How to Launch a Photography Business

Lesson 20 of 87

What's Your Product


How to Launch a Photography Business

Lesson 20 of 87

What's Your Product


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.


  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.