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How to Start a Photography Business

Lesson 7 of 87

Stop Wasting Time & Money

Pye Jirsa

How to Start a Photography Business

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

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.


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

Stop Wasting Time & Money

I'm going to say this respect yourself stop wasting time and money. This is a big one for me. Which of your clients can tell these apart? Raise your hands if you think they can. F2 F1.4 F1.2 you guys are laughing why are you laughing? Which of your clients can tell these apart raise your hands. Which of you guys have a hard time telling these apart? Okay so what's all the fuss again. How about the D800 versus the D850. I can't tell. 50 versus 36 versus 28 megapixels. Who knows like seriously. Yet online discussion of photography and in person discussion of photography and workshop discussion of photography, how big of a focus is gear and the gear that you have and what you have. If I can only get that lens then I can do this. If I had an 85-12 I could shoot and be really successful. I've heard that exact argument I can't tell you how many times, I want to deliver that for my clients I can't find clients unless I have an 85-12. Oh my goodness, really? How about this, what if I give you ...

extremes, which of you can tell which is the $500 Rebel Kit versus the $ Full-Frame and Lens combo. This is an example from Photography 101 we actually blow them up so you can see them side by side, it's so difficult to tell, this was a $99 prime on the left side versus a $2000 prime on the right side. If you're having a hard time with it, what do your clients think? How about this. How many of your clients can tell the difference between good communication versus poor, raise your hands. Yeah we're all good at knowing that. How about great poses and flattering expressions versus just average ones, that'll show through in a photograph. Good experiences versus not so good ones, that's something that they can differentiate. Guys there's nothing on the imagery side that they can differentiate, what we're talking about on our side, this is for photographers only. What they differentiate is the experience and they'll talk about that, but you bring your, tell me your name. Lee. Lee, I'm Pye nice to meet you. So you've got an 85-12 I'm sorry brother they're just not going to talk about it you know what I mean, that's fine but we're all brainwashed to spend thousands on gear and nothing on education. This is one of those things that I wanted to talk about because these are all things that have happened to us. So I want to tell you the cost of failure. Time this is your most valuable asset, this is all you've got the one thing you can't make more of. Okay so wasted time that's on the small side of things that you could potentially fail at. How about money? We have had refunds, not a lot, but think about this for one second. If we've shot over the last five, six years 300 plus weddings, let's say it's 1500 clients. It would be doing great if you had less than 1% refunds which we do, we have in something like ten years we've given two. Even those two let's say they were $6000 in total, compare that to how much money you spent on your education. $6000 how much could you spend on education and never even come close to $6000? Isn't that kind of a stupid thought to think of like oh my goodness if I could've done something to prepare for that, so unhappy clients, negative reviews and negative word of mouth oh my goodness those can cost you big time. Because it's not going to effect one future client it's going to effect multiple, so if you're booking at two 3000 a negative review can effect the next $20, of income, those are huge. Future clients, if you get enough negative reviews, if you get enough negative word of mouth out there you could potentially take the entire business. And we've seen it happen, multiple times and it all goes back to simply don't shortcut yourself, don't shortcut the process, don't buy into this whole oh yeah you're going to be shooting a $10,000 wedding, here's how to shoot $10,000 weddings next week. Maybe you'll get one, maybe you'll get two and then you'll tank your business right afterwards because you're not yet there ruined it. Here's the cost of education. Audible my favorite place to, I listen to books constantly I go through about a book a week on Audible. So that costs me $250 bucks a year for an entire subscription, cheap. Online classes I spend personally at least $800 to bucks on online classes per year, I budget that into what I'm going to be spending. And in person experiences, I spend money on too. But the one thing I caution about that is just go off word of mouth, don't buy into what the hype is, ask people who attended those classes because a lot of those can be hit or miss and they're a lot of money. But still if you added all these things up together over the course of five years it still wouldn't come close to losing a client or potential clients in the future correct, that's the cost difference I want you guys to think about when you guys are thinking about this. Learn from other people's mistakes, life's too short to make them all yourself.

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!