We had the good fortune of connecting with Aaron Kes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aaron, how do you think about risk?
Risks have been a big factor in getting where I am today. I see them as opportunities to grow and rise to a challenge. Without this, I would never have made it as far as I have. As long as I’m honest with myself, usually my instincts as to which risks to take on are pretty spot on. Anytime they haven’t panned out, those were the risks that something in my brain lingered and left doubt. I’ve learned through time how to better recognize that. But in the end, as long as the risk is primarily a bet on myself and an extension of what my gut is telling me, It’s usually played out well.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I like to call my brand of wedding photography relaxed fine art. My aim is to create stunning images for my clients, but in a way that is simple and enjoyable for them while showing them how beautiful they are. And I want to show everyone how beautiful they are. One of the things that’s been part of my business from day one is inclusivity. I don’t care about your size, color, shape, or who you love. Your love matters. The wedding industry can feel like it’s made for certain people. But I want to make everyone feel welcome. Love is love and that means everyone should get to enjoy it. Getting where I’m at today took a ton of hard work, humility, and probably a good dose of luck. It certainly wasn’t easy, but I think staying true to myself and to others made it so much easier. Put in the work, know why you want to do things, how you want people to feel, and what’s most important to you, and you’ll be fine. Easier said than done, but that really is the key. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you have to be yourself and not worry who you are not. The second part of that is still something that everyone struggles with, but it gets better as you go. But being yourself will make everything you do more authentic and it will make it all the easier to find the clients who you’ll love working with and who will truly value you.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I was showing off Phoenix and the surrounding area to someone new in town…it would be hard to pick where to go. There are a ton of great things to do in the valley and even more great places to get food. Food is a big one for me anytime I visit new places. For a caffeine fix we’d either go to my favorite local coffee shop Copper Star Coffee, or if we wanted to mix in a great cup of joe with some equally great people watching, maybe Lux. For lunch, must eats would be Little Miss BBQ. Hands down my favorite BBQ I’ve ever had. Ocotillo would be a great dinner spot. The food is great and when the weather is nice they have a fantastic outdoor area. My favorite dessert spots would be Urban Cookies or Local Donut. For fun, I’d definitely want to take someone to see live music at The Van Buren. Hands down our finest live venue. My other favorite ways to spend some time would be at the Desert Botanical Garden, hiking Piestewa Peak or one of the countless other pretty hikes we have, or a day trip to Sedona or the Grand Canyon. If someone’s coming into town and getting within a couple hours of those places, they should take the extra time to see them. Then we could hit my all time Arizona favorite place to eat with my wife and dog, Indian Gardens. It’s a market/cafe just past Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon and the food and the atmosphere on their patio is second to none.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife, Katie, deserves a lot of credit in the story of my business. Most married entrepreneurs owe a lot to their spouses, but she goes above and beyond to be supportive of my and my photography. When we were dating she was always a cheerleader as I tried to build up my business. Since going full time over six years ago and getting married almost five years ago, she’s continued to be there for me every step of the way. If I’m working something out in my head, she’s always a supportive ear for me to talk things through. Heck, she even helps me with picking teasers for my clients or even giving me the occasional Instagram caption.