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How to Start a Photography Business

Lesson 24 of 87

What's in a Name

Pye Jirsa

How to Start a Photography Business

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

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.


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1 Class Introduction Duration:13:12
3 The Road Ahead Duration:13:03
4 Find Your Passion Duration:06:06
5 The Lin & Jirsa Journey Duration:13:54
7 Stop Wasting Time & Money Duration:06:07
8 Your 12 Week Roadmap Duration:04:33
9 Great Plans Still Fail Duration:06:01
10 Strategy Vs. Planning Duration:04:16
11 Mind Mapping Duration:07:25
12 Select a Focus Duration:14:16
13 Competitor Research Duration:09:34
14 S.W.O.T. Analysis Duration:13:54
15 Strategy & Long Term Goals Duration:03:50
16 Values, Vision & Mission Duration:27:49
17 Effectively Managing Your Time Duration:15:05
18 Artistic Development Duration:07:30
19 Create Your Plan Duration:13:12
20 What's Your Product Duration:10:51
22 Quick Break for Econ 101 Duration:16:31
24 What's in a Name Duration:09:20
25 Your Client 'Why' Duration:05:43
26 Crafting the Why Experience Duration:24:17
27 Document the Client Experience Duration:08:29
28 Business Administration Basics Duration:27:03
29 Book Keeping Management Duration:06:51
30 Create the Logo & Branding Duration:07:04
31 Portfolio Design Duration:15:11
33 Pricing Fears & Myths Duration:08:46
34 Three Pricing Methods Duration:25:39
36 Psychology of Numbers Duration:07:29
37 Pricing Q&A Duration:23:51
38 Grass Roots Marketing Duration:09:36
39 The Empty Party Duration:07:03
40 Friends & Family Test Shoots Duration:16:28
41 Join Groups Duration:04:32
42 Second Shooting Etiquette Duration:07:44
44 Make Instagram Simple Duration:13:55
45 Your Automated Pinterest Plan Duration:08:01
46 Facebook Because You Must Duration:07:37
47 Giveaway & Styled Shoots Duration:12:17
48 Content Marketing & SEO Duration:08:12
49 The Monster: SEO Duration:07:26
50 Selecting Your Keywords Duration:05:45
51 Testing Your Keywords Duration:07:53
52 Grouping Main & Niche Goals Duration:12:39
53 Your Content Road Map Duration:11:47
54 Content Marketing Q&A Duration:10:45
55 Inspiration to Keep Working Duration:07:45
56 How to Craft Your Content Duration:15:03
57 Internal Linking Basics Duration:05:30
58 Back Link Building Basics Duration:04:55
59 Link Value Factos Duration:14:38
60 Measuring Link Value Duration:04:24
61 Link Building Strategy & Plan Duration:06:10
65 What is Sales? Show Me! Duration:12:58
66 Your First Massive Failure Duration:05:17
67 The Sales Process Duration:07:31
68 Your Second Massive Failure Duration:05:23
69 Understand Buyer Psychology Duration:10:00
71 Step 1: Identify Need or Want Duration:15:39
72 Cognitive Dissonance Duration:12:01
74 Step 4 : Close, Make the Ask Duration:04:32
76 Family Photography Hot Seat Duration:12:06
77 Business Example Hot Seat Duration:15:52
78 Boudoir Photography Hot Seat Duration:16:09
79 The Best Sales Person Duration:07:45
83 Chumming the Price Waters Duration:03:57
84 Creating Want or Scarcity Duration:09:54
86 Selling Over The Phone Duration:10:59
87 Forbidden Words in Sales Duration:11:40

Lesson Info

What's in a Name

And now we get to the place where you pick your name. It's interesting that we did all of that before choosing the name of your business. So that is, you're getting to a place now where, in the roadmap, we wouldn't solidify that name until five weeks in. You're already doing test shoots, you've already chosen your focus, you've already done all that. You don't need to lock anything in until four to five weeks in. So what's in a name? You're using your name or a pen name for a business. What that means is, I'm going to give you an example of another friend, Jasmine Star, okay? Jasmine Star's name is not Jasmine Star. That's her pen name, but it's used the same because online she is Jasmine Star. That is her, that is her persona, that is who she's adopted in that pen name. So whether you use your name or a pen name, the simplicity is in the message, the who and the what, right? If I go, I'm starting a new studio, what's the name of that studio? Oh, it's Pye Jirsa Photography. There's a s...

implicity in that where if they know your name they know your business. That's a nice thing to have, where it's like, okay, it becomes very easy to find. It's also a very common practice for boutique businesses of all sorts. J.G Wentworth, I just saw that ad this morning. You guys sleeping? What's going on here? Most photographers will pick their names, right? Okay. It does make growth and expansion tricky. Now we go back to our vision; what was your vision? Did we think of having a multi-shooter studio in five years? Because if you did, I would recommend not using your name or a pen name. Why do you think that might be? Why do you think it's difficult to run a multi-shooter studio with the name Pye Jirsa Photography? There you go, Shannon. Because everyone's expecting to hire Pye Jirsa. Yeah. And what'd you say back there? Exact same thing. Exact same thing. They're gonna expect me, right? And guess what, if they don't get Pye Jirsa what is the expectation of the price? It better be less. Oh man, that's a sucky perception to try and get out of, one that you started at the very beginning of your business. Yes, Don? Wouldn't there be another issue, such as the folks working for you, if they get better and better I love that. they want their name not just your name on there. I love that, that's the exact second point of the growth and expansion is tricky. Because your employees are gonna have a harder time rallying around your name versus a fictitious business name. From a mindset and a perception that your employees are gonna have, it's easier working for one of my favorite fictitious studio names and companies is Still Motion. You guys know Still Motion? They primarily focus in cinema. They got their start in weddings and now they do major commercial stuff. They're amazing people, really great educators. They're awesome; but they have a big team. They do stuff for Superbowls and all this kind of-- they do big projects now. Now, what is your perception as a person, saying, "I work with Still Motion," a fictitious business name, versus, "I'm a shooter for Pye Jirsa." It's a very different employee perception. You can make the ranks in Still Motion or in a fictitious business name, you can go up to master, senior, partner, whatever you wanna call them, and have kind of this equity hold in the name of the business because it's something you stand for as opposed to somebody else's brand. So that all kind of coming in play? So Lin & Jirsa, we opted for this because it was an in-between. Nobody knows who Lin & Jirsa is, but we thought about this when we were creating our name 10 years ago. What are people gonna think? Well, we do wanna have associates in the future, we do wanna be able to have a whole division of people that can offer this product. And if it's this Lin plus Jirsa, clients are always gonna have this perception, of like, "Well, who is that?" That's like J.G Wentworth. You don't necessarily expect J.G Wentworth cause you're like, "Oh, I don't even know who that is. "J.G Wentworth? Is that a guy? "No, that's the name of two different partners." Ernst and Young. Where do you think we got the idea from? Ernst and Young, nobody expects Ernst or Young to be there. Nobody even knows who that is. So it's kind of this in-between, where somebody that knows Pye Jirsa knows that this is his company. Somebody that knows Chris and Justin Lin know that it's their company. But it's fictitious enough that we can expand and still have room. If I had it to do all over again, I probably would have went with something 100% fictitious. It'd have been easier, even, for an employee to rally behind. Not from a customer standpoint. It's more from an employee standpoint. The down side of that was "Lin and who?" Damn it! You have no idea how many-- You did that to me! "Wait, Lin and?" Hey, how do you say it? Jee-irsa? Kind of used to say my name-- I was saying it Jeersa, and then I was like, "Wait is it Jeersa? Jersa? Jaeersa?" (laughs) I don't even know myself anymore, it's honestly-- But we would get that all the time, where like, I want you guys to think of that. When you tell a client, or when you tell anybody, are they gonna go, "What what? What'd you just say?" Is it easy to remember or is it a little bit difficult? That's one of the annoyance parts of Lin & Jirsa, is it's not the easiest to remember. It's not a make-or-break thing, it's just, think about it ahead of time. So using a fictitious business name, there's some complexity in your messaging. At the beginning stages, let's say you name, I don't know, Verita Studios. Yeah, that was actually one of the names that we were thinking about; it's terrible, I know. But there's complexity in the message. Because now it's, "Hey, I'm Lee, this is my studio Verita." And then people are like, "Wait what? "Verita, how do you spell that? "But then who owns it?" "Oh, I'm Lee, that's my company." So there's this disconnect between the owner and the brand, which is a great thing down the road, it's just a little more difficult in early marketing messages now. There's no right or wrong, it's really about where you wanna be and where you wanna position yourself. It's better for growth and expansion. It's better for culture and common purpose. That's what we're talking about, that you mentioned about employees. Culture and common purpose come with a fictitious business name. It can be difficult to find good fictitious names that fit a .com at this point. Everything is taken, unless you want verita321. I'm verita321! But most of these have become kind of taken, so it's tough to find that, where usually your name-- and that's why a lot of people opt for just their names, is because it's easy to find. Usually your name with photography or your name with studios is available. But yeah, this was our original. Ha, look at that! This is back from 2008. Let me know if you want any adjustments. What are the next steps, what should we do? Oh yeah, the last line, "Let's take over the world!" with Verita photography. Terrible design, terrible everything, yeah. The things that we're gonna recommend in terms of designs, again, did not exist back then. So if I had a do-over, that's where I would say, I would have picked the fictitious name and just ran with that, based on what I want to do. If you wanna run a family boutique studio, pick your names. Do you need to consider trademark issues at all? The question from Sarah Beth was, "Can you run into a trademark issue "if you use your first name?" You absolutely can. Trademark issues are gonna happen. We're gonna talk about it in the admin process. Once you settle on a name, you need to do a little bit of trademark research just to see if there's anybody else. What you're worried about is do you cross off a certain number of those things that show that you're competing directly with that other company. If you do, you're in trademark infringement. If you don't, you're okay. Like if there was another Verita Studios that was a commercial entity out in New Zealand, we're good. Even if they own a trademark, we're good, we're fine. Because we are a wedding studio that competes out of California. But when you start crossing over and there's another Lee Photography Studios that offers this and you're competitors down the street with Lee this studio and, yeah, there can be an infringement issue.

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.


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!