ArtisanAmbassador Aaron Reed with Ambassador Badge REVISEDIf you’re like most, taking in the breathtaking beauty of nature photographs by Aaron Reed for the first time inspires awe.  The rich color of pristine landscapes, steadfast trees, and dancing, mist-draped waters are so breathtaking that you feel part of our incredible world.

As you learn more about the man behind the art, it’s equally awe-inspiring to know that he is a self-taught nature photographer with the focus, determination, and passion to create a thriving business.

The Start of Aaron Reed

Aaron’s upbringing and early life in the Pacific Northwest didn’t indicate that he would choose a livelihood as a fine art nature photographer. Yes, he was an artistic child and connected with nature, drawing, and collecting rocks. And before he became a family man, his leisure time was spent photographing nature.

“I have always enjoyed expressing myself through art and in one way or another artistic creativity has always played some form of role in my life.” – Aaron Reed

His decision to make his living as a fine art photographer came out of the blue, and when it did, it was full speed ahead. Here’s the story – his first camera was going to be used to photograph items he wanted to sell online. A fateful decision to take the camera on a trip to Oregon’s coast ignited a creative spark and he became obsessed with nature photography.

He characterizes his approach to life as pressing the power-up button before reading the user’s manual, which explains why Aaron jumped into photography with both feet, describing his learning experience as ”… strictly trial and error.”

Dragonskin geothermal iceland photo by Aaron Reed

Fortunately, the approach is a winner. His vibrant fine art nature photography business is focused on limited edition, museum-quality art. Today, his art hangs in thousands of homes and offices. He has also mentored several photographers to help them found and manage their photography businesses.

It’s About the Trees for Aaron Reed

Not surprisingly, Aaron has an affinity for nature, often reveling in the solitude of being away from the churn of daily life and the newness at dawn.

“The early morning hours beginning just before dawn through the first hour or so afterward has always been my favorite time to shoot. Everything from the soft light to the fresh air and overall feeling that comes with a brand-new day are all personally appealing.”

When pressed to identify his favorite subject, he’s specific – trees.

“While I enjoy photographing a vast number of subjects, for me, it’s all about trees. With or without leaves, I just find trees fascinating.”

Heavens Gate Japanese Maple Tree by photographer Aaron Reed

When you review his Trees Gallery, there are contrasts like the stark strength of an aspen grove compared to the lone, gnarly maple dressed in shimmering flame-colored leaves. The effect is like his other subjects – awe-inspiring.

Colorado Gold Aspen trees Brand Ambassador

Invite the Unexpected

Some of Aaron’s most striking images have been completely unexpected. He details a trip to photograph the Peter Iredale shipwreck and the beaches in Astoria, Oregon that didn’t go as planned. Yet, he had the willingness to go with the flow and experiment, which led to him capturing unique images.

Stranded With The Stars Nature Photography

“I ended up arriving late, after sunset and decided to walk down to the shipwreck to see how it looked at night. I took a small flashlight with me but put it in my pocket when I saw that the rising full moon was illuminating the beach quite well. When I walked around the front of the ship… the moonlight was casting incredible shadows in the front of me. Having recently read about light painting for the first time, I pulled the flashlight back out of my pocket and experimented with both shorter and longer exposures with the moon backlighting the ship and my flashlight illuminating the hull. When I got back to my computer and looked at my files, I was amazed with the results and what you could accomplish with a little planning and a lot of luck.”

Why Quality Matters for Aaron Reed

Like most choices in his life, Aaron was deliberate in his decision to focus on fine art and museum-quality, large format prints.

“The photographs I create are like my children, without the diaper changes, temper tantrums, or a messy house. (Grin) They are important to me and I put my heart into creating them.”

Museum-quality printing requires exact color accuracy, quality-control measures, and a commitment to creating masterpieces with every print. That’s why Aaron relies on ArtisanHD.

“Without quality work, of course, nothing else matters. There is no doubt that ArtisanHD produces quality work on behalf of its clients, but so do many other labs across the country. What makes Artisan HD stand out is a combination of the quality of the products that they offer, their competitive pricing structure, the stress-free ordering process online, and their amazing customer service.“ – Aaron Reed

His advice to new photographers is to be ready to put in the work, find a style that is uniquely your own, and don’t listen to useless noise that’s on social media. In other words, be yourself and be unapologetic, much like Aaron Reed and his majestic work.

His interview questions are below if you’d like to learn more about our Brand Ambassador and fine art nature photographer.

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QUESTIONS

What inspired you to become an artist?

I have always loved both art and nature since I was a child, mostly drawing and collecting rocks, both at an early age. As an adult, I found myself with few hobbies and prior to starting a family, with a lot of time on my hands. I have always enjoyed expressing myself through art and in one way or another artistic creativity has always played some form of role in my life.

Is it important for you to take people on a journey through your photography?

 Personally, I try to keep things simple and don’t add on a bunch of artistic fluff. I create photographs because I enjoy the art and nature photography specifically because I find the natural world beautiful and enjoyable to spend time out in. I also enjoy sharing my work and truly appreciate it when others find joy in it. I could much more eloquently describe both the art and artistry using lots of feeling words and other wildly descriptive adjectives, but the truth is I am simply having fun doing it. When others enjoy it as well, however they come to that conclusion is ok by me.

When is your favorite time to shoot?

The early morning hours beginning just before dawn through the first hour or so afterwards has always been my favorite time to shoot. Everything from the soft light, to the fresh air and overall feeling that comes with a brand-new day are all personally appealing.

Morning Glory by Aaron Reed

Do you have a favorite subject? Landscapes? Wildlife? People? Landmarks? 

While I enjoy photographing a vast number of subjects, for me, it’s all about trees. With or without leaves, I just find trees fascinating.

Was there ever a time when you were surprised & excited by how a photo or project turned out? Describe it.

In the very early years of my journey with photography, I took a trip to the Oregon Coast to photograph the beaches and the Peter Iredale shipwreck near Astoria. I ended up arriving late, after sunset and decided to walk down to the shipwreck to see how it looked at night. I took a small flashlight with me but put it in my pocket when I saw that the rising full moon was illuminating the beach quite well. When I walked around the front of the ship, I saw the moonlight was casting incredible shadows in the front of me. Having recently read about light painting for the first time, I pulled the flashlight back out of my pocket and experimented with both shorter and longer exposures with the moon backlighting the ship and my flashlight illuminating the hull. When I got back to my computer and looked at my files, I was amazed with the results and what you could accomplish with a little planning and a lot of luck.

Do you think about what you want people to feel when they experience your work?

Because I am fortunate to have a very large base of collectors, my artwork hangs in thousands of homes and offices around the world. Because the majority of my work is displayed in private homes, my hope is that it brings a combination of peace and enjoyment to their lives. With my abstract work, I also hope to encourage wonder and fascination with our natural world and a feeling of connection.

On Earth As It Is In Heaven ArtisanHD Brand Ambassador

Why did you choose fine art, versus a style that some may think is more accessible?

The photographs I create are like my children, without the diaper changes, temper tantrums or a messy house. They are important to me and I put my heart into creating them. I never wanted to mass-produce low-quality work simply for the purpose of sharing it on a larger scale. In fact, quite the opposite. I enjoy producing work that truly transforms a space and enriches the lives of those who own it, not a twelve-inch print in a tacky frame collecting dust and grime on a bathroom wall.

What’s next for you?

The last seven years have been the most difficult, rewarding and time-consuming years of my life. I have started a family and continue to stumble through the challenges of parenthood. I have built a wildly successful fine art photography business from nothing more than a dream. I have worked with and educated hundreds of fellow photographers on the art of photography and the art of photography as a business.

The Wash by nature photographer Aaron Reed

Throughout the last few years, I have spread myself a bit too thin and from a business standpoint, my portfolio has grown a bit long in the tooth. With my children both at the age where taking longer journeys as a family sounds exciting, my goal this year is to travel more, create new and exciting images and share in the joys of nature with my wife Lisa and the two coolest kids on the planet. As far as my business itself, my mindset is non-stop hustling and I always have at least three tricks up my sleeve.

What advice would you give a photographer who is just starting out? 

My advice for new photographers has never changed through all the years and changes involved in my life and my business. Create the images you enjoy, unapologetically, without any concern for what other people think. Develop a style that is your own, create from your heart and do your best not to pay attention to the noise and distraction of social media trends.

What are the characteristics of a quality photographic print?

The most important characteristics of a quality photographic print to me are composition, color & contrast, proper exposure and quality craftsmanship. If any four of these cornerstones are neglected, the art suffers as a whole.

Shockwaves AHD BA

What led you to Artisan HD? 

Throughout the years I have either worked with or at least been aware of, most of the major printing companies throughout the US. I had spoken with the team at Artisan on multiple occasions and had a few test prints done over the years. As Artisan grew to expand their offerings in the area of acrylic face mounting, adding higher quality materials such as TruLife Acrylic and a variety of new substrates they popped up on my radar once again. After a friend mentioned the great level of service and competitive pricing and shipping costs he was receiving from Artisan, I reached back out to them and began working with them on a larger scale.

Why do you continue to work with Artisan HD?

Without quality work, of course, nothing else matters. There is no doubt that Artisan HD produces quality work on behalf of its clients, but so do many other labs across the country. What makes Artisan HD stand out is a combination of the quality of the products that they offer, their competitive pricing structure, the stress-free ordering process online, and their amazing customer service.

The Revealing by Aaron Reed

What advice would you give to other artists who want to create and sell quality prints?

The short answer to this question is to be ready to put in the work. The long answer can be found throughout articles on my blog  and through the mentoring program that I offer to fellow artists.