As featured in Bokeh Magazine:
OCTOBER 29, 2016
Meet Hollywood Photographer: Max Aria
Today we’d like to introduce you to Max Aria.
Max, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in rural Mississippi and started photography there — because in Mississippi, you need a hobby (it’s a little slow). I studied at Mississippi State University, then moved out to Los Angeles to branch out. At first, LA is an intimidating market, with some of the top creatives in any field here, but after time, you tend to find your niche. I was fortunate to connect with people who liked my style, and opportunities slowly came about. At first, I shot headshots, then weddings, and then commercial and fashion campaigns. With the diversity of clients, I found it was important to put work they consider relevant forward, and actually hide some of the other types of photography I do. Overall, the journey I’ve had photographing people is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had, giving me experiences I never would have dreamed of having. Likewise, it really is a marathon as opposed to a sprint. And for myself, a balance of art, technical expertise, and business.
Has it been a smooth road?
There are times when I’ve thought, “What am I missing?”. But I feel that most creatives ask themselves that same question on a constant basis. (The struggle is real). Earlier, the struggles involved file storage, layout, client delivery, etc. and now it’s more in the marketing/advertising world. I’m always asking “How can this be better?” about most aspects life. Otherwise, when working with advertising clients, some can be extremely vague, then after the shoot, expect much more than I was anticipating, so I ask a lot of questions now. A lot.
So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
I’m planning to be accessible to both individuals as well as the high-end market for photography. I’ve never used photoshop as a crutch, so I think it will work out alright :).
Let’s explore some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way. What was the most difficult part of your career so far?
The hardest part in my career was when I literally hobbled around with crutches, camera in hand. I had injured my knees doing stunts for tv, and my shoots were extremely slow-paced at best. Eventually, I healed up fully, but during that time, I had friends helping me out, both in finances and psychological support, which I am utterly grateful for, and cannot reasonably pay back.. Since I’ve healed up, I give back as much as possible, both to my friends, and those that I feel are in need.
Do you ever feel like “Wow, I’ve arrived” or “I’ve made it” or do you feel like the bulk of the story is still unwritten?
I think as a photographer nowadays, literally everything is a stepping-stone, and it’s not a complete “I’ve made it” scenario. From most of the people I’ve spoken to, it’s the same case of “this led to that.”. I think the humbling moment for me, was traveling around the country to shoot headshots for companies on their payroll. Since I love to travel, it was a match made in heaven.
"Great photog! Max did the poster shoot for our upcoming film and did a top notch job, worked with the actors well, professional and comfortable. Highly recommend."
- Darren Darnborough, CEO WeRehearse
Max Aria comes highly recommended for fashion photography. Knows his lighting & has a great eye. Build your book with a pro. Build it with Max Aria.
- Joshua James, SU Magazine
Max Aria has an incredible eye for photography. He has done headshots and stylized shots for me. Both were incredible. I can not stress enough how good this guy is. Attention to detail is a solid freaking 10. I'm not kidding here.
- James Craigmiles, CEO Reelpeople Productions
Max was a professional and easy going photographer. Getting your head shots done can create a lot of anxiety. With Max I felt like I was just hanging out with a buddy. He is also funny and gets honest looks from you. AND HE IS AFFORDABLE!!!
-Chris Ready, Actor, Los Angeles
"I love your photos Max!! They are awesome!!!"
- Xiomara Ortiz, Actress, VO Artist
"As an actor and fashion blogger my photography needs are plentiful. I can always count on Max to be available, on time and provide me with the best photography possible. His outdoor, natural lighting skills are amazing no matter where we shoot, no matter what time of day. He is delightful to work with and is always inspiring!"
- Zia Domic, Actress / Fashion Blogger
"That is Clean! I think we broke the internet. lol"
- James Darnell, Actor, Athlete, Mavrick Artists Agency
"I have worked with Max Aria on productions as a audio engineer and I have also referred him to clients that have needed quality photography. Working with Max is a professional experience. He is always on time, low maintenance, and wonderful to work with. I will always jump at the chance to work with Max on a production because I know it will be a quality work.
As for referring him to clients, I have yet to hear anybody give a less than stellar review of his eye and professionalism. Everybody that hires Max loves working with him and is usually blown away by the end result."
-Justen Fench, Warner Bros. Entertainment
"Oh god, there's so many I like! My eyes are twinkling!"
- Samantha Diane - Broadway / Los Angeles Actress
"The thing that stands out about Max Aria's photos is the colors. They attract the viewer into the picture...Beautiful...Gorgeous."
- California Nightlife / OurNightlife Company
"Oh Wow! Ok, I want these 20 photos in 300 DPI!"
- Beverly Hills Times
Max and James shot our wedding last month and we honestly could not be happier with them. They were professional, prompt, affordable and fun. Our guests have commented how Max and James interacted with them during the reception. All high marks. The best part of our experience has been the quality of the images and video they took. My husband and I will happily recommend them to our friends and family.
- David P.
"Max Aria is an awesome photographer...I said I wanted to do a non-smiley-shoot (a side of me I hardly get to do) & immediately he said let's do an assassin theme! He not only got the sword but truly loves what he does...he got inspired so many times & you can see the passion in his eyes & depth of his excitement when he scopes that perfect location or got that shot he wanted. With art you got to have passion. I was impressed by his passion & gusto for his push for his creative outlet & thus helped me realize mine. He knows what he wants & pushes you just enough. As a model himself & now behind a camera he was able to have an eye for how you should pose & the look you should give...truly one of the best easy photographers to work with."
- Mary Tran, CESD Agency
"Max was hired to photograph the wedding of my daughter in Colton, CA on 05/06/2017. I just wanted to let you know.. outstanding job! Nice, professional, polite, and pleasant to be around. We did not think we could afford professional photography, based on other quotes we received. We saw the positive reviews on The Knot website and decided ..and so glad we did! In addition to being a pleasure to work with, Max took amazing photos! He had a knack for capturing the various personalities of our bridal party and attendees and the pictures look so natural. Thank you for the everlasting memories!"
-Sharon Waldrop, Colton, CA