For years I’ve been preaching about the power and importance of education. Yes, education is greater than gear. Yes, education is what separates the good from the truly great photographers. Yes, education is the difference between simply trying to pay the bills versus building a thriving 7-figure photography business. But if you’ve followed me for any period of time, you probably already know this and if you’re like Shivani, you probably think I’m like your annoying photography dad. I get it.

But here’s the deal. Facing a global pandemic, we’re now living in uncharted waters from both a health and financial standpoint. We see an oncoming recession, and nobody knows where we are going to be 6 or 12 months from now.

Here’s what I do know. Justin, Chris and I built two successful businesses (Lin and Jirsa Photography & SLR Lounge) in the worst years after the 2008 recession. Two things made this possible. The first is rather obvious, my partners and our team of incredible creative professionals have an amazing work ethic. But there was one other difference-maker, education. Every minute and every dime we have ever spent on good education paid us back 100x over this past decade.

But, what we’ve created is not important. What’s important now is your opportunity to create!

What’s happening to the world is terrible, there’s nothing else that can be said about it. But, what it’s giving each of us is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend more time with our families, improve ourselves, and prepare to come out the other side stronger! Yes, it’s time to be wise with your money and batten down the hatches. But, as each of us looks through our monthly bills for unnecessary expenditures, I’m asking you to not cut your education from that list. Whether you choose SLR Lounge Education, Audibles, books, or other resources, it doesn’t matter. Continue to invest in yourself and spend your time being productive through this time of economic uncertainty.

[Rewind]: Coronavirus: 10 Pieces of Business & Financial Advice for All Photographers

Yet, if I’m being honest, all of this is just words. I know, I get it. Because as long as I have been preaching this message, I’ve been wondering how I can better put my money where my mouth is. Well, COVID-19 and the ensuing recession has given me the opportunity to do just that, put my money where my mouth is.

I believe so strongly in our message that all new memberships (for the time being) are being reduced by nearly 29% (our approximate profit margin) to $248/year. In addition, to all of our beautiful Premium members that have been supporting us through the years, we’re automatically reducing the cost of your yearly membership renewal by 29% to $248/year. Not just this year, but for the duration of your membership subscription. Please understand that those grappling with just putting food on the table should ignore this and any other offer that isn’t a life necessity. For the rest of you, we want to support you and your on-going education in these uncertain times by suspending our profits (beyond simply keeping our team paid and employed).

Here’s the next part that makes me proud. We shared this message with Trevor/Spencer and the MagMod team, and they decided to do the same. While supplies last, they are reducing the cost of the MagBox Pro Kit by 30% to its lowest price ever. Once again, if this is a financial stretch, please ignore this offer. But, if you’re able to invest in yourself and your future, this is a great time to do it.

Regardless of whether you can take advantage of these offers, please join us in our free communities listed below. Each week we are supporting the community through free online education, critiques, and discussions.

Today in the MagMod Community, Trevor and I filmed a free 90-minute piece of education teaching you some fun lighting techniques and concepts from Lighting 3. Click the image below to watch.

magmod pye jirsa trevor dayley
Click this image to watch the video.

I honestly don’t know where we’ll be a year from now. Like everyone else, we’re going to batten down our hatches, control our costs, and prepare to survive this storm. Some may think it’s crazy to reduce revenue so significantly. Personally, it’s a risk and gamble that I’m willing to take if it can carry my message.

I’ve never really talked about this, but my name isn’t actually Pye, it’s Payam. The image below is one of a handful of pictures that I have with my father. When I was only two years old, as a single father he chose to leave everything in Iran just to raise me here in the United States. His hope, to help me have a better life.

pye jirsa portrait young with dadWhen I was young and asked my father what my name meant, he proudly said “messenger.” I’ve always wondered why my father named me Payam, and I’ve questioned what my message might be. Perhaps it took this crisis to figure it all out. My message is not photography, but rather education and self-improvement in and of itself.

Education and ongoing self-improvement is everything. My hope, to work and create education that helps others have a better life.

It’s that message that I want to share, and I’m thankful that I’m still here to share it. I’m grateful for each day I have on this planet with my family and friends, and I make this promise to do everything I can to continue sharing this message. Photography, lighting, posing, communication, business, these are all the topics housed within our educational courses on SLR Lounge. But, they are by no means the end of what I plan to teach.

We’re all going to make it through this, we’re all going to be stronger for it. Be safe, stay home, and use your time wisely. You’ll never regret the time you spend with those you love, nor will you regret the time you spend improving yourself. Being productive is one of the best ways you can do this, and Trevor Dayley wrote up a wonderful article on just how to do that on the MagMod Blog.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your support, and I want to especially thank my business partners Chris and Justin for being willing to take this risk with me just so we can support the community and so I can share my message. Thank you both for being the silent support that has literally propped up this entire platform and community.