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How to Start a Photography Business

Lesson 4 of 87

Find Your Passion

Pye Jirsa

How to Start a Photography Business

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

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.


Class Trailer
1 Class Introduction 13:12 2 Common Myths & Unknown Truths 11:42 3 The Road Ahead 13:03 4 Find Your Passion 06:06 5 The Lin & Jirsa Journey 13:54 6 Part-time, Full-time, Employed, Partners? 03:51 7 Stop Wasting Time & Money 06:07 8 Your 12 Week Roadmap 04:33
9 Great Plans Still Fail 06:01 10 Strategy Vs. Planning 04:16 11 Mind Mapping 07:25 12 Select a Focus 14:16 13 Competitor Research 09:34 14 S.W.O.T. Analysis 13:54 15 Strategy & Long Term Goals 03:50 16 Values, Vision & Mission 27:49 17 Effectively Managing Your Time 15:05 18 Artistic Development 07:30 19 Create Your Plan 13:12 20 What's Your Product 10:51 21 Luxury vs Consumer Products & Experiences 11:44 22 Quick Break for Econ 101 16:31 23 Your Target Market & Brand Message 21:25 24 What's in a Name 09:20 25 Your Client 'Why' 05:43 26 Crafting the Why Experience 24:17 27 Document the Client Experience 08:29 28 Business Administration Basics 27:03 29 Book Keeping Management 06:51 30 Create the Logo & Branding 07:04 31 Portfolio Design 15:11 32 Design Your Services & Packages 18:51 33 Pricing Fears & Myths 08:46 34 Three Pricing Methods 25:39 35 Package Pricing Psychology & Design 06:15 36 Psychology of Numbers 07:29 37 Pricing Q&A 23:51 38 Grass Roots Marketing 09:36 39 The Empty Party 07:03 40 Friends & Family Test Shoots 16:28 41 Join Groups 04:32 42 Second Shooting Etiquette 07:44 43 The Listing & Classified Hustle 14:10 44 Make Instagram Simple 13:55 45 Your Automated Pinterest Plan 08:01 46 Facebook Because You Must 07:37 47 Giveaway & Styled Shoots 12:17 48 Content Marketing & SEO 08:12 49 The Monster: SEO 07:26 50 Selecting Your Keywords 05:45 51 Testing Your Keywords 07:53 52 Grouping Main & Niche Goals 12:39 53 Your Content Road Map 11:47 54 Content Marketing Q&A 10:45 55 Inspiration to Keep Working 07:45 56 How to Craft Your Content 15:03 57 Internal Linking Basics 05:30 58 Back Link Building Basics 04:55 59 Link Value Factos 14:38 60 Measuring Link Value 04:24 61 Link Building Strategy & Plan 06:10 62 Link Building Plan: Vendors & Guest Writing 06:45 63 Link Building Plan: Features, Directories, Comments 03:11 64 Link Building: Shortcuts & One Simple Tool 14:44 65 What is Sales? Show Me! 12:58 66 Your First Massive Failure 05:17 67 The Sales Process 07:31 68 Your Second Massive Failure 05:23 69 Understand Buyer Psychology 10:00 70 Step 0: Building Rapport & Trust 15:14 71 Step 1: Identify Need or Want 15:39 72 Cognitive Dissonance 12:01 73 Steps 2 & 3: Value Proposition & The Solution 14:21 74 Step 4 : Close, Make the Ask 04:32 75 Step 5: Follow Up & Resolve Concerns 06:13 76 Family Photography Hot Seat 12:06 77 Business Example Hot Seat 15:52 78 Boudoir Photography Hot Seat 16:09 79 The Best Sales Person 07:45 80 Your Mindset, Vibrations & Frequency 06:56 81 Always Positive, Always Affirming 11:55 82 The Second Money & Dual Process 07:39 83 Chumming the Price Waters 03:57 84 Creating Want or Scarcity 09:54 85 Timeless Advice on Being Likable 11:53 86 Selling Over The Phone 10:59 87 Forbidden Words in Sales 11:40

Lesson Info

Find Your Passion

You ask anyone what we do? Ha, I take pictures and fly around the world, and I'm always at islands that always have exactly two palm trees. They are really small. I would really love to, no, for like five minutes. That would suck if you were stuck there. And I take pictures of people at parties and have a great, all this stuff. And I get paid $10,000 to do it. That's what people will think. Everybody has that perception of photography. That's great, that's a good feeling to feel like, okay, people think that my job is really cool. Here's the closer reality of what we do as a business. This is all to set the expectation of the reality. The reality is that 10% of your time is going to be taking pictures. 90% is going to be everything else that we're going to be talking about, okay? That's not to depress you. I hope anybody online, any of you here, it's not to say, honestly this should be encouraging because if 10% of your job is taking great pictures, isn't that a relief a little bit whe...

n you're starting out in this industry and you're comparing yourself? If only 10% of being successful is that part of it, don't you kind of settle a little bit and say, "I can ease into that". I would. Passion is becoming a four-letter word for me. I don't like it. And the reason is because of the way it's thrown around. You need passion for the process not just the camera. If your gonna say passion, say it this way, okay? Because people keep saying, "What are you passionate about?" It's this thing that's getting thrown about, "What do you want to do, what are you passionate about?" Anybody, raise your hands. Give me a passion. Oh now nobody wants to, Kenna. Travel. Yeah, but you're actually making that into a business though. But it's a passion. Okay, let me, I love racing cars. There you go. What do you got? Kayaking. Kayaking, okay, perfect. Grab the mic. You're gonna be my demo for this, you love kayaking. Okay, what if I said to you, "Have you ever thought about being a professional kayaker, you're really good at it? Actually, I have. (laughing) Perfect, this is good, let's play into this. So what do you do for a living right now? Trying to (laughs). Trying to get a business off the ground? Yeah, for photography, yes. And I'm an educator in photography for children as well. Perfect, okay, so kayaking. What if I said, "To become a professional kayaker, you need to sit in your kayak for eight hours a day kayaking." Okay. And then you need to do that for about four years straight, travel around to every single possible river, make sure that you put your family on hold and everything else on hold because you're going to be going around to all these different places, you need to get your butt time, that's your seat time in your kayak. Do you think you might have the same passion for it after four years of doing that or do you think it would become a job? Everyday, yeah, it could be a job. Okay, that's perfect because that's the exact same way I think about racing. I love taking my car to the track and going racing. I have a track car, it's fun, it's set up. And I love putting on my helmet, and I love instructing people. I instruct people on how to high performance driving. It's really fun, but if you told me to sit in the car for eight to twelve hours a day and when I'm not in the car I need to be sitting in a simulator, and when I'm not in a simulator, I need to be studying footage, and when I'm not studying footage, I need to be doing this, and I need to do that for 20 years, from the time I was young all the way up to this point to be able to think about getting a professional job as a racing driver? I'd be like no, I'm sorry. I can't do that. That's passion, that's where passion takes you. If you simply follow down that road. And you'd be doing yourself and your family and everyone around you a disservice by doing it. That's not to say that you shouldn't be passionate. It's to say that we're using the word wrong. You should be passionate for the 90% on the right side. This, this is where you passion should be, not here. My passion, do you guys have any idea what it is? I'll give you a hint. It has nothing to do with photography. Absolutely nothing to do with accounting. I enjoy teaching, it's a byproduct. Photography is a byproduct of what I'm actually passionate about. And it took me years to find it, it took me five years of trying to identify what it was that I actually loved doing. What I loved doing is creating systems. I love creating systems and frameworks. I love standing here and teaching, yes it's great. But what drives me is the fact that I've created a system and a framework for all of you to be able to be successful on your own. I love taking those systems and frameworks and implementing them into a business and helping others to do the same thing. I write books on all that, like, this is what I enjoy. It doesn't matter what the topic is to be honest. I'm writing a book right now that has nothing to do with photography, but it's another system and it's another framework. So that is my passion. Okay, that probably sounds weird. I think I take pretty decent pictures. I'm hoping that's encouraging also because so many times we get thrown that word and we feel a sense of pressure that comes along with that. Passion, what am I passionate about. Oh my goodness, relax.

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!