Thirty-three-year-old Roost member and photographer Justin Aaron started his wedding photography business in 2011, and he feels like he’s just now hitting his stride.
“When I decided to do photography I thought, ‘I’ll give it five years and then if I don’t like it I’ll go back to architecture,”’ he said. “This is the start of my fifth year. I don’t feel like it’s something I could do forever, but I think it’s going to be another good five years unless something else happens. I’ll be close to forty then and ready to become an accountant.”
“That last part’s a joke,” he added.
Justin was born and raised in Lake Macquarie and he moved to Newcastle in 2008 for university.
He studied architecture from 2003 to 2009 and briefly worked in an architecture office in Byron Bay. While doing his masters in architecture, he began experimenting with photography as a potential path for his dissertation. He found that he took naturally to it and enjoyed it differently than he did architecture. Little did he know it would lead him to a full-time career.
Now Justin’s shot almost 300 weddings. He’s been published in Kinfolk Magazine, White Magazine, Bride Australia, Hello May Magazine, Real Weddings, The Lane, Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review.
“My favourite wedding was shot in Queenstown, New Zealand in 2013. I really enjoyed it; I liked my clients and all the photos,” Justin said. “It was my first overseas wedding, and it made me feel confident. I hit a stride with my work and figured out what I wanted to do; it came together then. It helped set my vision in motion.”
Justin’s also been flown to Sweden and Amsterdam to shoot weddings. He enjoys meeting new people and making connections. He loves the process of photography. He’s not a tech-head. His gear isn’t that important to him, “as long as it works”.
“As long as I’m getting in my camera what I see in my head, I don’t care about the equipment too much,” Justin said. “I enjoy the speed in which you can create things and manifest ideas. I work pretty quickly with a camera. I shoot all natural light, so I don’t need light set up.”
At first Justin was a bit embarrassed about shooting weddings. He thought it was perceived as more technical and less creative.
“I think wedding photography can be perceived as a bit naff within the creative industry, a bit cheesy. I think my ego didn’t really want me doing weddings, and I shied away from it for a long time,” Justin said.
However, he returned from shooting a wedding in Amsterdam last August and realised he had a really good job which he was really good at.
“I know the business of it, I know how contracts work, I know how to get clients and I feel like I can make relationships now. I’m more comfortable with it now, and it’s what I’m supposed to be doing,” he said.
Justin worked from home until 18 months ago when he joined the Roost.
“I’m a social person, so I enjoy the company and interacting that comes with the Roost,” he said. “ At the Roost, most of the time people are working, but there are times of spontaneous interaction which you can’t get at home. There are also people you meet who are in similar professions, using similar programs. We can benefit from knowing each other and it comes more organically than having to seek it out.”
His work hours at the Roost vary from week to week, but he estimates usually five days a week, five to ten hour per days. Recently he’s been working on his work-life balance, spending less time behind a computer and more time doing hobbies. He believes having hobbies makes him more productive when behind a computer. He said working as a freelancer is a process of learning how to be disciplined with time and finances.
Justin’s also a dad. Working from the Roost allows him flexible hours so he can spend time with his four-year-old daughter, Eva. Sometimes he brings her to the studio.
“She doesn’t enjoy coming in as much now that the pool table’s gone,” he said
However, the Roost now has a ping pong table, as well as a fantastic lounge area, so we hope to see Eva around again soon!
To learn more about Justin’s work visit www.justinaaron.com.au.