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Crafting the Why Experience

Lesson 26 from: How to Start a Photography Business

Pye Jirsa

Crafting the Why Experience

Lesson 26 from: How to Start a Photography Business

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

26. Crafting the Why Experience

Clients choose photographers for the experience. Identifying that why experience, then building that experience is an essential part of growing your photography business. Learn how in this lesson.
Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of the lesson is about crafting the "why" experience in starting a photography business.


  1. What is the purpose of crafting the "why" experience in a photography business?

    The purpose is to differentiate oneself from competitors and to create a unique and meaningful experience for clients.

  2. How can a photographer create a memorable experience for their clients?

    By focusing on the emotional impact of the photographs and storytelling, rather than technical aspects like lighting or equipment.

  3. How can a photographer use cognitive dissonance in the sales process?

    By creating a desire for a specific image or experience in the client's mind and then using it to justify the price of the product or service.

  4. How can a photographer handle price objections from clients?

    By explaining the value and uniqueness of their product or service and offering alternative solutions, such as payment plans or transferring deposits to other services.

  5. What is the importance of having a vision statement and core values in a photography business?

    They serve as a guiding principle and rally point for the entire team, helping to maintain focus and authenticity in the business.

  6. How can a photographer differentiate themselves in a competitive landscape?

    By creating their own unique experience and message that aligns with their vision and core values.

  7. How can a photographer record institutional knowledge about their clients?

    By using online forms to gather information, but the focus should be on resetting and disrupting the client's expectations rather than collecting data.

  8. How can a photographer convince themselves of the value of their product or service?

    By conducting an experiment where they print and display their own favorite photograph and observe how it makes them feel on a daily basis.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Common Myths & Unknown Truths


The Road Ahead


Find Your Passion


The Lin & Jirsa Journey


Part-time, Full-time, Employed, Partners?


Stop Wasting Time & Money


Your 12 Week Roadmap


Great Plans Still Fail


Strategy Vs. Planning


Mind Mapping


Select a Focus


Competitor Research


S.W.O.T. Analysis


Strategy & Long Term Goals


Values, Vision & Mission


Effectively Managing Your Time


Artistic Development


Create Your Plan


What's Your Product


Luxury vs Consumer Products & Experiences


Quick Break for Econ 101


Your Target Market & Brand Message


What's in a Name


Your Client 'Why'


Crafting the Why Experience


Document the Client Experience


Business Administration Basics


Book Keeping Management


Create the Logo & Branding


Portfolio Design


Design Your Services & Packages


Pricing Fears & Myths


Three Pricing Methods


Package Pricing Psychology & Design


Psychology of Numbers


Pricing Q&A


Grass Roots Marketing


The Empty Party


Friends & Family Test Shoots


Join Groups


Second Shooting Etiquette


The Listing & Classified Hustle


Make Instagram Simple


Your Automated Pinterest Plan


Facebook Because You Must


Giveaway & Styled Shoots


Content Marketing & SEO


The Monster: SEO


Selecting Your Keywords


Testing Your Keywords


Grouping Main & Niche Goals


Your Content Road Map


Content Marketing Q&A


Inspiration to Keep Working


How to Craft Your Content


Internal Linking Basics


Back Link Building Basics


Link Value Factos


Measuring Link Value


Link Building Strategy & Plan


Link Building Plan: Vendors & Guest Writing


Link Building Plan: Features, Directories, Comments


Link Building: Shortcuts & One Simple Tool


What is Sales? Show Me!


Your First Massive Failure


The Sales Process


Your Second Massive Failure


Understand Buyer Psychology


Step 0: Building Rapport & Trust


Step 1: Identify Need or Want


Cognitive Dissonance


Steps 2 & 3: Value Proposition & The Solution


Step 4 : Close, Make the Ask


Step 5: Follow Up & Resolve Concerns


Family Photography Hot Seat


Business Example Hot Seat


Boudoir Photography Hot Seat


The Best Sales Person


Your Mindset, Vibrations & Frequency


Always Positive, Always Affirming


The Second Money & Dual Process


Chumming the Price Waters


Creating Want or Scarcity


Timeless Advice on Being Likable


Selling Over The Phone


Forbidden Words in Sales


Lesson Info

Crafting the Why Experience

So first three years in coffee shops. Let's craft the why. So like a great image, and the image that I bring up here is actually a photograph of, this is Eric Lin. This is Justin and Chris's older brother. My adopted brother, his wife and their new baby. I'm over at their house watching, I think it was the Super Bowl. And basically they'd just had their baby and Eric gets close to Kris and I said, "Kris, I happen to have my camera next to me." I said, "Kris, lean into the window just a little bit." And Eric leaned forward into her. "And just hold onto your baby's foot for one second." And he did that and I was like, take a picture. Alright, let's watch the game. (laughing) And that was it. And it's a picture that has meant a lot to them. And it was created in their living room in front of a blind. And like that, I wanna bring that analogy up because it has nothing to do with anything technical. It has nothing to do with it being in a studio. It has nothing to do with any of those thing...

s. Just like the experience that you're gonna present to your clients. Like great imagery, great experiences can be had anywhere. And I think we all know that. So prior to 2017, we used to go with a presentation that was "Where words fail, our imagery speaks." That was our why. So what we would do, is we would bring our albums to these meetings and we'd usually just bring one or two. Not a whole lot, you don't need overload. But we wanna do a visualization exercise. And I'm gonna teach you the full exercise. But it's a guided process where we take them through what it is to experience these moments and to be in those moments. And what we did initially was simply show these albums. And we talked about the meaning and the purpose behind each of these things that we're showing. Now here's the killer part. In talking about that, do you think I talked about the lighting? Or the film that it was captured on? Or the camera it was captured on? Or any of those things? No, it was more akin to this. So she was getting ready, and mom was just around the corner and I thought, wouldn't it be amazing just to kind of see her daughter for the first time and to have a moment by themselves? So I asked mom to come over here. And I brought mom into the frame and I had her stand right there. And I just said, "Mom, your daughter's getting married "right now, is there anything you wanna tell her "before she walks down the aisle?" And then you see this photograph, a very intimate moment between a mother and daughter. And I would tell the bride and groom that these moments, unfortunately, they don't happen naturally oftentimes. Sometimes they do and I'm there to document them. Sometimes it's my job to help a little bit and encourage it along. But isn't this something that you would want? And then they say what? What is, I mean, you can see the photograph that I'm talking about in your heads right now, right? Perfect. And then what I've backed you into saying, is this not something that you would want, we create something called cognitive dissonance. We're gonna use the sales process. It's a sales psychology term that we're gonna talk about later on. 'Cause once the customer has identified that they want that thing, they now hold two contradicting notions. One being price, one being desire. And we're gonna use it. Not in a negative way, not to manipulate. To get them to a place that we know we can provide a great product and service. So let's go through, this was our experience. It was visualization. Show an image, tell a story. Today I'm gonna give you our complete story and vision. This is the message when they come through the doors that our studio manager would take them through. Stop, breathe. I wanna thank you guys for braving the traffic, taking a moment, having a seat, enjoying some waters. I want you guys to relax for just a minute, I'll be right with you. And usually at that point they're right at the door, at that point we'll give them their waters. They'll have a seat right at that front entryway. Then we bring them to the next spot. So they're at the doorway now. We've placed these words on the walls of our studio because this is our why. This is the reason we created Lin and Jirsa. These moments are the artwork of our lives. Can you hear the vision statements that we crafted, the core values that we crafted, what we are and who we are in this? I hope so. Then we start the process. But these are all lost in the digital world. And I have a question for you guys. Sharon, right? Shannon. Shannon, dang it. Shannon, when was the last time you printed a photograph? It's embarrassing, isn't it? Yeah. You don't have to answer, you can probably bet that every single one of your clients is gonna have the exact same answer. When was the last time that you printed a photograph? And they say that, they say exactly. You don't have to answer the question, Sharon. Shannon! Close enough. (laughing) Close enough. Exactly, the most important moments of our lives, they're lost in the digital world. We capture all these images on our phones, on everything. And we bury them on our hard drives. Maybe we share a few of them online. Just for a couple minutes of internet glory. They get a couple likes, a couple clicks. Within seconds, they're buried among every other piece of content out there. And you're not appreciating them yourself. That makes them think, right? Do you hear the disruption in this whole piece? These words are on our walls because we believe memories are the artwork of our lives. And we believe that the artwork of our lives belongs in print. Welcome to the studio, take a few moments and look around. And then they open up into the life belongs in print, okay? That's, well, what do you think? How does it make you feel when you hear those things? As a client, what would you think? Wow. Wow? Cool. You need prints. You need prints? Great. Don. I would think oh my price just went up. Oh yeah? (laughing). Isn't is interesting how I haven't even talked about price but you're already thinking of adjusting my perception of what I should expect to pay. That's odd. Not really, it's just sales psychology. Now ask me the question of how do I differentiate myself with my competitors. Or do you need to ask anymore? Because I can back anybody into the statement of, as soon as they bring up, so what I've just done in this process puts you to that place where you wouldn't walk into a Bentley dealership and say what? What's the price on that Bentley? So if you wanted to talk about price with me, how would it go? It would probably be a much more gentle conversation, first of all. And usually how it's gonna go is like, we really love what you guys do, it's amazing. We love everything that you guys do but it is a little bit out of our budget. And usually how I would go is, I completely understand. You guys are getting a great deal for the service that you're getting and I guarantee it's the best deal that we have to offer. But there's a reason that we charge these prices. There's a reason that we do what we do. I understand it's expensive though. What I just did was, they just said it was expensive. And basically what I said was, yeah. I mean, in less words that is exactly what they said and exactly what I said. Yeah you're right, it is expensive. And then what are they gonna say next? You guys are offering a better service, I know. But this other person is doing this for this price. Can you guys match it? Unfortunately, we can't. But you just said it yourself, we offer a different service than they do. I'll be the first person to tell you if someone is offering the same product and service that we are for less money. Go for it, you should go for it. That makes sense. But you kind of answered your own question. And it's done kindly, it's done with love. But it ends those conversations. Do you offer up payment plans for when they ask about the price? So we usually do deposits, which we can discuss. We talk about packages, we usually do a deposit to lock in the date. You can do a 25% and another 25% and then 50%. This is up to you. Have something to lock them in though. And then collect the second 25% soon because once it's locked in you're turning away other business. That make sense? So if something unfortunate happens, they're not able to do it, we generally say to our clients that we can put your deposit towards another service or a different date. But it's not refundable because we just turned down other clients on your date once you locked in. And we will make exceptions, you know. I always feel like these rules are designed to be guidelines. We've had experiences where a fiancé passes away due to cancer. We're not gonna be the ones that are like, yeah I'm sorry, we have to keep the deposit. You locked in your date. No, like there's times to have a heart and understand that there's times where that doesn't matter. The money doesn't matter, be a good person. Then there's times where people just change their minds or they go like, we broke up. Okay, that's super unfortunate. We're a month away from the wedding. If this was six months out I would have said we'll keep the deposit until we get another client to book the date. But unfortunately, we're a month away. And we've turned down six clients that wanted your date. I understand you're not gonna be able to pay the remaining 50% but the deposit's not refundable. Does that make sense? So at this point in our piece, think back to our vision statement and who we are, what we are, how we define ourselves, everything about that. And you'll see it oozing out of every single word that we say up here. Why is it on the walls of our studio? Because this is our rally point. This is our rally point for all of our employees, all of our team, for ourselves. Because when I walk in every single day, and this is where we get back to why does it matter? Donna and Joe, why does it matter if it's just me by myself doing this? It matters for exactly that reason, because it is just you and you're gonna have days where you just feel like crap. And you're gonna walk into your studio or into your apartment or into your house and you're gonna look around and you're gonna go why did I get into this in the first place? And in those moments, I want you to look at your walls and look around you and see the vision statement. Who you are, what you've identified yourself as. And even though you have that pain in the ass client right now, that you're gonna write a kind email to them and love them and support them because these are the people that are supporting your business. That's the purpose of why we do this stuff even if we're by ourselves, to set the tone for ourselves. And of course as you grow, it sets the tone for everybody that comes into the studio. At this point, we always will shift the focus back to the clients. We have to understand that when a client comes into the studio, it's not about us. It's not about talking about how great we are. It's one of the biggest reasons you're gonna lose a sale. Talking too much about yourself. We give 'em our message and then the focus shifts entirely back to them. And then we're gonna take you through the sales process. That's day three on the sales process. So now that we've, this is all part of the why is this stuff up here? Aren't you buying this? Isn't this part of the product that we're creating? Yeah. You've got a smile, you wanna say something? No. Nah? Just had an idea. Maybe like a wahoo? No no, I had an idea. You had an aha moment? Yeah. Okay, for aha moments I expect like a, "Aha!" Okay. Just randomly, like in the middle of class. In front of everybody, it's fine. Okay, sorry. That might get a little disruptive, don't do that. What do you got for me? I had a question about this particular phase, are you maybe taking notes about them? Or how do you record institutional knowledge about this client? So we have a form online that they'll fill out when they come in, but this really isn't so much about getting information from them as it is resetting. It's that disruptor. Does that make sense? So let's shift this to the coffee shop. Because that's where I'm assuming that most everybody is gonna be starting out their business. Whether you are booking maternity, newborn, anything. You're gonna be starting out in a coffee shop. The next step is gonna be like a co-op studio where you share space with somebody else. The next step is owning your own. So when you take this into a coffee shop, you can do the exact same thing. Can you not? Come up with your own wording and your own phrasing. But you're gonna actually ask your clients to do something that would be different from what another photographer would. And it's gonna follow your personality, your vision. And I can give you an example of what that might be. You might ask them to sit down, and let's define out what a typical photographer would first do. We build custom packages for you. Great, everybody does that. We take pictures on digital and on film. (laughing) I'm sorry, I love you, you're so sweet. There's a lot of people that do that, are they not? Yeah. Okay. But I use special, this is the dude's thing, I use four lights to get to that place. First of all I'd be like, dude you should have used one light 'cause that's really not good. But that's another argument, right? The tech. This is the common presentation that you get. We shoot on 50 megapixel cameras. We're gonna get you this, we're gonna do this for you. All of our packages come with albums. I want you to run through the typical rhetoric that you would hear and sometimes it helps so much to put yourself in the client's shoes by actually going through the experience. Go through someone else's experience. See what it's like. It's hell. It's not fun, like to sit down and just be like, how difficult is it for me to sit there and go, okay, let's talk about your wedding itinerary. Okay, let's put it together. Have you thought about your wedding day? What are you gonna do on your wedding day? What time are you gonna get up? Typically most of our clients want around like 10 hours, but what do you want? Does that start to get frustrating? Like holy crap, hold on. My wedding day, I haven't even gotten to that place yet. It sends your mind into this analytical mode which we're gonna talk about psychology later. But if that's the normal presentation, your presentation in a coffee shop would be something like have a seat, guys. I asked you guys your favorite beverage because I actually already ordered them. They're coming up right now. So you could put that into your like, tell me your favorite beverage, I'll have it ready. And you bring that over to them. And you say look, I want you to forget everything that you know about photography. And I want you to tell me, with your newborn shoot, what is the one single image that you just have to have? Now what I've just done is said the words literally forget everything that you know about photography and just tell me, I just wanna know about this one single image that you want. I can craft this experience however you want it to be. The point is that it should encompass your personality, your vision. And disrupt, be different from what the typical rhetoric is. Is that making sense? Now I can, you guys have this one. You could plagiarize it. The problem is that you probably can't present it the way that we do because it has nothing to do with your core values or your mission statement or your anything. And if you did, it wouldn't be you. It wouldn't be authentic. Which is why I have no problem sharing it. Because nobody would want to take that. We're artists, we want to create our own thing. And that's the beauty of it is that nobody can compete with that because now when somebody goes to Lee and says, Lee what product are you offering? That experience that you just ran them through is a part of your product just as it is mine. And now they have a point of place to differentiate the two. By the way, how many other studios do you think are doing this right now? Anything, newborn, maternity, how many other photographers do this process? So right out of the gate you can differentiate yourself. And if you say, if you ask me the question of, but Pye, now that you're putting the education out there everybody's going to be doing this. I'm gonna say, but hey you guys, all this education has been out there for like four years and people still don't watch it. So no, it's really not gonna happen. Yes, there's gonna be some people in your area that offer something, their own experience and something different from you. But they would have to match up to your hybridness, your hybridness, do you like that? (laughing) Yeah. They would have to match up to your hybridness, your personalityness, your experience, everything else that you would craft together in that product to compete directly with you. Is that easier to walk away from going, oh this competitive landscape feels a lot better now? I hope so. 'Cause now comes the time where you're gonna mind map your client experience. This is, what's your disruptor? What is the message you wanna carry? This is where you pull our your vision statement and your core values and you start with the overall feeling you wanna get. What do you think the overall message that we were trying to convey to clients was in our presentation? The funny thing is, I didn't ask any of you to pay attention to it but I'll bet you can guess. What do we want clients to do? For a single word. Comfortable. Oh, maybe we can't get to it (laughing). There was a single action in there. [Audience Members] (mumbling) Print. Print. That entire message was around print. And that's as simple as where your core experience starts. That central box in this mind map is what do you want them to walk away from this experience with? One word. What do you want 'em to do? I want them to print. I want them to actually enjoy the images that we're creating. 'Cause it's artwork, this is what we believe, that we're creating artwork for them. This doesn't belong on a hard drive. It belongs on their walls. Now I have an experiment for every one of you. We talked about that favorite photograph a little while ago, right? That photograph that you thought of something that makes you feel good. Okay? How many of you have that photograph in print? Raise your hands, it's okay if you don't. For those that don't, if you're at home, gosh dammit, if you're in the car, watching on the way to some... We gotta be PC. People can use the internet from everywhere these days. Wherever you are, go and print that image and do a simple test for me. Put it in a place that you'll see it everyday. Because I guarantee most of you don't have it there. Even if you have it in print, it's probably not in a place that you're gonna see it everyday. Do an experience and experiment for yourself where you put it in a place that you see it everyday. And write down how it makes you feel everyday when you see it. I don't tell you this to sell you on anything other than the fact that how many of you are actually convinced, how many of you, you all here, you all there, how many of you are convinced that the product you're selling is actually worth having? Because that's the first fear and boundary to overcome is convincing yourself that this is actually valuable. And you think it's a joke or you kinda think about it and you're like, well I believe in myself. You don't. So many of us have these deep-seated fears of like, well is this actually valuable? And I'm gonna point it out to you as we go through the class, we can go through more exercises. You don't. So prove it to yourself. Because until you do, all the words up on the screen, they're just a load of shit, I'll be honest. I'll be completely honest, every one of these words mean nothing until you, the person who's saying them, are actually convinced of their authenticity. So go do the experiment. Test me, try it. If you are not happier each and every day when you see that photograph that reminds you of something wonderful, if you're not happier, send me an email. And say Pye, you're full of crap. But I guarantee I'm not gonna get a single email. And I guarantee if you actually do this experiment, you're gonna go holy cow, my clients don't understand this. Nobody understands this. The fact that my daughter Ellie wakes up and sees her pictures in the walls of our home, when they walk into my office they see themselves. They see on our studio walls, they see pictures of Ethan and Ellie, my daughter and my son, all around the studio. That's my life, it's my art. And do you think that your children or your clients' children would grow up with a slightly different self-perception when they see the love in their family? Like that's a big difference to waking up and looking at matchbox cars on the wall. That's not a bad thing either. But walking around a home filled with imagery is statistically proven to reduce depression. To give children more confidence. Now this is my disruptor, what the F are all of you doing not conveying this message to your clients? And what are you guys doing worrying about the photographer down the street who doesn't offer anything that you do? Does that make sense? Now when you believe it for yourself, you can speak it for yourself. And the words will carry power with them.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

How to Launch a Photography Business Workbook
Experience Pricing Example

Ratings and Reviews

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!

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