For someone with so much passion, Aaron wasn’t always interested in food photography. Growing up in Massachusetts and later, Florida, it wasn’t until Aaron’s grandfather gave him a Nikon film camera at age twelve that he felt like he could create something himself.
“My family didn’t have a lot of money to develop film,” explains Aaron. “I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to play and explore. I didn’t have a learning platform. We had dial up. It was just a very different environment. The learning wasn't as easy back then.”
Aaron majored in digital arts in college and went on to work at an ad agency in 1998 after graduating. “Once I got to that agency, digital was starting to come around so I was able to pick up a digital camera and experiment and learn and grow.”
Suddenly the notion that maybe this passion could be more than just a passion struck him. That’s when he took a leap.
He stepped outside the comfort of his agency job and began to build the foundation of what would ultimately become his photography business. “I was taking consumer shots, family shots… whatever would make money,” he says. However, Aaron found it difficult to tell a family to buy a thousand dollar package of portraits. “I was always more of an artist than a business person,” he admits.
He continued to take CreativeLive courses with instructors like photographer Steve Hansen to learn more about his craft and the business he was building. “I had some success, but I couldn’t make it a full time career,” he says. Around that same time in 2014, Aaron’s interest in food grew as he spent more time cooking for his family.
“I see so many people that work hard and they’re not growing,” says Aaron. “If [photography is] your hobby that’s fine, but…there’s a quality bar and there’s learning involved to get there.”
Aaron, who lists Ilise Benun, Joel Grimes, and Penny De Los Santos as his favorite instructors, says, “There isn’t one CreativeLive class that hasn’t helped me. There’s such a diversity of instruction.” His class roster ranges in topics from advanced lighting to marketing.
It’s not just about the photos. You have to [do the] studying and the learning to really understand your craft.