Lizzie Peirce is a creative force. The Toronto-based content creator is a photographer, cinematographer and business owner, but in addition to her striking photos and short films, we admire how she’s constantly sharing her knowledge and advocating for women navigating male-dominated creative industries.
Peirce has more than 13 million views on her YouTube channel, where she posts educational tutorials and vlogs about photography and film—from topics like “how to make money as a beginner photographer”, to “how to pose people who aren’t models” to tips for using camera lenses and editing software.
In her video “Why I’m a Creator”, Peirce shares that at the start of her career, she was often dismissed and told she wasn’t good enough, receiving remarks like “you’re too pretty to be smart.” Misogynist comments like these only fuelled her — she left her corporate job, started her own production company, and then her own YouTube channel. She’s passionate about encouraging other creators, especially young women, to take the leap to start their own creative businesses.
“I decided to start a channel, put myself out there, and be a symbol for other women in this industry. I wanted people to point at me through a screen and say I can do it because she is doing it,” says Peirce.
We caught up with Peirce to hear about the origins of her YouTube channel, the ups and downs of being a content creator, and her best career advice for all of the aspiring creatives out there.
What happened when you made the decision to start sharing your work on YouTube?
My husband started his YouTube channel before I did and as I watched the content to support him, I couldn’t help but notice that the photo/video niche on YouTube was such a “boys club”. He was the only one with an online presence and I was watching him get the credit for the business we built together.
I didn’t start because I felt I was the best of the best, I just I knew I had information to share based on my experience. If I could inspire one person and especially one woman to start their own creative business or try something new – then the effort I put into this channel would be a success.
Which of your videos have had the biggest response? Why do you think they’ve resonated so well?
It depends how you want to quantify response. If we’re talking about numbers online, the “Amateur vs. Graphic Designer” video has close to 1 million views now. Honestly, numbers don’t necessarily mean it was a success. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding that video and it offended some graphic designers because I was pointing out an application that simplified some of what graphic designers do. Although there is absolutely a place for graphic designers and they will always be needed, some people didn’t like that! So just because something has high numbers, doesn’t mean it was the most SUCCESSFUL.
I made a video called “Finding You” for the Buffer International Film Festival. I ended up winning an award for it at the festival so I would consider that my most successful video.
What element of your career gives you the most satisfaction? Fulfillment?
A few things fuel me in different ways.
- When someone tells me about a specific video I’ve made that’s helped them in some way.
- When I finish a creative project I’m particularly proud of.
- When I’m travelling, getting inspired by a new destination and get to completely focus on my creativity with photography.
As a creator, what frustrates you?
I get overwhelmed at times that there is still so much to learn and no road map on how to get there. It’s easy to let that paralyze you. Whether it comes to my creative work itself or the business I’ve built with my brand – I’m constantly trading my business and creator hat. It’s very hard to do both well.
What philosophy is currently guiding your journey?
I have faith that if I continue to take steps every day to move further in my career – I will eventually reach my goals. I’ve always said that even if you try you’re that much further than someone who hasn’t. Focusing on enjoying the process and always pushing yourself that little bit further WILL get you where you’re meant to be.
What’s your advice to creators who are nervous to take the next big step, or apprehensive about putting themselves out there online?
Stop worrying about what people think and as much as you think it’s not, that is THE reason why you haven’t started yet. People are always going to have something to say whether you become a success or not – so you might as well give them a good show. You’re the only one who benefits and is damaged by your choices in life. You might as well live knowing you lived to the fullest and tried your best.