How to Launch a Photography Business


How to Launch a Photography Business


Lesson Info

What's Your Product

So, we're gonna get into product development right now, and again, let's go back to our road map for just a second. So, in the road map, we're in planning the product. This is still month one, right? We have identified our focus on what we want to do. We've put together our vision statements. We've put together all these different things to make it now much simpler when it comes to the product, because it's still not gonna be that easy to piecing together what products you should be offering. But we're gonna make it a step by step process. So, we're in this phase right here. Now, before we jump into this, we've had a lot of questions, and I've heard a lot of things in between class on simply finding a focus, okay. That seems to be a challenge for everybody, and I know, because it's been one of my biggest challenges as well. I want to give you a picture of what it looks like. I think you all see the impossibility of trying to do all these things across different lines, right? I want to ...

give you an idea of what it looks like when you try it because that's actually what we did, and about a year and a half to two years ago it leads to basically like a mental breakdown. You start spinning up so many plates, and you know what, once you get good a spinning at plates, you can keep them spinning. Last year for example, we did close to 300 thousand dollars plus of commercial shoots without ever marketing or doing anything commercial. And so we said, "Oh, maybe we should spin off and create a commercial line." Well, last year, I can't tell you how stressful it was to start a business line and to manage a team across these areas where nothing is in place. It eats into every bit of your personal life, and then we kick off a different arena of something. And another arena of something, because you know what? You can do all of them well, and I get it. I totally get it. But it leads to this place where your time is split between so many areas, that you're just gonna feel drained. Personally, spiritually, mentally. Everything. It's gonna drain every part of you. And that's why I want to get to this, because I know that so many of you have the skill to do it. I just want to warn against it. The best way to do it. Start up one thing, systematize it. I'm gonna show you how to systematize your process through things that we call SOPs. Standard Operating Procedures and those kind of things. Systemize it, hand it off, get it right. Then go to something else, okay? So, we have this place now where we are trying to define our product. Before you decide your product, I will have expected that you set your focus, you know the competitive environment, you know roughly where the different price ranges are because we're gonna do an actual graph, and I'm gonna show you how to do that. Okay, so what is your product? That's the first question I want to ask all of you. Define your product to me right now. I incorporate large format film photography in with digital. Good. I do two different sessions so they have a contrasting look and feel. So you have the modern look, and you have the nostalgic. Okay. So that's what I like to do. Okay, let's hear the next person. What's your product? Define it for me. Julie. I help women to feel confident and create beautiful keepsakes. Love it. Cool, that... It was confidence and then-- Keepsakes. Keepsakes, great. What else? I like to show people things that usually they don't see when they walk in the forest. That's what I look for. Awesome. So bringing, taking people to places they've never been or seen. Places and things. And things. Awesome. I think generally, I like a combination of what's been said earlier, but I like showing the moments, the surprising moments of joy or expression, or... That happen very quickly, and people may not see them, but everyone else around them sees it, so it kind of, shows them ... a powerful moment that they can kind of have forever. Awesome. Anybody. Let's hear it. I organize life memories and what that is, it's taking the technical aspect of it. You take that everyone has multiple pictures and what not, memories on their computers and ... but they don't know what to do with them. They're just scattered. So the key is to get a process, and I can manage that, organize it, manage it, so they can do their own. So it's something I'm thinking... I'm toying with. So that's... Everything is very different thus far. We have a very diverse group of business people in this audience which is fantastic. Are there any other things that ... You can define anything as your product. What else do we have? Anybody else? Cause I have a question that I'm gonna ask after this. So, mine would be capturing love and the connection between two people and family, and ... capturing memories. Awesome. Yep. And then... I forgot to say something because I got stage fright. (laughter) It's a real thing. Yeah, well ... So my mission or my goal is to bring the 19th century photographer into the 21st century. Cool. So, that's been my focus. Rad. Okay. All right guys, this is really great. Now, there's nothing wrong with anything that has been said thus far. I'm gonna ask you a couple questions though. How many of you have a studio named in your own name? Raise your hands if your studio follows your name. How many of you offer a product that is created by you? Raise your hands if you have created the product that you're selling yourself. My question then, is ... The photographer's product, we always identify with this. The actual thing that we're putting out. And we don't identify with this. You. The fact that people are buying you, or this entire experience all together. From your website, to your brand, to the market perception, to the experience ... Oh my goodness, this is loaded. Because the experience can be so many different things. How many of us ... Love a product just because it's simple to use? Lemme give you an example of this. I don't like shopping at Walmart. It's just not a big fan of mine. I just generally don't shop there. There's nothing wrong with it, it just doesn't fit my kind of taste and my preference, until they just rolled out this online grocery experience, where I can order everything I want directly from my home, and I drive there and they have it bagged and ready to go, and they put it in my car. That is literally the only reason that I am shopping there, because they provide this experience that I want, that until that point it was just another store. It was just another place. Does that make sense. The experience itself that you're offering, and that can be in the simplicity of your pricing, the way that you talk to your customers, how you sign them. Don't you think, if ... Have you guys ... How many here have ... Let's just speak on any photography, okay? Just, any photography. How many have hired a professional photographer before? Raise your hands if you've hired one. Kay. How many have hired, like a boutique photography studio to do something. Raise your hands. Okay. Tell me about how easy the process was with what you guys did. Was it simple? We have some shakes, Jason going, "No, not really." Did they confuse you with tons of different options, and packages, and tons of different things going on, and all this kind of stuff. And you get decision paralysis, that Blockbuster Video thing. Don't make me feel old right now, okay? (laughter) Blockbuster Video. You go into Blockbuster Video, looking to rent a movie, and how many of you walk out not know what to get. You're like, "Uh. I don't know what to get." There's just too much. That's the experience, but I want you guys to identify with this. Because the you in this product that you're creating is the only component that really cannot be replaced, correct? I could take your hybrid, and bring the whole 19th century thing that you just said right now. I could take that and do it right now. What's to stop me? Nothing. Nothing, right? But I couldn't compete with who you are. So if you present that and offer that in a way that's unique, that's a huge asset in your business. This is one of those things where I want you guys to future think just a little bit. When we hire people in our company, do you think we look for technical components, or do you think we look at the person. What do you think weighs more? Do you think it's 50/50? (audience chatter) It's more like 90/10, okay? I don't know if you've heard this, but when you're starting a business, getting all the people, all the right people on the bus is more important than where the bus is going. And that's the exact same way with the product that you're offering, okay? You are your biggest strength. So let's figure out how to amplify that throughout the entire studio. Let's figure out how to boost the product. First, for everybody ... This is where the sketchpads are coming out again, because I want you to mind map that product. Set your timers. Ten minutes. Pause the video. Mind map out the product now knowing what this entire product entails. I want you to write from that central topic of 'my product'. What are you offering personally in your service? I want you to write, "What is the product that you're delivering?" I want you to write, "When it comes to booking, what is the experience I want to give? How do I want to close and book my clients?" Credit card payments. What do I want to do. Do I want to make it simple? I'd recommend making it simple. What experience we're going to create. We're gonna go through that throughout this entire place, but this is overall figuring out what is it that you want to offer in this product in its entirety. What is your brand and your message? This is gonna come together a little more as we go through this, because we haven't talked about branding yet.

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.


1Class Introduction
2Common Myths & Unknown Truths
3The Road Ahead
4Find Your Passion
5The Lin & Jirsa Journey
6Part-time, Full-time, Employed, Partners?
7Stop Wasting Time & Money
8Your 12 Week Roadmap
9Great Plans Still Fail
10Strategy Vs. Planning
11Mind Mapping
12Select a Focus
13Competitor Research
14S.W.O.T. Analysis
15Strategy & Long Term Goals
16Values, Vision & Mission
17Effectively Managing Your Time
18Artistic Development
19Create Your Plan
20What's Your Product
21Luxury vs Consumer Products & Experiences
22Quick Break for Econ 101
23Your Target Market & Brand Message
24What's in a Name
25Your Client 'Why'
26Crafting the Why Experience
27Document the Client Experience
28Business Administration Basics
29Book Keeping Management
30Create the Logo & Branding
31Portfolio Design
32Design Your Services & Packages
33Pricing Fears & Myths
34Three Pricing Methods
35Package Pricing Psychology & Design
36Psychology of Numbers
37Pricing Q&A
38Grass Roots Marketing
39The Empty Party
40Friends & Family Test Shoots
41Join Groups
42Second Shooting Etiquette
43The Listing & Classified Hustle
44Make Instagram Simple
45Your Automated Pinterest Plan
46Facebook Because You Must
47Giveaway & Styled Shoots
48Content Marketing & SEO
49The Monster: SEO
50Selecting Your Keywords
51Testing Your Keywords
52Grouping Main & Niche Goals
53Your Content Road Map
54Content Marketing Q&A
55Inspiration to Keep Working
56How to Craft Your Content
57Internal Linking Basics
58Back Link Building Basics
59Link Value Factos
60Measuring Link Value
61Link Building Strategy & Plan
62Link Building Plan: Vendors & Guest Writing
63Link Building Plan: Features, Directories, Comments
64Link Building: Shortcuts & One Simple Tool
65What is Sales? Show Me!
66Your First Massive Failure
67The Sales Process
68Your Second Massive Failure
69Understand Buyer Psychology
70Step 0: Building Rapport & Trust
71Step 1: Identify Need or Want
72Cognitive Dissonance
73Steps 2 & 3: Value Proposition & The Solution
74Step 4 : Close, Make the Ask
75Step 5: Follow Up & Resolve Concerns
76Family Photography Hot Seat
77Business Example Hot Seat
78Boudoir Photography Hot Seat
79The Best Sales Person
80Your Mindset, Vibrations & Frequency
81Always Positive, Always Affirming
82The Second Money & Dual Process
83Chumming the Price Waters
84Creating Want or Scarcity
85Timeless Advice on Being Likable
86Selling Over The Phone
87Forbidden Words in Sales