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How to Tell your Parents you Want to Pursue Photography

How to Tell your Parents you Want to Pursue Photography

How I told my parents I wanted to be creative, I wanted to be a photographer, a cinematographer, a musician, it was complicated but I wanted to share my story with you. So a bit of a quick back story on me specifically. Originally, I thought I was gonna be an architect, I also thought I was gonna be an engineer, and then one day I picked up a camera. I became a musician, I pursued a career as a musician for about 3 or 4 years, I was a bass player on a rock band. So I've had a career that spanned a lot of creative spaces.

I remember telling my parents at one point being like I think I wanna be a photographer and they're like "Oh you wanna be a photographer, "interesting, do you make any money with that?" that's always a really tough question to answer and it also makes you feel insecure about your decision to wanting to be a creative. So it's tough to approach your family and tell them, hey this is what I wanna do for the rest of my life.

I remember specifically at the time my mom being a little less inclined about me going to this radio and television arts program because about 6 to 8 years ago, there's a lot of talk about television is dead, Netflix is the new king, and they're like, oh you wanna take a job in radio and television arts, and there's less and less jobs now.

And we're gonna spend money on your education, hmm, so she really wanted me to take a general arts program but I stuck to my guns, I was like no, I really, really wanna go to this radio and television arts program, this is what I really wanna do and where I'm gonna get the best education for what I wanna do in the future. So she said, "Okay, I guess."

So then I was like well how do I convince her even more so I wanna share a few tips with you guys, some of the things that I did so that it was a bit easier to convince my parents that this is what I wanted to do.

So you have to understand the reason why your family is worried about you pursuing this career is that they want you to make a living because life costs a lot of money. If you want to own a home, if you want to rent, if you want to pay for food, all of these things cost money which means you need your career or you need to be an entrepreneur that makes income.

And if they don't understand the career, they're usually gonna be like well, you probably shouldn't do that but here's some trustworthy options for you. So a tip that I did when I was trying to explain this to my parents made business cases. How much money could I be making in certain jobs?



1. Make a business case

Explain all the different jobs that you could have in that industry In my case it could be like cinematographer, video editor, it could be content creator, it could be an on-camera personality, explain how much they can make at the bottom end and at the high end, and in that case, they'll be more likely to be like oh these are the different careers that you could have and oh this is how much money you can make, oh you can afford to live.


2. Share stories

So people understand life through stories so reach out to people who have these types of careers, ask them how they got in those positions. I mean if you feel frank enough to ask them, ask them how much money they make and then you can share those stories with your family and your parents and it'll be a little bit easier for them to understand why you wanna do this for a living.


3. Set up meetings

So that your family members can meet with other successful creatives. So if you know somebody in your network, reach out to them and be like hey do you mind meeting with my mom and dad for just a moment so that you can explain that? Yes, you can be successful in this career. Having a third party say that it can be a successful career choice can be very powerful so would highly recommend that you either set up a meeting or go to those meetings with your family members.


I'm going to share my friend's story when he told his parents that he wanted to be a creative.


My friend Sam

I was in high school and I really enjoyed the law and my family is in law-related things so I figured I'm fit, why not go to school to be a cop and ultimately I didn't wanna be a cop so ended up doing the whole program, got the degree, and I had to tell my dad hey look, at the end of the program, I'm sorry, but I don't wanna be a police officer.

At first, he took it not so great, and then you know he kind of like settled with the fact that okay I want my son to do what he wants to do and from there on in, I just took every opportunity that I could in order to pursue being a creative and now we're here.


Did you tell your parents anything or did you do anything to make that conversation a bit easier for you?

One of the things I did was I took certain things in filmmaking in the creative world and I said hey look, there's multiple pots to put your hand in here, things I like to do on the side as well as shoot real estate videos. Putting together a smaller outline, if you will, it was a lot easier for him to go okay, you know what, try it out, see how it goes, and so far so good.

Making a bit of a business case, that seems to be the universal theme from my experience and Sam's experience that your parents just want you to make a living, they want you to make an income, they want you to be okay. So if you can make a bit of a business case, that can sometimes make that conversation a bit easier.

  • 1. I think context is always really important. In my situation, my parents were not creatives, they didn't work in the industry so that's a really important thing in terms of empathy and understanding if you can make money in it.
  • 2. If you wanna be a creative, you have to remember that it's probably like the lowest barrier of entry ever like you don't have to have money, you don't have to go to school, you just have to be creative and then use the tools to make certain things. So based strictly on the numbers, there's gonna be more people in it because there's a lower barrier of entry into it so there's gonna be more likely more failures and you're gonna hear about more failure so that's why people have this perception that it's hard to be a creative and make money as a creative but there are plenty of people, there are lots of people that if you stick your guns and you network and you find certain positions and find or create your own jobs, you will be successful in it.

So remember those things.

Context is really important in terms of your parent's opinion and then number two is strictly based on numbers, there's gonna be more people that have failed in this industry and you hear those stories.

I kinda wanna just leave you with some words of wisdom, some notes of inspiration.

Fear is the number one thing that will stop you from doing what you love or reaching your full potential and if telling your family that you wanna be a creative is the roadblock that's in the way right now,

Then hopefully some of the tips in this article will help you get to that next stage. It sucks to let your family down but it's even worse to let yourself down.

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