices for using online classifieds and similar options.

  44. Make Instagram Simple

    Continue working on social media marketing with tactics for using Instagram for your photography business. In this lesson, Pye shares the basics of using Instagram to find potential new clients.

  45. Your Automated Pinterest Plan

    Most brides use Pinterest more than any other platform to engage with vendors -- and the platform is important to other genres like family photography and newborn portraits too. Tackle Pinterest and learn to make your clients work for you by adding a simple plug-in to your site.

  46. Facebook Because You Must

    Pye cautions against relying on Facebook -- or any single source -- to build your business. But, Facebook is still an important part of your social media marketing. Learn Facebook marketing best practices.

  47. Giveaway & Styled Shoots

    Once you've built a quality portfolio, giveaways and stylized shoots can help boost your business. Learn why giveaways and stylized shoots are so important and how to make the most of them.

  48. Content Marketing & SEO

    Longterm, content marketing and search engine optimization is an important part of sustaining your business. Learn what content marketing and SEO is and how it plays a role in photography companies.

  49. The Monster: SEO

    SEO feels like a daunting task for photographers -- but in reality, it's just something that's simple once you learn how to do it. Master the keyword by understanding what keywords are.

  50. Selecting Your Keywords

    Now that you understand what a keyword is, how do you use them? Which one do you choose? Learn how to choose the keywords that will work best for your business in this lesson.

  51. Testing Your Keywords

    Just how viable is that keyword idea? In this lesson, learn how to determine if a keyword is good or not --and gain new ideas -- using the free Google Keyword Planner tool as well as options like Moz and SEM Rush.

  52. Grouping Main & Niche Goals

    Armed with your keyword ideas, determine what options should be your main focus and what should be a niche. Determine the main search goal, then build smaller niche goals for creating a searchable website.

  53. Your Content Road Map

    Build a strategy from those keywords and start building website content to bring potential clients in through search. Learn where to plug in those search terms and how to organize your web content using keywords.

  54. Content Marketing Q&A

    Gain additional insight into building your website content through questions from students during the live session, from how long web content should be to blogging tips.

  55. Inspiration to Keep Working

    Website content isn't a one and done thing -- but you shouldn't feel overwhelmed. In this lesson, find the inspiration to keep building your business when the tasks seem monumental.

  56. How to Craft Your Content

    Once you have your focus and keywords, it's time to start building your website content. Learn how to write better website content, where to place those keywords, and best practices for building content that will get noticed by Google.

  57. Internal Linking Basics

    Links play a role in how Google sees your website -- so how should you structure your website? In this lesson, learn tricks to building the links on your page.

  58. Back Link Building Basics

    What about links that originate off your website? Backlink building helps boost your website in the search results by building authority. Learn the basics for building authority by getting links on other websites.

  59. Link Value Factos

    All backlinks are not created equal -- so what determines a good link value? Master the basics of determining how to use backlinks to build the most value.

  60. Measuring Link Value

    Dispel misconceptions on link building and see how search engines value links differently.

  61. Link Building Strategy & Plan

    Develop backlinks to your website by building a strategy. Learn tricks like writing guest blogs as well as how often to work on backlinking.

  62. Link Building Plan: Vendors & Guest Writing

    Vendor websites are great places to build links -- and it's as simple as sharing photos with the vendors used on your shoots.

  63. Link Building Plan: Features, Directories, Comments

    Expand link building opportunities with features inside publications, as well as directories and comments. Learn how to target a specific publication.

  64. Link Building: Shortcuts & One Simple Tool

    Avoid shortcuts like buying links and unnatural link exchanges. Then, learn how to use the tool Backlinkwatch.

  65. What is Sales? Show Me!

    Sales is a life skill, no matter what industry you are in. Gain insight into the sales process as Pye roleplays sales sessions with students.

  66. Your First Massive Failure

    As Pye says, you can't sell to people that aren't in your target market. In this lesson, Pye discusses failure and how to qualify and differentiate your work.

  67. The Sales Process

    Walk through the process of selling your work in a simple four-step process. Learn tactics for selling your work.

  68. Your Second Massive Failure

    Avoid pitfalls to the selling process by tackling the most common mistakes, like sharing the price too soon.

  69. Understand Buyer Psychology

    What's going through that potential client's mind when considering your work? Build your sales process by understanding the psychology of sales.

  70. Step 0: Building Rapport & Trust

    Sales start with a relationship. Establish that trust by starting a conversation with the client -- and not about photography.

  71. Step 1: Identify Need or Want

    By identifying the client's wishes early in the process, you can create the best pitch tailored to that individual. In this lesson, Pye shares the system he uses to get to know what a client is looking for.

  72. Cognitive Dissonance

    Cognitive dissonance in sales comes in when weighing the price against the quality of the product. Walkthrough how cognitive dissonance plays a role in the sales process.

  73. Steps 2 & 3: Value Proposition & The Solution

    Based on the conversation leading up to this moment in the sales process, it's time to present your package that best fits their needs. Learn how to create a value proposition and present a solution.

  74. Step 4 : Close, Make the Ask

    Most new photographers find the task of presenting the price and getting the actual booking daunting. Learn how to be bold and get that client in step four of the sales process.

  75. Step 5: Follow Up & Resolve Concerns

    Build your follow-up process to avoid losing those leads. Here, Pye shares his process for following up after a client conversation.

  76. Family Photography Hot Seat

    While sales is similar across genres, the process can vary slightly based on the type of photography. In the series of hot seat sessions, watch students improvise client meetings.

  77. Business Example Hot Seat

    Next on the hot seat, sit in on a business sales session. Build a list of dos and don'ts with a sales simulation focused on commercial photography.

  78. Boudoir Photography Hot Seat

    Sit in on a simulated sales session with a boudoir photographer. Learn ways to improve when meeting with a client and build your people skills.

  79. The Best Sales Person

    Fine-tune what you've learned about sales so far with tips to become a better salesperson and improve your charisma as you meet with clients.

  80. Your Mindset, Vibrations & Frequency

    Continue refining your sales skills by adjusting your mindset on sales.

  81. Always Positive, Always Affirming

    As you meet with clients, Pye suggests always staying positive and affirming. Learn how to integrate positivity through body language and more.

  82. The Second Money & Dual Process

    Booking a client a second time is easier than the first. In this lesson, Pye walks through how to book the first sale or the minimum package while allowing the client to upgrade later.

  83. Chumming the Price Waters

    What happens when a client pushes for the price first? Pye walks through "chumming the price waters" and getting potential clients to see your value first.

  84. Creating Want or Scarcity

    Looking at both right now and in the first five years of your business, Pye digs into techniques for creating a want for your work.

  85. Timeless Advice on Being Likable

    How do photographers get clients to like not just their work, but themselves as a person? In this lesson, Pye shares tips on building charisma and starting a relationship with clients.

  86. Selling Over The Phone

    Many sales start with a phone call. Learn how to start a relationship on the phone and other tricks for working with sales when you're not in an in-person meeting.

  87. Forbidden Words in Sales

    Word choice matters in sales. In the final lesson of the course, learn what words to avoid and what to use instead.


Armstrong Su

This class and materials are to the point and eye-opening on the business side of photography. Pye Jirsa is an amazing and fun teacher as well! Most photographers need more business classes offered to bring us who love to create art back to reality for a more successful business that makes a living on it's own. This course will definately get you started in the right direction and so cheap too! Great investment! armstrong outdoor tv case outdoortvcase Pye Jirsa is one of the best instructors that I have the pleasure to learn from. He and his team have given me so much more than they'll ever realize. Knowledge, wisdom, training, friendship, mentoring, inspiration, joy... I cannot thank Pye enough for changing my life for the better. I owe them more than they'll ever realize. Thank you, Pye Jirsa!!!

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!